Jan 19, 2017 – Emerging sprinter Caleb Ewan won his second stage at the season-opening Tour Down Under in Australia on Thursday.

AFP/Image: Yuzuru Sunada

The 22-year-old produced a powerful finish to surge home from the final turn and claim the 144-kilometer third stage from Glenelg to Victor Harbor in three hours, 24 minutes and 45 seconds. Dutchman Danny van Poppel looked set to claim victory as they rounded the final turn, with Ewan back in eighth, but the Australian prevailed in a hectic dash to the line.

World champion Peter Sagan weaved his way through traffic to cross a close second, with Italian Niccolo Bonifazio in third and van Poppel fourth. After what he described as a nervous and stressful leg, Tasmanian Richie Porte retained his overall lead for BMC Racing and remains the man to beat for the General Classification with three stages remaining.

The final push to the finish took a toll on the field with several riders, including second-placed overall Spaniard Gorka Izaguirre, crashing to the tarmac. Izaguirre didn’t lose any time as the fall occurred with just under three kilometers to ride and he remained 20 seconds behind Porte, with Colombia’s Esteban Chaves two seconds further back in third.

Ewan admitted he thought he was in trouble heading for the finish. “I was a bit far back on the last turn,” he said. “I was jumping around on wheels and luckily I got through in the end.”

He said he struggled for much of the stage, after Wednesday’s arduous second stage in the Adelaide Hills.

“Today was pretty tough backing up after yesterday. It took me probably three-quarters of the race to get into it again.”

Ewan paid tribute to team-mate Luke Durbridge for putting him in a position to win. A pack of four formed a breakaway early in the stage and proved hard to run down. Well-credentialed Belgian Thomas De Gendt was the first to move and was soon joined by Clement Chevrier, Jeremy Maison and Vegard Laengen.

With around 30 kilometers remaining the peloton started to reel the quartet in. Norway’s Laengen eventually dropped the other three and made a determined bid to hang on, only to be hauled in with around five kilometers to go. Stage four is 149.5 kilometers long from Adelaide’s Norwood suburb to Campbelltown.

Results Stage 3:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:24:45
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
7. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
9. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
10. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin

General Classification:
1. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 10:34:59
2. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:22
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:27
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:29
7. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
9. Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo