Paracombe (Australia), January 23rd – It was a tough day in the saddle at the Santos Tour Down Under today, with the first test for the General Classification contenders.
Stage 3 – from Unley to Paracombe (131km) – featured the first uphill finish of this edition of the race: riders had to face a 2.1km final climb at 7.4% average, including a steep ramp right at the beginning of the ascent. That was after an undulating course.
A day for the climbers, as our Hermann Pernsteiner and Santiago Buitrago, that after the abandon of Rafa Valls, were able to take their chances. Caught back the daily breakaway, with about 10km to go, the battle for front positions caused some crashes.
“I also was involved in a small crash and I had to chase back and this cost a lot of energy” the Austrian rider explained, after his 14th place atop Paracombe, 15” behind the winner Richie Porte, whose attack at the base of the final ascent was decisive.
“The team did a great job” Pernsteiner continued “Arashiro supported me especially on the last climb and I was in a very good position. The climb was really hard and with the headwind, I had no chance to come back to the second group. I’m not completely happy, but as the first effort of the season and I’m looking forward to Willunga”.
His neo-professional teammate Santiago Buitrago did an excellent job too. He finished in 22nd place, at +23” and he is still second in the youth ranking, but with the same time as the leader Pavel Sivakov.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @Team Bahrain McLaren)
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