PARACOMBE, Australia (CT) – Ritchie Porte (Trek-Segfredo) has shown his climbing prowess, and more importantly, put one over on his rivals to take out Stage Three of the 2020 Tour Down Under
Porte was paced to the foot of the day's KOM by World Champion Mads Pedersen, before swinging off and letting Juan Lopez Perez set a scintillating tempo. From here Porte danced up the climb, putting 50m on the chasing bunch behind. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) jumped clear of the peloton with Robert Power (Team Sunweb) and Rohan Dennis (Team Ineos) in his wheel. However, as the road flattened out, the damage was already done. Porte crossed the line, with arms aloft 5 seconds ahead of Power, who pipped a fading Yates on the line.
How It Unfolded
Stage Three set off in windy damp conditions, with the rider’s enjoying a 6º drop in temperature from the starting town of Unley, 16km down the road to Piccadilly.
Much like stage 2 an early break established itself, with a trio of quality riders jumping clear including Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and ex-nation road race champion, Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) in the break.
After the first hour of racing, the break had established a gap of three minutes back to the main peloton, a margin they’d hover around but really extend on for the rest of the day. Back in the pack, after a crashed marred second stage in the 2020 Tour Down Under, the peloton was taking no chances in the swirling conditions, managing both the gap to the peloton in front and the pace in the bunch.
By the first intermediate sprint point, the break was maintaining a 2 minute 40 gap back to the peloton and didn’t contest the sprint, choosing to roll across the line and continue to work to hold the main bunch at bay. As the race ticked down to 30km to go, the peloton hit the gas, reeling in the days break, chopping their advantage in half over the course of a handful of kilometres.
On the fast and furious 12 kilometre descent down Gorge road, the peloton ranged up on the last remaining breakaway rider, Miles Scotson, closing the gap down to just 9 seconds. As the speed increased Bora-Hansgrohe team leads Jay McCarthy came down heavily on the descent, sliding off the road, and looked in great discomfort.
The catch was finally made with 8.7km to run, bringing the race back together. The teams of the GC riders jostled for position at the front of the bunch in an attempt to deliver their climbers and GC hopefuls in the best possible position at the foot of the final climb of the day up Torrens Hill Road.
The lead-out men then peeled off and left the climbers duke it out. Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) was the first to blink, attacking the main bunch, however the strong tempo set by Trek-Segafredo insured the Italian was kept in check. From here Porte exploded out of the peloton, gritting his teeth and riding away from the peloton who had no answer for the turn of speed from the Tasmanian. Porte would hold on to cross the line ahead of young Australian Rober Power (Team Sunweb) while Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who was suffering the effects of a crash on stage 2 valiantly rounded out the podium.
The win see's Porte move into the Ochre Jersey, with a 5-second advantage over defending champion Daryl Impey with fellow Aussie Robert Power back in third, 9 seconds back. Stage four of the Tour Down Under see's the peloton take on their first point-to-point stage in this years edition, racing from the inner-city suburb of Norwood, out to Murray Bridge.
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