Pello Bilbao took a slightly surprising stage victory on Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under. He outsprinted Simon Yates and Jay Vine at the finish with the latter now the race GC leader. The trio were able to animate the latter stages of the 116.8km stage from Norwood to Campbelltown. Yesterday’s race leader and stage winner Rohan Dennis was unable to keep the leader’s jersey after a mechanical at a key moment.
The Women’s Tour Down Under saw exciting racing on the Corkscrew climb where Amanda Spratt attacked only for Grace Brown to come over and take the stage and GC. For the men, it was Jay Vine who made the first attacks with 6.5km left on the stage. Simon Yates was able to close the gap and go with the UAE Emirates rider, Pello Bilbao joined the pair around 800 metres later on after bridging across.
Unless yesterday’s stage, Simon Yates worked with the group and they were clearly going to contest the stage victory. Vine once again attacked first as the trio went under the flamme rouge but it didn’t stick. Bilbao counter-attacked and was able to hold off Yates to cross the finish line first. There was an element of revenge after Bilbao had lost a similar sprint to Yates on Stage 12 of the 2019 Tour de France.
“We did speak about the scenario that if we got to the finish with Simon Yates, he’s a hard rival to beat, but Pello worked out the sprint pretty well. He mentioned to me this morning that Simon had beaten him in a stage win in the Tour de France, so he wasn’t looking forward to a one-on-one with him but today we got the upper hand.”Neil Stephens, Bahrain Victorious sports director
“I knew Bilbao was faster in the final. I tried to light him up but I just didn’t have the gas to get around him. I had no time gaps. Our radios didn’t quite reach over the top of the Corkscrew climb, so it was full gas to the finish. I’d seen quite a few times when the race has finished downhill into Campbelltown big groups can come back and there was a massive group behind us so it was push all the way to the line to make sure we can get a time buffer because anything can happen in bike racing.”Jay Vine