Tour Down Under Stage 3: Sagan Wins!

In a carbon copy of stage 4 of the 2018 race, the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, used his local knowledge to take the win on a punishing stage 3 of the Tour Down Under

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Tour Down Under Stage 3: Sagan Wins!

In a carbon copy of stage 4 of the 2018 race, the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, used his local knowledge to take the win on a punishing stage 3 of the Tour Down Under.

Photo: Getty Images

While the terrain was tough, Peter was kept in contention with a strong support effort from his BORA-hansgrohe teammates, with three of the team helping Peter stay in touch as other all-rounders were dropped on the hard final climbs.

While some late attacks threatened to snatch the top prize, Peter kept his head and pushed hard to take the victory. The win moves Peter into second in the GC and will wear the race’s blue points jersey tomorrow.
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The Stage
Two passes of an opening 17.1km circuit, followed by a ride to a 13.9km loop ridden seven times to end the day to make 146.2km in total, today’s stage was much more undulating than the previous days’ racing, with more than 3,000m of climbing.

In spite of the amount of climbing, if the stronger all-rounders could stay in contention, they would have a shot at the win. In the opening 10km, seven riders stepped up to make the day’s break, clearly not deterred by the amount of climbing ahead of them.

With the weather a more gentle 32°C, this allowed the break to build an advantage over the peloton, albeit never much more than three minutes over the course of the day.

As the day went on, it was clear the break wasn’t going to last, dropping riders from 50km out and finally being swept up at 13km to go. It was here the race exploded into action and the speeds ramped up as the severe pace saw the peloton become a select group as the riders fell off the back.

As the final 2km came into view, the attacks started, with Jay McCarthy and the Austrian National Champion, Lukas Pöstlberger working hard to pull them back and the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, riding hard and staying in contact.

Once the finishing straight came into view, there was no doubt who would take the win – having taken the stage here last year, Peter’s intimate knowledge of the route put him in a perfect position, surging ahead and claiming his first victory of the Tour Down Under, and of the 2019 season.

Photo: Getty Images

Peter Sagan: “I am very happy to take this win. The guys from CCC controlled the pace and then BORA-hansgrohe worked hard to keep me on the front and take care of me, keeping me hydrated. In the end it was a great finish – when we passed the last climb I thought it was going to be like last year and in the end it just happened exactly the same.”

“It was much better having some experience of a finale like this and I’m very happy we came to the finish with climbers because it made the sprint easier, but Sanchez was really close to taking the win.”

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana, second): A very hot day, so the stage was really tough with some fast pace from the start and a difficult profile in the second part. In the end, I did my best, but when you sprint against Sagan and if he is in a good shape, it is difficult to beat him. So, I am quite happy with my performance today. Of course, I am still not in 100% form right now and I am moving through this race day by day. So, let’s see, where I can reach in the end of this week. Today, we did a good race as a team, I had a great support during the whole day, so I could save some energy for the final part, – explained Luis Leon Sanchez

Daryl Impey: Mitchelton-SCOTT, third: “We wanted to win the stage first of all. We got on the front in the last lap which is what we wanted to do. We had the whole team there at the end which just shows you the depth we’ve got here.

“Unfortunately I was on the front with 400m to go so I decided to take a long one from there. I knew they would run at me but I was hoping that Sagan wasn’t on my wheel. It’s a repeat of last year really, but I’m happy to get some bonus seconds, it’s a nice start.”

“Hopefully I’m in the front tomorrow. It’s a tough stage and it can go either way. With a lot of good climbers here it’s going to be hard to follow guys like Richie (Porte) and Woodsy (Michael Woods). Hopefully I will be around the mark and I can challenge for the stage tomorrow.”

Photo: Getty Images

Bevin Fights to Keep Ochre for Another Day
CCC’s race leader, Patrick Bevin continued to show solid form and determination on stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under, sprinting to fifth place and holding onto the ochre jersey and race lead by one second over stage winner Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), with three stages remaining.

Bevin’s teammates controlled the race from the start line and kept a seven-rider breakaway’s advantage within three minutes throughout the stage, before slowly pulling the group back. By the time the race entered the final 50 kilometers, the peloton, led by the bright orange CCC Team train, was just over one minute behind the now-six rider breakaway.

The gap came down to 30 seconds approaching the last 30 kilometers, at which point three riders jumped ahead of the peloton to join the remaining three riders, and eventually it was just Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) in front.

Team Sky began to pick up the pace and caught Bettiol and as the bell rang to signal the final lap, the reduced group was flying with the General Classification contenders battling for position at the front. Bevin remained calm, always sitting in the front ten riders, and despite multiple attacks in the final five kilometers, the race leader was able to respond and close any gaps before eventually sprinting to fifth place in Uraidla, behind Sagan.
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Patrick Bevin: “Today was the nervous stage. To get through that still in the lead is a big step forward to the ochre jersey on Sunday. From here on out, I feel like it’s about the legs. Today was the tactical day that could have really blown up. We managed it really well and I said at the start of the day that if we’re coming into the sprint then we’ve done our job. To give back a little bit of time is not the end of the world.”

“The last lap was always going to be hard no matter how the day was ridden. There was too much at stake at the finish. I felt like I had to cover those last two or three kilometers to make sure it was all together at the finish and protect the jersey. I feel like I’m climbing really well and I had it completely under control in that last lap. There is no hiding tomorrow. That [Corkscrew] is a very tough climb”.

“Thankfully the stage should play out fairly simply tomorrow, everyone wants to see who has the legs on Corkscrew and let’s hope it comes together at the bottom and we can stand here tomorrow still in the leader’s jersey. I feel like gravity is well in my favor for that eight-kilometer descent. I have done that descent a hundred times so I back myself to pull back any gaps. Obviously, they have to take time from me so it’s a little bit like today, I may cost myself the stage but if it means I’m still in the jersey, then that’s another win. I’ll be fighting all the way to the line to keep the ochre jersey.”

1 SAGAN Peter BOH SVK B:10″ 00″
2 SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon AST ESP B:06″ ‘ ‘
3 IMPEY Daryl MTS RSA B:04″ ‘ ‘
5 BEVIN Patrick CPT NZL ‘ ‘
8 *POGACAR Tadej UAD SLO ‘ ‘
9 *HAMILTON Christopher SUN AUS ‘ ‘
10 POZZOVIVO Domenico TBM ITA ‘ ‘
11 ULISSI Diego UAD ITA ‘ ‘
12 *GIBBONS Ryan TDD RSA ‘ ‘
13 MEYER Cameron MTS AUS ‘ ‘
14 POELS Wout SKY NED ‘ ‘
16 BENNETT George TJV NZL ‘ ‘
18 WOODS Michael EF1 CAN ‘ ‘
20 HALLER Marco TKA AUT ‘ ‘

The Brits
33. James Knox
54. Scott Davies
67. Ryan Mullen
85. Owain Doull
92. Luke Rowe
101. Adam Blythe
107. Alex Dowsett
128. Dan McLay

1 BEVIN Patrick CPT NZL 10h20’09” 00″
2 SAGAN Peter BOH SVK 10h20’10” 01″
3 SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon AST ESP 10h20’18” 09″
4 *STORER Michael SUN AUS 10h20’19” 10″
5 IMPEY Daryl MTS RSA 10h20’20” 11″
6 VAN POPPEL Danny TJV NED 10h20’24” 15″
7 POLANC Jan UAD SLO ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
8 *GIBBONS Ryan TDD RSA ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
9 *HAMILTON Christopher SUN AUS ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
10 BENNETT George TJV NZL ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
11 WOODS Michael EF1 CAN ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
12 ULISSI Diego UAD ITA ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
13 *GUERRIRO Ruben TKA POR ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
14 POELS Wout SKY NED ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
15 LUDVIGSSON Tobias GFC SWE ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
16 LATOUR Pierre-Roger ALM FRA ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
17 DEVENYNS Dries DQT BEL ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
18 VAN BAARLE Dylan SKY NED ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
20 *STRAKHOV Dmitrii


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