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Santos Tour Down Under 2016: Stage 3

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Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 3 of the Tour Down Under. We're in Glenelg today for what will be a crucial stage in this year's race, with the finish in Campbelltown.

 

The peloton climb Corkscrew Hil and we've a full preview to bring you with the race officially starting in roughly an hour from now. 

Coming up in the next few minutes we'll be joined by Orica GreenEdge's Matt White, who has won this race several times as a director. 

Before Matt joins us for a few minutes, lets have a scan through today's news. We'll start with a familiar face, Rohan Dennis. He comes into the race as the defending champion and is in high form and morale after his national TT win earlier in the month. 

Peter Sagan, currently in Argentina for the Tour de San Luis has talked to the media about the possible demise of the Tinkoff team. Oleg has said he's looking to leave the sport so Sagan needs someone to step in and cover those wages of his. Here are the world champion's thoughts on the matter. 

Back to the Tour Down Under and Adam Hansen, he who has ridden every single grand tour since the dawn of time, has talked about going on the attack in the race this year. He's a huge fan favourite both in Australia and around the globe, and here's what the Lotto Soudal man has to say. 

Back to Argentina - we just can't stay away - and Nairo Quintana has been ruffling a few feathers perhaps with a few attacks of his own on stage 3. That story is within thumb reach. Go on, click on it.

And finally, and this you really do need to click on, you can vote for the best WorldTour jersey of 2016. Alas, the jersey that I think should be top is treading water near the bottom but don't let that put you off. You can vote here and there are some fantastic prizes from Alé to be win as well. 

And without further delay, Matt White, welcome to the CN blimp. 

CN: Matt you must be pleased with how the race has gone so far. A stage win, a day in the lead and Simon Gerrans is looking strong.

CN: You came into this race with a fair deal of pressure on your shoulders though. Was that easy to shrug off?

Matt White: We’re always going to have a lot of pressure down here. It’s the only WorldTour race in Australia. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves and people expect a lot from us. For Caleb to first deliver in the Criterium was a great sign. To deliver that again on stage 1 was really gratifying for the entire team.

CN: We come into today's stage and how important is it for you given that you have a GC favourite and former winnner in Simon Gerrans?

CN: Given that everyone knows the climb now, is it about being as aggressive as possible?

CN: For those back in Europe or over in the US or who simply don't know today's climb, how would you compare or liken it to a European climb?

Matt White: That’s a good question. In general the Tour Down Under is an intense race. The stages aren’t long but it’s on from the go. Today is 139km, so it’s relatively short, although we’re only in January at the moment. The pace is going to be high and the short length of the stage is going to encourage aggressive racing. What makes it tricky is the distance from the top of the climb to the finish. And you have to add in, sorry Daniel, that when you’ve only got two or three climbs in the week, each one becomes even more important.

 

CN: So to your leader in Simon Gerrans. How in your eyes is he shaping up?

Matt White: We’re happy with where he is. The most disappointing aspect about yesterday was that we didn’t have a chance to see how good he is. He was sprinting well and we were sitting in a good position but overall we’re very happy with things. He’s put a lot of effort in when it’s come to preparing for this time of the season.

 

CN: So who do you see as the main rivals when it comes to GC here? Bobridge, our current race leader, Dennis?

 

CN: Other than with Simon, do you see other opportunities for your team this week?

 

CN: You do indeed. And with Caleb what is the plan for the next few months? Again you must be really impressed with the start to the year that he's had.

Now I know what you're thinking. When are you going to tell us about the weather for today's stage? 

With the stage roughly 20 minutes away, I'm going to pass you over to my colleague Pat Malach.

 We're just a few minutes away from the start of stage 3 at the Santos Tour Down Under. Riders are staging.

In case you missed it, Drapac's Peter Koning soloed to the stage win today at the Tour de San Luis and took over the race lead. It was an impressive ride by the Dutch rider. You can read about it here.

 

Koning told Cyclingnews he'll likely be back in a support role when the race hits the mountains tomorrow, but he's enjoying the Tour de San Luis race lead for now. Read more here.

Colombian Nairo Quintana is no doubt champing at the bit for tomorrow's mountain stage in Argentina. Cyclingnews caught up with him after today's stage and asked him about the conversation he had with Vincenzo Nibali after chasing down the Italian's attack on the final climb. You can read about it here.

And we're off. Riders have left the start line.

Today's stage finishes with the daunting climb up Corkscrew Road, followed by a descent that includes a sharp right turn about 500 meters front he finish. Contenders for the win are going to have to be good bike handlers as well. It should be a good one.

There was some exciting news in track racing today as a new professional league was announced. The World Cycling League is hoping to inject a little show business into the sport to make it more exciting for fans. Read more here.

The views from the Cyclingnews blimp are good today, and we can see that the peloton has cleared some treacherous tram lines near the start. 137 riders are on their way.

3km until the neutral ends and the attacks will start flying.

And riders are done with the neutral start. The race is on...

An Astana rider is the first to try his luck off the front. Who will join him?

Earlier today Etixx-QuickStep's Peter Vakoc spoke with Cycling Australia about being given leadership of the team for this race. Here's what the 23-year-old Trek rider had to say:

From the CN blimp we can see that the Astana rider off the front is Laurens De Vreese. The peloton is letting the 27-year-old Belgian have some leash; they're not reacting.

Cyclingnews picked IAM Cycling's Jarlinson Pantano as a rider to watch today. Here's what the Colombian had to say before the start: "I hope that today is the Colombian day! Sergio Henao, Julian Arredondo are going very well too from what I've seen in the first few days. They'll attack on Corkscrew too although a 7 to 8 minutes effort is a bit too short for us. We'll have to make the climbing very hard."

Former ski jumper Primoz Roglic made the jump to cycling this year. Here's what he told Cycling Australia before the stage:  "Had I remained a ski jumper I would have never come to Adelaide to compete. I'm glad to start my World Tour career here. Every stage is hard. But I do my best to help my team."

The peloton are really giving De Vreese some leash now. The gap has ballooned to nearly three minutes. At 10 seconds down he's the virtual leader on the road, but there's still 130km remaining.

Former UnitedHealthcare rider Lucas Euser opened up to Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo about the difficulties that led to his early retirement. He claims his team put results ahead of rider health. You read more about it here.

Find out more about yesterday's stage 2 with our collection of TDU news shorts here.

Lotto Soudal's Adam Hansen put in an impressive solo breakaway ride yesterday, staying clear until about 18km to go. Read more about Hansen's day here.

118km remaining from 139km

The first sprint is coming up. De Vreese will take maximum points. The peloton will have to fight for second.

105km remaining from 139km

105km remaining from 139km

Results from sprint 1 are in, and Race leader jay McCarthy is in the mix;

Word has come in that Rohan Dennis crashed but is OK and back on the bike.

Dennis had a good ride yesterday and is well positioned to challenge for the overall. Read more here.

FDJ's Anthony Roux made the top 10 yesterday. Here's what he had to say abut today's finish in Campbelltown: "Stirling is the nicest finish in my mind so I'm glad I made the top ten yesterday. The first two on the line were really the strongest. I'd have liked to be closer to them. Today it'll be a question of positioning before the Corkscrew climb. Luis Leon Sanchez and Simon Gerrans seem to be very easy on their bikes."

Have you had a chance to vote for your favourite WorldTour jersey of 2016. You haven't? Well here's your chance.

De Vreese is taking on some food now as his gap stays around two minutes. He's still got along day ahead.

92km remaining from 139km

Tinkoff is on the front now for McCarthy, followed by Lampre-Merida, whose rider Diego Ulissi was second yesterday.

The temperatures are high, but the road the riders are on is currently lined with trees, so there's bit of shade.

De Vreese has averaged 37km/h so far today.

The entirety of the Lampre team is lined up behind two Tinkoff riders. The gap continues to come down and is at 2:20 now.

82km remaining from 139km

De Vreese's Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali held court with the media yesterday at Tour de San Luis, talking about the Giro, the Olympics and whether he'll ride the Tour. You can read the Q&A here.

73km remaining from 139km

The peloton is heading uphill now in this undulating terrain, while De Vreese is motoring along on a slight downhill.

The final 10km of today's stage will likely see lots of fireworks, so teams are trying to save their bullets for the finale to launch their GC contenders into position. De Vreese is the rabbit for the chase, but they don't want to catch him too early.

De Vreese is on a twisting downhill part of the course now. He's confident enough o drink from his bidon.

The gap continues to come down and is at 1:20 now.

The time board pulls up alongside to let De Vreese know the gap is down to 1:05. The big Belgian appears to have slowed quite a bit and his having another drink.

57km remaining from 139km

De Vreese grabbed a banana and his having a quick bite now.

De Vreese's gap my go back up as the peloton slows considerably through the feed zone.

As expected, De Vreese' gap is back up to 3:15 after the feed zone.

The peloton is spread across the road now. With 48km to go, they don't seem to be in a hurry.

43km remaining from 139km

The peloton is bearing down on the second intermediate sprint, angling for those bonus seconds remaining.

Indeed, McCarthy gets a bonus send for third on that sprint. 

The peloton has eased up again after the sprint, can De Vreese add even more time to his lead?

33km remaining from 139km

De Vreese is a man for the classics. His best ride there came this year when he finished 17th in the Tour of Flanders. He looks very determined, but there's still a long way to go.

The peloton still looks very uninspired. The finish must have them very worried.

Stage 2 winner and current race leader Jay McCarthy is hoping for another good finish: "It was an exciting day yesterday. It was a long fight to the finish, so to finish it off with the win was awesome. I had good legs coming into the race, so I was happy to finish it off with the win. We’re going to help to control the race today. It’s a tricky approach to the Corkscrew, so I hope to have a few fresh guys to be able to put me into position. We will fight to the end to keep the jersey."

Well, just as I say that the field is incredibly animated now. A Trek-Segafredo rider is applying the pressure, and the peloton is reacting.

Simon Gerrans had a rough finish yesterday, going down int he final 500 meters. Here's what he had to say about that and about today's finish on Corkscrew Road.

26km remaining from 139km

The peloton is screaming down the descent now, with a Tinkoff rider tucked in on the front.

The Tinkoff rider went a little too fast and got an unexpected gap.

24km remaining from 139km

23km remaining from 139km

IAM Cycling have moved to the front now in force.

There's award-left turn onto Corkscrew Road in the final 10km, and the teams want to make sure their hitters are up front at that point.

They've swallowed up De Vreese, and he's unceremoniously dropped now. The peloton is averging 64km/h

The are two trains on the front now with Tinkoff coming up alongside IAM Cycling.

There's a crash that split the field. Lucas Hamilton is down. Multiple riders down. They won't be able to come back at this point. Tinkoff is drilling the pace.

18km remaining from 139km

Tinkoff continues to drill the pace at the front as the split hasn't been closed.

The gap between groups is 10-15 seconds.

The second group is about to make contact with the leaders

5km to the left turn onto Corkscrew Road, and teams are swapping places on the front. The battle for position is in full force. 

Team Sky have control at the moment.

They're close to 1km from the Corkscrew

80km/h on this downhill run to Corkscrew Road.

Inside 10km to go

They've turned onto Corkscrew Road with Tinkoff in control

Riders are flying out the back of the field now

Tinkoff driving the pace with McCarthy in their slipstream. Sky are following.

LottoNL-Jumbo on the front now for George Bennett

McCarthy is fourth wheel behind AG2R and LottoNL-Jumbo

McCarthy is n the front now, followed by Gerrans, Dennis and Porte.

Porte, Pozzovivo, Gerraint Thomas and a Cannondale rider.

Gerrans is trying to make his way back to the leaders, followed by McCarthy

Michael Woods (Cannondale) and Sergio Henao (Sky) are clear off the front. 200 meters from the top

Henao leads Woods through the KOM. Two leaders on the descent now.

Woods takes the lead on the descent. The two leader shave got  workable gap. The favourites behind will have to chase hard to close it. 7-8 second gap for the leaders.

Woods, a 28-year-old Canadian, iis in his first year with Cannnondale. 4km to go

Henao is n the lead now. Woods is sitting in as Porte attacks form the chase group. Gerrans going as well.

Woods and Henao swapping turns hoping to hold off the chase.

10 riders together at the front now.

Porte, Woods, Henao, Morabito, Dennis, Gerrans, McCarthy, Valls, Pozzovivo, 

Inside the final kilometer

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

Dennis and Gerrans neck and neck at the line. Woods right there as well.

Gerrans gets it, followed by Dennis and Woods.

Today's top 10 on the stage and GC:

Well that was an exciting finish! Gerrans now leads the race by three seconds over McCarthy, with Dennis third and Woods in 4th. 

You can see our complete report, results and photos here.

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