Started in Norwood and all the way to the north-east of the capital city, peloton tackled 3 of Adelaide’s toughest ascents in Stage 3. Within these 3 categorized climbs, Corkscrew Road(2.4km/9%) is just 6km before the finish in Campbelltown. To join the competition of stage victory, these were some of the most difficult climbs to conquer.
Teams aiming on General Classification made it difficult and tried to blow up the peloton on Corkscrew Road with the maximum 15% gradient. The short but sharp uphill turned out to be crucial for today’s race. The section is just long enough for Simon Yates and Jay Vine to break away from the leading group.
Steady working his way back to the leading duo, Pello Bilbao joined the leaders and led the 3-man group on the downhill. Our Basque rider did what he is always good at. In the final kilometer, Vine was the one who kept the pace high while Pello managed to position himself well and strongly launch off the Australian before holding onto the race win.
After another victorious day in South Australia, Pello gained himself 14 places and he is now second on GC, 15 seconds behind Jay Vine(UAE Team Emirates).
“Yesterday we were a bit disappointed because the race did not go as we expected, losing some seconds in the finish line. Today this was the best for me, short and explosive kicks with the fast descent until the finish line. I had some difficulty joining Yates and Vine. I had to do my best and join them in the last 300 meters [of the climb].”
“I knew I was going to have a good possibility, as they were also looking for the overall, and I was more focusing on making my best sprint and trying to win today. I really enjoy working with Neil Stephens. He really looks into details. It is a pleasure to do his home race and also to give this victory to him. He is going to be very proud of the guys who just did a perfect job for me.”
Comment from Neil Stephens, our sports director: “A fantastic team victory today here in the Tour Down Under. We were really clear in our mind that Pello was a strong candidate for the win today. Obviously yesterday we weren’t with the front riders. We knew if we put our heads together, work strong as a team right from the start, we would have all the options to try to be with the first riders up the Corkscrew into the stage finish.
The boys did a fantastic job. It was really hard to try to beat Yates and Vine. Simon Yates bettered Pello few years ago in Tour de France. But today Pello was able to outsprint Simon Yates to the finish line. Once again it shows the hard work the whole Bahrain Victorious Team has done throughout the winter months. Once again we will try to push forward, try to make sure this season really start with a bang. We are not finished yet. There are a couple more hard stages to come. And we are also fighting for the podium of GC.”