Tour Down Under 2017: Caleb Ewan sprints to victory again on stage three - Road Cycling UK

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Tour Down Under 2017: Caleb Ewan sprints to victory again on stage three

Australian beats Peter Sagan in Victor Harbor; Richie Porte retains overall lead

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) avoided a late crash to outsprint world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and claim his second stage victory in three days at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Sagan kicked first as the peloton swung onto the final straight, but Ewan surged past the rainbow jersey to add to his victory on stage one as BMC Racing’s Richie Porte retained the ochre jersey.

Ewan’s victory – the fourth of his career at the Tour Down Under, and sixth on the WorldTour on all – came despite losing his lead-out man, Daryl Impey, in the crash too.

Caleb Ewan sprinted to stage three victory at the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under (pic – Sirotti)

But the 22-year-old’s all-out power proved decisive as he once again outlined his sprinting talent in his home country.

Rolling out of Glenelg, the undulating stage tempted a few more riders into the break than the previous two days, including Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).

The breakaway specialist was joined by Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi), Clement Chevrier (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Jeremy Masion (FDJ) and the quartet’s lead crept over the four-minute mark.

It meant plenty of time for De Gendt to rack up climbing points, pulling level with stage two winner Porte in the King of the Mountains classification, but the peloton always looked in control.

Damien Howson (Orica-Scott) once again came to the fore to eat into the breakaway’s advantage, while BMC Racing -working for race leader Porte – also pulled hard on the front of the peloton.

It prompted Laengen to strike out alone on the penultimate lap, but the Norwegian’s advantage stood at little more than 20 seconds as the kilometres ticked down.

With a bunch sprint inevitable, Laengen was caught with six kilometres and the battle for the position ensued in the peloton.

Team Sky looked to have the advantage, with sprinter Danny van Poppel well-placed as they rounded the final bend onto the finishing straight.

Race leader Richie Porte, in the ochre jersey, stayed safe to retain his 20-second overall lead (pic – Sirotti)

A crash in the middle of the bunch disrupted proceedings, however, as Sagan looked to go long in a bid to secure his first victory of the season.

Ewan had other ideas, however – despite being without a lead-out – kicking at the perfect time and surging past the man in the rainbow jersey to claim another stage victory.

Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) beat Van Poppel into third place, while Porte was safely inside the top 20 to retain his grip on the overall lead.

Second-placed Gorka Izaguirre’s continued participation is in doubt, however, after the Movistar man was caught up in the crash.

Though he finished the stage, and was credited with the same time as Ewan, the Spaniard was in obvious discomfort post-race, and his team are set to make a decision ahead of stage four.

Santos Tour Down Under 2017: stage three – result

1) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 3.24.45hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
3) Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida
4) Danny van Poppel (NED) – Team Sky
5) Edward Theuns (BEL) – Trek-Segafredo
6) Nikias Arndt (GER) – Team Sunweb
7) Sean de Bie (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal
8) Lorrenzo Manzin (FRA) – FDJ
9) Ruben Guerreiro (POR) – Trek-Segafredo
10) Baptiste Planckaert (BEL) – Katusha-Alpecin

General classification

1) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing – 10.34.59hrs
2) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +20”
3) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +22”
4) Jay McCarthy (AUS) – Bora-hansgrohe +24”
5) Nathan Haas (AUS) – Dimension Data +27”
6) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC Racing +29”
7) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana – ST
8) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – UAE Abu Dhabi
9) Rafael Valls (ESP) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Robert Gesink (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo

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