Tour Down Under: Cardoso claims Stage 3 for Footon-Servetto-Fuji
Maiden ProTour win for Portuguese National Champ, Greipel remains top of GC
Manuel Cardoso of Footon-Servetto-Fuji today won Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under from Unley to Stirling, crossing the line first in a bunch sprint on the uphill finish to claim the biggest win of his career ahead of last year’s Vuelta winner, Alejandro Valverde of Caisse d’Epargne, and World Champion Cadel Evans, now with BMC Racing.
The 132.5km stage proved an ordeal for the riders, with the thermometer hitting 40 degrees Celsius – more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit – and although the day was punctuated by attacks, none managed to get away, leaving the peloton together as it negotiated the final climb.
Cardoso started the day 105th in the general classification, almost nine minutes down on André Greipel, so despite his victory there was no prospect of him wresting the race leader’s ochre jersey from the German.
Having said that, the 27-year-old, who raced last year for Liberty Seguros, is the current Portuguese National Road Race Champion and gets to wear the shirt to prove it, meaning that he perhaps has less of an incentive than his team mates to get hold of a classification leader’s jersey during a stage race to replace the by now notorious team kit.
Afterwards, Cardoso said: “I was extremely happy to have won the tough stage to Stirling. Once the attack had been closed, Caisse d’Epargne did a lot of work on the front in preparation for the finish but I was able to make a big move in the final kilometre.”
Cardoso continued, “I don’t think I have a chance to win the overall despite my win here, I have had a lot of hard days over the first couple of days of this race, I am probably too far behind,” but added that despite that the victory, his first in the ProTour and for a new team to boot, was still “very important.”
Stage 3 Provisional Result
1 Manuel Cardoso, Footon-Servetto-Fuji
2 Alejandro Valverde, Caisse D'Epargne
3 Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team
4 Peter Sagan, Liquigas Doimo
5 Mauro Finetto ,Liquigas Doimo
6 Kristjan Koren, Liquigas Doimo
7 Luke Roberts, Milram
8 Markus Fothen, Milram
9 Anthony Roux, Francaise Des Jeux
10 Eduard Vorganov, Team Katusha