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Tour Down Under Stage 3: Cadel Evans takes solo win and overall lead (+ video)

BMC Racing rider attacks on Corkscrew Road climb and leaves Simon Gerrans and Richie Porte trailing

Cadel Evans of BMC Racing has grabbed the lead of the Santos Tour Down Under from Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans after launching a solo attack on the climb of Corkscrew Road and soloing his way to victory in Campbelltown.

Evans, who has never won the race, now leads by 12 seconds from Gerrans, with Diego Ulissi of Lampre-Merida, third today behind Evans and Nathan Haas of Garmin-Sharp, lying third overall.

With three stages remaining, two of those likely to end in a bunch finish, Saturday’s summit finish on Old Willunga Hill is set to determine the 2014 champion.

Evans had proved his form earlier this month at the Australian national road championships, when he finished second to Gerrans, Team Sky’s Richie Porte completing the podium.

Today, Gerrans was dropped but Porte clung on when Evans launched his attack on the Category 1 Corkscrew Road climb, which came with 10km of the 145km stage from Norwood.

A second burst from Evans shook off the Team Sky man, and the 2009 world champion kept clear to win the stage by 15 seconds and also picked up a 10 second time bonus.

"I had an idea of the opportunity I could get on Corkscrew climb and I knew what to do," reflected the 36-year-old Evans afterwards.

"My team did a fantastic job to position me where I had to be. I had been training well but winning is what we are here for.

"It’s amazing to be back racing in Australia and win," he went on.

"A stage race is all about the leader’s jersey and time bonus is the key to win this race overall."

With three stages remaining, two of those likely to end in a bunch finish, Saturday’s summit finish on Old Willunga Hill is set to determine the 2014 champion.

But Evans said: "We’ll see how it goes in the next stages. I haven’t won the GC yet."

Looking back on his day, Gerrans, who is aiming to win the race for the third time, said: "The Corkscrew is one of the toughest climbs, especially when it comes at such a crucial part of the stage.

"Everyone is going 100 per cent and that was their opportunity to make their mark on the race.

"Cadel and Richie jumped on the steep section. I sort of bided my time, and then accelerated over toward them.

“I got to Richie, but Cadel slipped away. Then he managed to pull away on the downhill.

“The difficult part of that downhill, is that you only need five seconds, and you're out of sight. I didn't spot him again until we got near the bottom.

"It won't be easy to get back [the time], but it's not impossible," he added.

"It's not going to be easy for Cadel. We're going to throw everything at him, that's for sure."

" I’m disappointed to lose the ochre jersey but it’s not over."

Porte, who is set to battle Evans in May’s Giro d’Italia, said: "Cadel was absolutely flying, I tried to go with him in those hairpins, I couldn't stay with him, and he got away.

"It's a little disappointing, but Saturday is another hilltop finish, I am quite hopeful we have the team to at least get up there on the podium.”

Responding to suggestions that the race is over, he said: "Yesterday, they were saying the same thing about Simon [Gerrans]. I guess Saturday will decide it all."

Trek Factory Racing’s Jens Voigt, riding the first race of what will be his final season, was one of four riders to get into the day’s break, and the 42-year-old won the Europcar Most Competitive Rider award for his efforts.

"I picked today’s stage to break away because nobody else did but I knew that it was close to impossible to go for the stage win," he said afterwards.

"We never had more than two and half minutes lead because [fellow escapee] Andrey Grivko was at 21 seconds [off the race lead], he wouldn’t get any freedom.

"I might be getting old but I still have high expectations about myself," Voigt added.

"It’s because of self respect that I feel obliged to show my face to the people. I don’t want to be just a number in the bunch.

“On the roadside, every second or third spectator yelled my name. The crowd has enjoyed the show, apparently!"

Here's a report of the stage from GCN including race footage, interviews and Daniel Lloyd's take on the day.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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