Cadel Evans took the bull by the horns today and charged his way up the Corkscrew, one of Australia’s most famous climbs, to claim a fantastic victory in stage three of the Tour Down Under.
The former Tour de France winner launched a crushing attack on Corkscrew Road to drop Richie Porte (Sky) and Australian Road Champion Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) before soloing to the stage victory.
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) won the bunch sprint for second ahead of Stage 2 winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) with Gerrans relinquishing his overall lead after finishing fifth.
[quote_center]I had an idea of what we might have an opportunity to do but it’s always might, if, maybe,” said Evans. “In this sport when you have an opportunity you have to run with it.”[/quote_center]
Crowd favourite and cycling legend Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) led an early four-rider break, with Jens finishing as the days most aggressive rider.
Voigt was joined by Travis Meyer (Drapac), Jérôme Cousin (AG2R) and Andriy Grivko (Astana).
Meyer and Grivko split the two sprint bonuses on offer, but with the latter only 21 seconds off the race lead, a watchful peloton kept the break on a tight leash and nibbled away at the time gap.
With the Corkscrew looming, the breakaway was quickly caught. Team BMC then took control on Corkscrew Road to set up team leader Evans with the speed rapidly shedding riders off the peloton.
Halfway up the climb Evans and Porte paired up to drop Gerrans but only Evans had the legs to continue.
“Cadel obviously is absolutely flying,” said Porte.
“I tried to go with him, but in the hairpins there he just rode away and there’s not much you can do.
[quote_center]”It was a little disappointing, I thought I was in a bit better nick.”[/quote_center]
Cresting the climb first, Evans only had seven kilometres of riding in front of him to take the victory and overall lead.
Using his descending skills and time trial prowess, he denied any possibility of being caught, hitting the finish line 14 seconds ahead of the chasing bunch to lead the race by 12 seconds overall.
Friday’s 148.5-kilometre stage takes the riders from Unley in inner-city Adelaide to the town of Victor Harbor on the FleurieuPeninsula.
Stage 3: 145km, Norwood to Campbelltown
1 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC 3r 34min 06sec
2 Nathan Haas (AUS) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:14
3 Diego Ulissi (ITA) Lampre-Merida
4 Adam Hansen (AUS) Lotto Belisol
5 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
6 Rory Sutherland (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
8 Ben Hermans (BEL) BMC
9 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenDGE
10 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin
1 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC 10hr 46min 40sec
2 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 0:00:11
3 Diego Ulissi (ITA) Lampre-Merida 0:00:14
4 Nathan Haas (AUS) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:26
5 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin 0:00:28
6 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky
7 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE 0:00:32
8 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
9 Rory Sutherland (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
10 Ben Hermans (BEL) BMC
Haydn Thomas: firstname.lastname@example.org