Caleb Ewan again proved himself too fast for Peter Sagan and the Santos Tour Down Under field after crafting his way to a third stage victory at the 2017 event.
By
Cycling Central

20 Jan 2017 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 20 Jan 2017 - 7:40 PM

The Orica-Scott sprinter was momentarily boxed in but rode away from Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Danny van Poppel (Sky) after patiently waiting for a gap to open in the riders ahead.

All Sagan could do for the third time this week was watch as the diminutive powerhouse tucked into his trademark position and bolt to the line at the end of the 149.5km stage from Norwood to Campbelltown.

"All the wins I've had in the past few days, the finishes have been really different," Ewan said. "I knew this one was going to be tough but I guess it was tough for all the sprinters as well."

The general classification remained unchanged after the with Richie Porte (BMC) leading Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Chaves) as the race heads toward its decisive moment on Stage 5.

"I really couldn't have asked for a better start to the year," Ewan said. "My team again did an amazing job.

"They really backed me on the circuit that could have gone either way and I think you saw on TV that they were really committed to the chase and committed to winning today."

The stage was animated early with a strong break containing Australian Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia) Ondřej Cink (Bahrain Merida) and Jack Bauer (Quick Step Floors).

Cink was the first to fall away, then Meyer. Bauer persisted but was eventually caught with the finish to Campbelltown just over the horizon.

“Although I would have, obviously, liked to win, I’m satisfied with today’s result," Sagan said. The squad, again, did an excellent job, but I think I might have started my sprint a bit too late.

"However, the sensations are good, even if the heat takes its toll. Tomorrow, we have an important day where Jay will fight for his GC chances and I will give it a try again on Sunday.”

Saturday's penultimate stage finishes with a gruelling climb to the finish up Willunga Hill, where Chaves, Izagirre and the other leading climbers will hope to put pressure on Porte, who is seeking his first victory in the race.