Drapac Professional Cycling’s William Clarke delivered an instrumental attack in Stage 3 of Santos Tour Down Under, establishing a day long break to earn Most Competitive Rider. Rohan Dennis (BMC) took the stage victory with Cadel Evans (BMC) second and Tom Dumoulin (TGA) third.
Clarke launched at 3km and was joined by fellow Australian Calvin Watson (Trek Racing), Lasse Norman Hansen (Cannondale-Garmin) and Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) at 9km.
“I wanted to go pretty early today. I felt good and we got rolling nicely as a group. I am pleased with today and I gave what I had. It was good to open the legs up a bit and go up the road and I am happy about getting the sprints,” Clarke said.
The quartet then built out a lead on the peloton that hovered around 3 minutes for the next 100km.
“All in all it was a good day today. I am pleased we were in the break and Will rode strong all day,” Tom Southam, Sports Director, said. “Will gave today exactly what we asked him to do and rode aggressively.”
Clarke, in his 5th appearance at Santos Tour Down Under, won the first and second iiNET Sprint (67km and 93km) ahead of Hansen and Domont. Domont then dropped off just before the final sprint of the day. Clarke took the third sprint with Hansen and Watson behind him. Not long after the sprint line, Hansen fell back and Watson followed soon after. Clarke rode solo for the next 10km before being swallowed up by a charging peloton.
Clarke is no stranger to the breakaway attack having won the 2012 Stage 2 of Tour Down Under in Stirling on an all-day breakaway.
Drapac’s highest place GC rider, Travis Meyer started the day in 31st and was positioned with the peloton as they tackled the final climb of the day.
“I felt good leading into the bottom of the final climb. I was perfectly positioned behind Sky and Greenedge but unfortunately didnt have the legs to follow the big guns,” Meyer said. Meyer finished the day at +2’32”.
Drapac’s Tim Rowe suffered a puncture with 5km to go and unfortunately lost valuable time, dropping his hopes for a high placing finish for the day.
“It was unlucky for Tim to puncture when he did. You can’t stop it from happening but it’s disappointing when it does. He was riding well today and it is just unfortunate,” Southam added.
Jordan Kerby was today’s top finisher for the team at +1’59”.
Tomorrow’s 144km stage takes the peloton up Sellicks Hill before sprints are contested at Ashbourne and Macclesfield.
Results Snap Stage 3 Santos Tour Down Under
Classification Results 3 –
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
56. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 01’59“
69. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 02’32“
81. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 03’14“
87. Martin Kohler (SUI) Drapac Professional Cycling 03’31“
114. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07’37“
118. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 07’52“
131. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 11’35“
General Classification 3 –
1. DENNIS Rohan (AUS) BMC 10h17’06“
53. Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h19’48“
59. Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h20’30“
92. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h25’35“
106. Martin Kohler (Sui) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h30’37“
110. Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h32’24“
120. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h39’09“
130. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling 10h48’27“
Teams Classification 3
1. BMC RACING TEAM 30h52’12“ 00″
19. DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 31h00’07“ 07’55“