Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) has taken his first win of 2019 by winning stage 3 of the Tour Down Under from Lobethal to Uraidla.
The riders faced two laps of an opening 17.1km circuit, followed by a ride to a 13.9km loop ridden seven times to end the day to make 146.2km in total made today’s stage much more undulating than the previous days’ racing, with more than 3,000m of climbing.
In the opening 10 kilometres, seven riders stepped up to make the day’s break, clearly not deterred by the amount of climbing ahead of them. With the weather a more gentle 32°C, this allowed the break to build an advantage over the peloton, albeit never much more than three minutes over the course of the day. As the day went on, it was clear the break wasn’t going to last, dropping riders from 50km out and finally being swept up at 13km to go.
It was here the race exploded into action and the speeds ramped up as the severe pace saw the peloton become a select group as the riders fell off the back. As the final 2km came into view, the attacks started, with Jay McCarthy and the Austrian National Champion, Lukas Pöstlberger working hard to pull them back and the Slovak National Champion Sagan staying in contact.
Having taken the stage here last year, Sagan used his knowledge of the finish to get into an ideal position, to finish ahead of Luis León Sánchez (Astana Pro Team) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and claim his first victory of the 2019 season. The win moves Sagan into second in the GC behind Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) and he will wear the race’s blue points jersey tomorrow.
Peter Sagan – “I am very happy to take this win. The guys from CCC controlled the pace and then BORA-hansgrohe worked hard to keep me on the front and take care of me, keeping me hydrated. In the end it was a great finish – when we passed the last climb I thought it was going to be like last year and in the end it just happened exactly the same. It was much better having some experience of a finale like this and I’m very happy we came to the finish with climbers because it made the sprint easier, but Sanchez was really close to taking the win.”