Sam Welsford continued his impressive run in the Tour Down Under by securing his second stage win in the third leg of the race on Thursday. His triumph in the 145-kilometre stage from Tea Tree Gully to Campbelltown was a testament to the solid teamwork of Bora Hansgrohe. The stage featured challenging climbs at Tea Tree Gully and the Whispering Wall, culminating in a speedy descent towards a straight finish in Campbelltown.
Welsford praised his team, Bora Hansgrohe, for their unwavering support and excellent lead-out, which was pivotal in his victory. He expressed his delight at the win, acknowledging the team’s commitment and describing the experience as ‘super crazy’ and ‘special’. Ryan Mullen initially led the charge, followed by Danny van Poppel, who meticulously positioned Welsford to cross the finish line first.
Italy’s Elia Viviani, representing Ineos Grenadiers, finished a close second, and Britain’s Daniel McLay of Arkea-B&B Hotels clinched the third spot.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Isaac del Toro Romero, who claimed the second stage, continued to maintain his lead in the overall classification. He leads by a slender two-second margin over New Zealand’s Corbin Strong, with France’s Axel Mariault moving up to third place. Notably, Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay faced a setback in the crowded finish, dropping to seventh overall, while Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan is now positioned tenth.
The stage’s early moments saw Australian Luke Burns making a decisive break, extending his lead as the King of the Mountain by gathering maximum points. He was joined by Tristan Saunders, and when Burns fell back, Saunders, along with Mariault and Stefan de Bon, led the race until they were reeled in with less than 40 kilometres remaining.
The race reached its peak around 300 meters above sea level, followed by a long descent towards Campbelltown. A crash involving Australian national champion Luke Plapp created a momentary disruption, but the teams quickly regrouped, setting the stage for the sprint finish.
Reflecting on the day’s race, Welsford emphasised the significance of his team’s role in his success. He acknowledged the tactical challenges of the finale, citing the importance of staying calm and holding position at the front. Welsford also highlighted the team’s patience and ability to maintain high speeds as key factors in his victory.
The Tour Down Under will continue with its fourth stage, promising more thrilling action as the cyclists head towards Port Elliot. The event is set to conclude on Sunday, with Welsford and his Bora Hansgrohe team looking to maintain their winning momentum.
2024 Tour Down Under Men Stage 3 result
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos