Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Tour Down Under stage 3, a 144km road race from Glenelg to Victor Harbor.
Today's stage starts in about 30 minutes. Riders have been signing in and generally getting ready at the start in Glenelg.
Weather today should be a little bit warmer, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees and possible showers later.
Here's a brief look at yesterday's top 10:
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 3:46:06
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:16
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
4 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
7 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
8 Michael Storer (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
... and the current top 10 in the general classification.
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 7:10:14
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:22
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:27
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 0:00:29
7 Nathan Earle (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
9 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
10 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
Stage 3 Map
Stage 3 Profile
Today's stage starts in Glenelg then makes its way down the coast before turning inland toward Victory Harbor and four finishing laps.
We're expecting another sprint finish today after yesterday's general classification excitement. The coastal winds could see the race ripped apart, but in all likelihood it will be decided by who has the fastest legs in a bunch kick. So far that's been Caleb Ewan of Orica-Scott.
Less than 15 minutes now until the start.
You can read about yesterday's stage 2 HERE. It was a rip-roaring finish with Richie Porte (BMC) laying down the hammer.
Big news today for Orica-Scott, which announced it has started up a Continental development team.
The Giro d'Italia announced its wildcard invitations today, and as one might expect, not every team was happy.
Curious about the bike Porte used to dominate the finish yesterday? You can read about Porte's BMC Teammachine SLR01 and view a gallery of photos HERE.
There will be about 15 minutes of neutral before the racing starts today.
Today's only KOM is on Sellicks Hill at 43.3km. There are two intermediate sprints, the first at 46.6km and the second at 73.1km
The riders are rolling for their 7.2km neutral
Today's jersey distribution:
With the stage 2 result, Richie Porte claimed the leader's jersey, the sprint jersey and the mountains jersey. The sprint and mountains jersey are passed down to the next rider in that category.
Richie Porte (BMC Racing) will wear the Ochre leader's jersey.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) will wear the mountains jersey
Caleb Ewan (Orica Scott) will wear the iiNET Sprint jersey
Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) will wear the Young Rider's white jersey.
If you missed yesterday's stage, you can watch the video highlights HERE.
Australian Lachlan Morton is back on the WorldTour this year with Dimension Data. You can check out the talented climber's Cervelo S5 HERE.
Neutral is done and racing has started. Stage 3 is on!
Unlike yesterday, when it took awhile for the attacks to start, several riders are already on the move
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) has put in a dig, but the peloton is reacting
De Gendt is now being chased by Clement Chevrier (Ag2R La Mondiale), Jeremy Maison (FDJ) and Vegard Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi)
The three chasers are close to making contact with De Gendt, while the peloton is another 45 seconds back
If this group of four forms and sticks, this will be our first day without a solo breakaway rider
133km remaining from 144km
Four riders have linked up and now have a gap of 1:15
Looks like today's breakaway will be:
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Clement Chevrier (Ag2R La Mondiale)
Jeremy Maison (FDJ)
Vegard Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi)
131km remaining from 144km
Gap has climbed to 1:40. Looks like this quartet is on its way. Good luck, boys!
De Gendt is the most accomplished of today's breakaway riders. The 30-year-old Belgian won a stage of the Tour de France this year and has a total of nine pro wins, including stages at the Giro, Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice.
129km remaining from 144km
The gap continues to go out and is now 2:25.
Clement Chevrier is new to AG2R this year after riding with IAM Cycling for two years. He rode with Axel Merckx's Bissell Development Team in 2014. The 24-year-old Frenchman has yet to score his first pro win.
Jeremy Maison is a 23-year-old from France. He signed with FDJ last year and won a stage go the UCI 2.2 Ronde de l'Isard in 2015.
126km remaining from 144km
Gap is now 2:45
A 27-year-old from Norway, Vegard Laengen came to UAE Abu Dhabi from IAM Cycling. He finished third in the stage 9 individual time trial at the Giro in 2016.
124km remaining from 144km
The gap has hit three minutes, and Chevrier, who came into the day in 53rd place overall, 1:34 behind Porte, is no the virtual leader on the road.
Porte's BMC Racing Team is on the front of the peloton keeping the leaders in check.
120km remaining from 144km
New gap is 3:10. The peloton has a bigger task today, keeping track of four riders rather than one. BMC will keep them close and then expect the sprinters' teams to finish off the chase.
The escapees appear to be settling into a rhythm as the gap goes up again to 3:50
The gap has gone over four minutes for the first time. The quartet has 4:05 on the bunch.
108km remaining from 144km
Gap is now 4:15 to the leaders as they near the KOM at Sellicks Hill.
1km to the KOM at Sellicks Hill. A sprint follows less than 4km later.
De Gendt jumps away to take the KOM
Results from the KOM:
1: Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
2: Jeremy Maison (FDJ)
3: Clement Chevrier (Ag2R La Mondiale)
4: Vegard Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi)
And just like that, Maison wins the first intermediate sprint.
New gap is 4:45. Will they hit five minutes?
There's a light rain falling on the riders as they make their way down the coast for the finishing circuits.
BMC are lined up on the front now, with Porte sitting in the back of the train.
De Gendt dropped back slightly to the neutral service car to get a bottle. he's got it and is straight back into the pace line to take his pull.
89km remaining from 144km
The gap is down below four minutes again at 3:55
Dimension Data have thrown a rider into the chase to help BMC
The FDJ team care helping service the breakaway, giving bottles to Chevrier and Laengen
80km remaining from 144km
80km to go. Gap is back to 4:10
The breakaway has 3km to the second and last KOM of the day
De Gendt collects maximum points at the second intermediate sprint.
67km remaining from 144km
Chevrier is collecting food and water from the neutral service car.
Results from the second intermediate sprint:
1:Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
2: Vegard Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi)
3: Jeremy Maison (FDJ)
Our Zeb Woodpower caught up with Richie Porte this morning before the start. Here's what he had to say about stage 3:
"For me it’s probably better to sit back and let them go for the time bonuses. I'll back myself on the climbs. I am climbing well and the team is fantastic.
"We don’t want to let the wrong move go. Obviously, there is Sky and Orica with the fastest sprinters here and Sagan. It might be up to them to chase a little bit too if they want a sprint.
"World Tour races is where the UCI points are and it's so important to get off to a good start, which the Aussies have done so far with the other two Australians in the team winning the jerseys and also, I have won a stage here so it’s a great start to the season."
65km remaining from 144km
Gap is 3:40
Cyclingnews editor Daniel benson caught up with 2016 winner Simon Gerrans today at the stage start. Gerrans finished 38th on stage 2 and is now 36th overall, 58 seconds behind Porte.
"Yesterday didn’t go so well for me. I was always going to have a really good day to finish with the best guys, and normally I would expect to finish in the second chase group, but I didn’t have a good day at all. I lost time and that put me out of the GC.
"This changes my goals in the race and I’ll be very much riding to support Esteban Chaves now. He’s in a great spot and there’s also a couple of good opportunities for Caleb. I was missing a bit yesterday, that top 10 to finish it off. It wasn’t a great day but I’ve done a lot of hard work so the form shouldn’t be too far away."
52km remaining from 144km
The leaders are on the first of four 12.9km circuits in Victor Harbor. Gap is 4:00
One rider who's just happy to be racing this week is Dylan Theuns, the Trek-Segafredo rider who crashed hard during the Tour de France time trial and suffered a compressed fracture of the T12 vertebra. The injury ended Theun's season, and this week marks his return to competition. We caught up with him before today's stage start.
"I’m still in some pain. For sure after a stage like Paracombe I felt the climbing. It still hurts a bit but generally the riding is okay. If we’re climbing for a while and then I stretch, then I can feel it but mainly I feel it after the race when there’s less adrenaline.
"The cobbles went okay and that was a good way to see me off before Australia. I’ll do the same programme as last year. I want to be good in the Belgium opening weekend and I want to have my own chances in the smaller Classics, and for sure it’s for John and Jasper to go. I hope that I can support them there.
"I want to try and keep sprinting. I’m not back 100 per cent for the sprints yet but the team are doing a really good job. I’m getting back again into the sprinting habits.
The peloton is 3:50 back as they go under the finish banner in Victor Harbor for the first time.
Reports from the circuit in Victor Harbor says the winds, or lack thereof, won't be a factor in the finish.
The gap is down to 3:30. That's the lowest it's been in some time. BMC is still leading the chase.
The leaders have completed their first lap and going under the finish banner once again.
Bora-Hansgrohe riders are on the front of the peloton. Are they working for Sagan or Bennett today?
The gap is down to 3:20 as the peloton goes under the finish banner to start another lap.
During stage 2, Bora-Hansgrohe started out riding for Sagan but then switched horses to Bennett halfway through the stage.
Excuse me. The current gap is 2:45
36km remaining from 144km
The gap keeps coming down with Bora and BMC powering the chase. Currently at 2:25
Latest gap is 2:05. Plenty of time for the peloton to close that. Wait! While we were typing he gap dropped again; it's 1:55 now
The leaders going under the finish banner again, this time with two laps to go. We'll see where the gap is at when the peloton comes through.
Breakaway rider Vegard Laengen is getting a new lease on life with UAE Abu Dhabi. Our Zeb Woodpower caught up with the Norwegian rider to talk about his future. Read the article HERE.
Speak of the Devil, Laengen has just attacked the break
Laengen is away, and the gap to the peloton is down to 1:10
The peloton is lined out chasing. Laengen has a tall order to stay away. Speaking of tall, Laengen is 1.9 metres tall, or almost six-feet-four-inches
Laengen is just in front of the three chasers, with the gap to the peloton at 1:25
Laengenis is definitely calling on his time trial skills here. He's holding off the three chasers, but the gap to the peloton is still closing. Less than a minute now.
The chasers are 12 seconds behind Laengen
15km remaining from 144km
15km to go, with Laengen out front alone ahead of three chasers at 12 seconds and the peloton at 53 seconds.
Laengen goes under the finish banner and gets the bell for one to go. The peloton is only 30 second behind.
10km remaining from 144km
10km to go for Laengen, and he's got 20 seconds.
The peloton closing in on Laengen. Eight-second gap
...and the catch is made. Nice day out front for Laengen, but it's the sprinters' teams in the spotlight now.
It's getting hectic up front as teams position for the sprint
And theres a crash in the bunch. Several riders are down.
Bahrain-Merida on the front
Sky has swarmed the front for Van Poppel
Sky still in control
There's a left-hand turn, and Ewan is a ways back
Here comes Sagan. But it's Ewan again!
Today's top 10:
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Noccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
7 Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
9 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
10 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
General Classification after stage 3
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
8 Nathan Earle (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
10 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
Tomorrow's Tour Down Under stage 4 is a 149.5km race from Norwood to Campbelltown. In his stage previews for Cyclingnews, Baden Cooke said this could be a stage for the breakaway, depending on what the sprinters' teams do.
"They could bring it back for a sprint, but if it's ridiculously hot they might just let it go. The make of the breakaway will be important. If there are guys a long way down on GC this is probably their best chance to stay to away."
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