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Bilbao wins stage 3 of the Tour Down Under - Live coverage


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the potentially pivotal third stage of the 2023 Tour Down Under!

We're just moments away from the start of what could be a stage that decides the GC. It's a relatively short one at 117km, but it packs a punch with three of Adelaide’s toughest climbs, Norton Summit, Checker Hill and Corkscrew Road.

It's going to be a huge stage for the GC contenders with three big climbs on tap. Rohan Dennis (TJV) is leading the race by 3 seconds ahead of Jay Vine (UAD). Third is Magnus Sheffield (IGD), who is also the best young rider, sitting at 12 seconds. 

The race is still riding through neutral before race director Stuart O'Grady waves the flag for the official start. 

As soon as the flag drops, the peloton will be climbing toward Norton Summit for the next seven kilometres. 

And we're away and racing! No attacks from the start, but the big teams are already at the front. 

We have a move from EF Education-Eastpost's Mikkel Honore. He's up the road along, with no response from the peloton. 

Honore is the first to attack at on stage 3 of the Tour Down Under.

Honore has some help from Astana's Fabio Felline who just bridged across to join the EF Education Easypost rider. They have a gap of 1'44" with 108.7km to go.

102km to go

We've reached the top of the first classified climb and Honore got over line first to scoop up 7 points. Felline was second for 5 and Plapp took third for 3 points. 

With that three points, Plapp is now virtually tied with Jay Vine for the KOM jersey.

The gap has catapulted up to 3'30" with Jumbo Visma at the helm of the peloton.  

Jumbo Visma seem to be happy to let the duo up the road to gain even more time, as the gap is teetering close to four minutes with 94km to go.

We're now on the approach to Lobethal where the riders will cross the first intermediate sprint. Caleb Ewan is leading the points competition, with time bonuses also on offer, it will be interesting to see if any GC contenders have a go at it. 

It's 22 degrees out there at the moment, pretty perfect conditions for a bike race. The leaders are still working well together and trading pulls. 

Felline was the first over the line at the intermediate sprint, followed, of course, by Honore. Kaden Groves was third out of the peloton. 

75km to go

The peloton is getting serious with the tempo rising, however we have a way to go before the second intermediate sprint, which comes in the next 20km.

Now Jumbo Visma is getting some help from Alpecin Fenix at the front of the peloton.

66km to go

The gap is holding at 3'39" to the two riders off the front. The tempo is steady in the pack. 

We're halfway through today's stage, soon they'll be on a long descent into Williamston and the intermediate sprint. 

The riders will see plenty of these signs along the Tour Down Under routes this week. It's truly a unique part of what makes this race special. 

Felline took the second intermediate sprint once again, with Honore taking second.

The gap has gone way down to 1'35" as the kilometres tick down. We're getting down to business as the race passes the 50km to go point. 

It's 1'12 to the break and more teams are coming to the front as they think about positioning on the final two climbs. 

40km to go

The duo is just inside a minute ahead of the peloton. The catch might be made on or before Checker Hill. 

Moscon and Basso, two Astana riders, have taken a tumble together. Moscon looks like he's really nursing his shoulder. Oftentimes that means a collarbone injury, but that's yet to be confirmed. 

We're climbing up Checker Hill and Ethan Hayter (Ineos) is showing signs of struggle. He's hanging on the back of the peloton as others start to lose contact. 

Honore takes the max points on Checker Hill ahead of Felline. Hindley was third just ahead of Yates. 

Honore is the only rider off the front after Checker Hill with a 30 second gap. Felline is back in the peloton.

Several big names have dropped off the back of the peloton during the climb on Checker Hill including Geraint Thomas and Miles Scotson.

30km to go

Honore has taken the virtual lead of the KOM competition at 17 points with the Corkscrew climb left to go. Felline is second with 11 points. 

The peloton is on their way toward the famous Corkscrew climb. It's mostly downhill until the hit the base with 5.8km to go to the finish.

We've just had a crash with Corbin Strong and Harrison Wood involved. Chris Froome was at the side fixing his bike, but we're not sure if he went down.

We're just 9km away from the start of the climb, and 17km until the end of the race.

The peloton is flying down the descent before the turn onto Corkscrew Road. 

There isn't much time left to improve positioning in the peloton before the fireworks start. It's now or never to move up. 

Simon Yates is up near the front looking dangerous. Jay Vine is also there. Ben O'Connor, who's looking for a stage win, is sitting second wheel behind his teammates. 

The Corkscrew is relatively short at 2.4km, but the average gradient is a stinging 9 percent. 

Rohan Dennis is in trouble already. He was caught out of position at the base and can't keep the pace with the climbers. 

Jay Vine is the first to attack on the climb, and Simon Yates is swiftly on his wheel. 

Pello Bilbao has bridged across to Yates and Vine as the near the top. 

The three best climbers of the race have pulled away on this climb. Vine gets over the top first and takes the max KOM points, Yates follows.

Yates, Vine and Bilbao are ahead of a reduced peloton by 15 seconds with 5.4km to go. 

The three leaders are trading turns as they make their way down the descent toward the finish in Campbelltown. 

Just 2km to go and the three off the front are working well. 

Now 1km to go. We're on the edge of the city and Vine moves to the front to get as much time as possible.

Vine leads it out and Pello Bilbao wins the sprint against Yates! Jay Vine will take the ochre jersey off the back of Rohan Dennis. 

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) outsprints Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula) to take the win on stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) finished third and moves into the ochre jersey. 

Read our complete race report, with the complete set of results from today's stage.

Rohan Dennis' stage derailed after an unfortunately timed bike change, costing him the ochre jersey. “The gears just stopped working. I was stuck in one gear and I thought that’s probably not smart for the last 40km,” Rohan Dennis told Cyclingnews just past the finish line.

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