Tom-Jelte Slagter has taken Blanco Pro Cycling’s maiden win in Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under, attacking from 350 metres out and staying ahead of a rapidly closing Matt Goss of Orica-GreenEdge and world champion Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing. Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas was fourth and retains the overall lead, with Slagter moving up to second, 5 seconds down.
Thomas’s lead had looked briefly under threat in what proved to be a tough conclusion to 139-kilometre stage from Unley, however, as RadioShack Leopard Trek’s Tiago Machado, who started the day tenth overall with a deficit of 14 seconds, went on the attack from a little less than 5 kilometres out.
That move came shortly after earlier escapees had been swept up, and it briefly looked as though the stage might even come down to a sprint finish until Machado made his move, the response of Sky and others as the road headed uphill causing riders to be shelled out the back.
Using the road well – five previous laps of the circuit in Stirling had given the Portuguese rider, third overall in last year’s race, plenty of opportunity to learn its nuances – the RadioShack man seemed to have a commanding lead with a little over 2 kilometres left.
Suddenly, however, the peloton was on him as the road continued to drag up towards the finish. Ahead of the flamme rouge, Cameron Worth of Cannondale made a short-lived bid for a home win, and next it was Blanco’s David Tanner who moved to the front, team mate Slagter in his wheel.
The 23-year-old Dutchman, sixth overall in the Tour of Oman last year and wearing the colourful jersey of best young rider today, kicked for the line, his rivals countering too late.
“"I couldn’t expect anything better for my first pro win,” he reflected afterwards, and it’s also the first victory for Blanco, the team that formerly raced as Rabobank, and which may not exist by this time next year unless a new backer is found.
"I’m glad to increase my lead on the Best Young Rider classification and now I’m coming really close to the leader’s jersey too," added Slagter.
"There has been a big fight today for one second that Geraint Thomas took [at the first intermediate sprint], there will be more to come.
"Every sprint will be contested. I’m in a good position on GC. It would have been cool to have the ochre jersey, but at least I’m now confident of being one of the three best riders in this race.".
For now, Thomas remains in the race lead and afterwards the Welshman said: "The boys from my team were tremendous to control the race all day, then it was down to me to get time bonus by finishing in the top three.
"I finished fourth but I still have the jersey. I hope to keep it till the end now.
"There should be a bunch sprint tomorrow, then it’ll come down to Willunga. TJ Slagter is obviously a danger for my position but it’s not just a duel, RadioShack still has three guys up there, Movistar has a few too."
Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 result
1 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte Blanco 3:36:46
2 GOSS, Matthew ORICA GreenEDGE All at same time
3 GILBERT, Philippe BMC
4 THOMAS, Geraint Sky Procycling
5 VISCONTI, Giovanni Movistar
6 MORENO BAZAN, Javier Movistar
7 PONZI, Simone Astana
8 PIETROPOLLI, Daniele Lampre-Merida
9 SANTAROMITA, Ivan BMC
10 IZAGIRRE, Gorka Euskaltel Euskadi
11 KELDERMAN, Wilco Blanco
12 ROJAS GIL, Jose Joaquin Movistar
13 VALLS FERRI, Rafael Vacansoleil-DCM
14 CHEREL, Mikael AG2R La Mondiale
15 BENNETT, George Radioshack Leopard
16 VEIKKANEN, Jussi FDJ
17 HUNTER, Robert Garmin Sharp
18 HERMANS, Ben Radioshack Leopard
19 HANSEN, Adam Lotto Belisol
20 BAUER, Jack Garmin Sharp
Overall Standings after Stage 3
1 THOMAS, Geraint Sky Procycling 9:56:17
2 SLAGTER, Tom Jelte Blanco 0:05
3 MORENO BAZAN, Javier Movistar 0:06
4 HERMANS, Ben Radioshack Leopard 0:08
5 PIETROPOLLI, Daniele Lampre-Merida 0:15
6 IZAGIRRE, Ion Euskaltel Euskadi st
7 IZAGIRRE, Gorka Euskaltel Euskadi st
8 BENNETT, George Radioshack Leopard st
9 BAUER, Jack Garmin Sharp st
10 KELDERMAN, Wilco Blanco st
Most aero bar of all time but it's not available in a 360 mm width version.
Well, I thought it was large hands and a medium head, but the helmet manufacturer disagreed
This needs repeating more often! Most would be driven safely and the ones driven dangerously would eventually take care of the problem for us.
All my bikes are covered on the house insurance. I've done quotes with a few of these before and they all work out hideously expensive!
I also live in Cheshire and amy dealings with Cheshire Police have been variable....
I'm a saddo that does a bit of this because I can't be bothered to take the juice to be competive racing. When I tried to get a local KOM, I found...
Not been following closely, but I think Shimano have arrived at the point of being able to deliver an automatic drive train with e-bike, Di2 and...
Or a 4S, if they are still making that. Absolutely endorse Kinesis bikes.
I ended up in hospital last year after a careless chap didn't check to see if the junction was clear and drove head first into me. Another driver...
I grew up near to a notorious junction which accounted for a fatality every five years or so. It was only when a Mum and her twins were killed that...