TDU Stage 3 Unley to Victor Harbor, 84mi

TDU Stage 3 Unley to Victor Harbor, 84mi

After days of being in the mix but falling short each time, Rabobank’s Graeme Brown finally scored a sprint win in the third stage of the 11th Tour Down Under. Second place went to race leader Allan Davis (Quick-Step) and third to Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank), making for an all-Australian podium. Davis retained his leader’s jersey for the second day in a row. Unfortunately Team Astana’s Michael Schär and Chechu Rubiera were involved in mid-race crashes with Michael taken to the hospital for evaluation.
After an 11AM roll-out with an initial 10km neutral zone, the attacks came fast and furious, including a short-lived effort by Schär that was quickly brought back. Eventually a group of 16 went away that included Lance Armstrong and Jesus Hernandez, as well as O’Grady. Working well together, the group developed a decent gap of almost two minutes, but behind them crashes were taking a toll on the peloton, knocking out defending champion Andre Greipel and Schär, among others. Luckily Rubiera was able to continue and rode in with the grupetto.
The Armstrong group put in a big effort to stay away but Team Columbia and Rabobank put men on the front and brought them back with 35km left to race. With plenty of real estate still ahead before hitting the line at Victor Harbor, more and more attacks were put in with Quick-Step also playing a role in the peloton. Glenn d’Hollander (Silence-Lotto) had attacked as the catch was made and Cameron Meyer (Garmin) made good time in bridging to him, but with less than 10 kilometers to go the peloton was all together and the stage was set for a bunch sprint.
Rabobank and Team Columbia went head to head, with Davis figuring in the mix as well, but it was Brown who had the legs and secured the win on the line.
“I felt alright,” said Lance after the stage, speaking about the windy conditions and his time in the break. “I don’t have that high-end intensity yet, that hasn’t been part of my training, but you had to be strong just to be in the group.” Speaking of his request for a media helicopter to move away from the group, Lance laughed and said, “When it’s that windy the last thing you need is a big wind machine on top of you! It was swirling so much, it just wasn’t safe. And with the deep dish rims and some of the little guys…the next stop for them was New Zealand!”
Crash Update: Michael has suffered superficial road rash and bruises, plus a cut on the outside of his calf. Also the saphenus nerve is cut. This is a superficial sensitory nerve with no motor function. The doctors are looking into suturing it. Chechu hurt his left shoulder and arm, plus has a shoulder bruise and road rash on his arm.
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Top 10 Stage 3
1 Graeme Brown (Rabobank) 3.15.35
2 Allan Davis (Quick Step)
3 Stuart O’Grady (Team Saxo Bank)
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d’Epargne)
5 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia – High Road)
6 Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale)
7 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne)
8 Alexandre Pichot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
9 Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre – N.G.C)
10 Mickaël Chérel (Française Des Jeux)
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GC after stage 3
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 10.47.11
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.05
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0.14
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – High Road 0.18
6 Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA 0.19
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C 0.20
8 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream
10 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux
(By Cathy Mehl; source: www.astana-cyclingteam.com)

 

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