Published: Thursday, 22 January 2015 05:32
Written by Jamie Naragon
Tinkoff-Saxo’s GC captain, Michael Rogers, was in the mix of GC contenders fighting for the win on stage 3 of Tour Down Under. With a steep, final 2-kilometer climb featuring percentages around 15 % on some sections, the favorites drew swords and battled it out up towards the finish line in Paracombe.
Michael Rogers finished 5th on the day and takes 7th overall in the same time as Richie Porte (Team Sky) in 4th. They are now 15 seconds down on race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), who also took the stage win following a surprise attack on the last 200 meters of the stage. Upon his return to the Tinkoff-Saxo team hotel, Rogers commented:
“I’m very happy with how it went today. It was a new and untested climb. We hit the bottom after 140 kilometers in a hectic pace, I made sure to find my rhythm and I actually felt pretty good on the climb, which is definitely a nice way to start the season”, says Michael Rogers.
For the third day in a row, four riders made it into the main breakaway of the stage. The group had several minutes on the pack for the majority of the race, but as the favorites closed in on the final climb, so did they on the breakaway, which was caught with 8,7km to go. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Christopher Juul-Jensen, Oliver Zaugg and Jesper Hansen worked hard to position team captain Michael Rogers in the front of the field before the final steep kilometers.
Climb got the system online
The favorites and their lieutenants immediately set a ferocious speed on the climb in what seemed as an uphill lead-out. A small gap among the favorites was closed on the last 0,5km and that was where Rohan Dennis jumped from the front group and secured the stage win. According to Michael Rogers “today’s stage definitely got the system online”.
“Today was actually a bit of a shock really - at least for my body. It was the first stage of the season, where we went full gas on a climb. Normally, I prefer longer and steadier climbs but I felt good today, and I look forward to stage 5 to Willunga Hill, where the race will be decided”, explains Michael Rogers, who is glad to see his fellow teammates finding their race shape.
“The boys are getting better and better. I had a few race days before Tour Down Under at the nationals, but guys like Chris Juul, Zaugg, Jesper Hansen are really finding their race speed. I think we can create some good results together here at the second part of the race”.
Oliver Zaugg crosses the finish line after having provided valuable help leading up to the final climb
Michael Rogers won Tour Down Under in 2002. Since then he has seen the race grow bigger each year with an increasing amount of enthusiastic spectators along the Australian roads.
“As a native Australian, it’s really encouraging to see this great race evolve. There are so many people at the side of the roads enjoying the summer and showing their support for cycling”, finishes Michael Rogers.
With tomorrow’s 145km stage from Glenelg to Mount Barker favoring the sprinters, the GC contenders will have to wait until Saturday for the queen stage to Willunga Hill.
Published: Thursday, 22 January 2015 05:25
Written by Jamie Naragon
January 22th, 2015 (Adelaide, Australia) —Drapac Professional Cycling’s William Clarke delivered an instrumental attack in Stage 3 of Santos Tour Down Under, establishing a day long break to earn Most Competitive Rider. Rohan Dennis (BMC) took the stage victory with Cadel Evans (BMC) second and Tom Dumoulin (TGA) third.
Clarke launched at 3km and was joined by fellow Australian Calvin Watson (Trek Racing), Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale-Garmin) and Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) at 9km.
“I wanted to go pretty early today. I felt good and we got rolling nicely as a group. I am pleased with today and I gave what I had. It was good to open the legs up a bit and go up the road and I am happy about getting the sprints,” Clarke said.
The quartet then built out a lead on the peloton that hovered around 3 minutes for the next 100km.
“All in all it was a good day today. I am pleased we were in the break and Will rode strong all day,” Tom Southam, Sports Director, said. “Will gave today exactly what we asked him to do and rode aggressively.”
Clarke, in his 5th appearance at Santos Tour Down Under, won the first and second iiNET Sprint (67km and 93km) ahead of Hansen and Domont. Domont then dropped off just before the final sprint of the day. Clarke took the third sprint with Hansen and Watson behind him. Not long after the sprint line, Hansen fell back and Watson followed soon after. Clarke rode solo for the next 10km before being swallowed up by a charging peloton.
Clarke is no stranger to the breakaway attack having won the 2012 Stage 2 of Tour Down Under in Stirling on an all-day breakaway.
Drapac’s highest place GC rider, Travis Meyer started the day in 31st and was positioned with the peloton as they tackled the final climb of the day.
“I felt good leading into the bottom of the final climb. I was perfectly positioned behind Sky and Greenedge but unfortunately didnt have the legs to follow the big guns,” Meyer said. Meyer finished the day at +2’32”.
Drapac’s Tim Rowe suffered a puncture with 5km to go and unfortunately lost valuable time, dropping his hopes for a high placing finish for the day.
“It was unlucky for Tim to puncture when he did. You can't stop it from happening but it's disappointing when it does. He was riding well today and it is just unfortunate,” Southam added.
Jordan Kerby was today’s top finisher for the team at +1’59”.
Tomorrow’s 144km stage takes the peloton up Sellicks Hill before sprints are contested at Ashbourne and Macclesfield.
Results Snap Stage 3 Santos Tour Down Under
Classification Results 3 –
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
56. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01'59"
69. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 02'32"
81. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 03'14"
87. Martin Kohler (SUI) Drapac Professional Cycling 03'31"
114. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07'37"
118. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07'52"
131. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 11'35"
General Classification 3 –
1. DENNIS Rohan (AUS) BMC 10h17'06"
53. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h19'48"
59. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h20'30"
92. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h25'35"
106. Martin Kohler (Sui) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h30'37"
110. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h32'24"
120. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h39'09"
130. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h48'27"
Teams Classification 3
1. BMC RACING TEAM 30h52'12" 00"
19. DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 31h00'07" 07'55"