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Tour Down Under 2013: stage three – gallery

Searing heat in January is a dream for cyclists in the UK.

For the riders contesting the Tour Down Under, however, temperatures in the upper-30s made for uncomfortable riding.

Despite the rising mercury, at least two could celebrate a tough, but rewarding day at the office: Tom Jelte Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling) bagged his maiden pro win, while fourth place on the stage was enough fro Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas to retain his overall lead.

Stage four promises to be equally demanding, and Thomas is already predicting that Saturday’s visit to Old Willunga Hill could prove decisive.

Our man with the camera, Stefano Sirotti, will be there, as he was in Stirling. Here are his images of stage three.

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The strain of a grueling third stage is etched into the posture of Geraint Thomas and some of his fellow ridersPhilippe Gilbert enjoys a well-earned drink after sprinting to third place in temperatures unfamiliar to a Belgian in January

The effort of victory is evident on the face of Tom Jelte Slagter, who took his maiden pro win in Stirling

Italians, however, don’t ‘do’ ruffled. Giovani Visconti retains the effortless cool of the pro cyclist after sprinting to fifth place

Another one for the collection: Geraint Thomas pulls on a fresh leader’s jersey, with a little help from his friends

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