Pello Bilbao 3rd on GC in the action-packed Final Stage at Tour Down Under

Given that it was the last chance to make a difference in the battle for GC, Team Bahrain Victorious had all our members come to the front of the peloton to control a 13-rider group and keep the gap under a minute.

The leading group was not reeled in until the penultimate climb onto Mount Lofty. Nikias Arndt stayed active and became our representative in the 9-rider counterattack, looking for another stage win following Phil Bauhaus and Pello Bilbao.

On the final climb, Hermann Pernsteiner safeguarded Pello through the last kilometres. In the end, our Basque leader finished just 6 seconds behind the leaders, taking 7th place of the day and securing our spot on the podium of Tour Down Under. He was third on General Classification thanks to more brilliant teamwork.

Tour Down Under 2023 – 23rd Edition – 5th stage Unley – Mount Lofty 112,5 km – 22/01/2023 – Pello Bilbao (ESP – Bahrain – Victorious) – photo Kei Tsuji/SprintCyclingAgency©2023

“In the end I just did the last climb, thinking of the podium and trying to pull in the back and secure for the third place because I could not do more really. I really enjoy this race. I think the organizer made super interesting parcours. It’s a nice race for time trialist, puncheurs, sprinters, climbers and everybody. It is difficult to ask more for a race in just 6 stages. It is a nice race, maybe I will come back for next year.”

From Neil Stephens, our sports director: “I am really proud of the work Team Bahrain Victorious have done in Tour Down Under. Right from the start of the race before the prologue the staff, the mechanics everyone back in Europe, we all worked really hard to get ready for this race. The first win with Phil Bauhaus was great. Then top it off with another win with Pello Bilbao.”

“Coming into the last stage, we always knew it is gonna be really hard to keep the second place or even try to win the stage, but we gave everything right from the start of the day to get Pello one more step higher in the podium. At the end of the day it was not to be, but we can all be happy with ourselves that we know we gave everything we can throughout the week. Thanks to a lot of effort from a lot of different people. We are leaving Australia really proud with the work we have done. We look forward to the next races on the world calendar.”

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