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Australian riders were at the forefront of the third stage of this year’s Tour de France. In his 18th consecutive Grand Tour, Adam Hansen of the Lotto Soudal racing team found himself in an early breakaway with five other riders including Cannondale Drapac rider, Nathan Brown of the USA, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo -Oscaro) Frederik Backaert (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie).
Hansen was the earlier driver of the breakaway bunch, and these six riders at one stage had stretched their lead to well out over 5 minutes. But the nature of the 212.5 km stage raced from Verviers to Longwy was always going to be a hard asked for any breakaway rider to stay clear and with less than 20km’s left to race the peloton had pulled back the escaped riders.
It was another experienced Aussie that would take up the charge on the front of the peloton as Orica-Scott’s ‘on road’ team leader, Mathew Hayman that was keeping up the tempo to position his team mates into the right position for the final run in to the finish.
As the riders entered the final climb to the line it was our Australian overall tour favourite, Richie Porte (Team BMC) who applied the power to climb towards the head of the group acting as the perfect lead out man for their key rider for the day and current Olympic Road champion, Greg Van Avermaet.
But with 300 metres to go, it was the rainbow colours of Peter Sagan who hit the front and despite pulling his foot out of his pedal less than 150 metres from the line, Sagan was able to hold on for the win over the fast finishing Australian Team Sunweb rider, Michael Matthews.
Matthews has been the highest placed Australian rider in the opening three stages and from last night’s effort, is showing he is very close to taking some more line honours during this year’s edition of the lap of France.
Other Stage three results –
- Richie Porte – Team BMC
- Simon Clarke – Cannondale Drapac @ .10
- George Bennett – LottoNI- Jumbo @ .20
- Jay McCarthy – Bora Hansgrohe @ 1.37
- Dion Smith – Wanty – Group Gobert @ 1.37
- Patrick Bevin – Cannondale Drapac @ 1.49
- Damian Howson – Orica Scott @ 1.49
- Jack Bauer – Quick-Step Flooring @ 2.05
- Mathew Hayman – Orica Scott @ 3.12
- Mark Renshaw – Dimension Data @ 5.28
- Adam Hansen – Lotto Soudal @ 11.46