Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) won the 3rd stage of the Santos Tour Down Under from a 10 rider group sprint. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) was 2nd with Michael Woods (Cannondale) in 3rd place.
The early racing saw a lone escapee, Laurens De Vreese (Astana), jump clear from kilometer zero. The peloton were happy to let him go as it was inevitable that he would be caught before the much awaited climb up Corkscrew Road. The catch took place with 21km to go and it was race on from that point.
As riders descended at speeds touching 90km/h toward the start of the Corkscrew climb, there was a crash in the field that saw Songezo Jim and Tyler Farrar both going down. Thankfully our two Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were able to get up and carry on to the finish, albeit with a bit of help from a spectator who lent Tyler his bike and shoes. The crash though, caused a split in the peloton with around 30 riders forming the front group.
The race managed to come back together just as the road ramped up toward the sky. Cameron Meyer, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas were all well positioned on the lower slopes of the Corkscrew as race leader Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) started to up the pace. Richie Porte then followed with a few stinging attacks of his own which really split the field. Our Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were slightly distanced as 10 riders gaped the field over the top of the Corkscrew.
The leaders would not be caught during the hair raising 5km descent to the line. Gerrans would take over the race lead after today’s stage win. Cam would be our highest placed rider on the stage, coming home with the first chase group 13 seconds down on the winners and still in contention for a decent overall position.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today was the first stage in the Tour Down Under where we were playing for the GC. In the finale we weren’t able to have our 2 leaders, Nathan and Cameron with the leaders but we rode a good race to deliver them to a good position before the start of the Corkscrew climb. The guys tried their best and we did a good job, it was just a shame Tyler crashed about 10km’s before the climb but luckily he is okay and for sure he will start tomorrow.