Tour Down Under S3: Pello Bilbao wins, Jay Vine climbs into lead

The GC remains undecided with two stages left to go.

Photo: Getty Images

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CAMPBELLTOWN, Australia (VN) — Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) powered to victory Friday over the decisive Corkscrew climb at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) surged into the leader’s jersey with third, while Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) sprinted to second.

“The stage win was the main goal for the team,” Bilbao said. “It was a short climb and a fast descent, but I had some difficulties to reach Yates and Vine. I was a bit disappointed yesterday so today I was really focused on the stage win today.”

Vine jumped with about 1km to go on the Corkscrew climb, with Yates right on his wheel. Overnight leader Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) was gapped on the upper reaches of the short but steep climb, and ceded more than 1 minute.

“I knew Bilbao was fast there at the line, but I just couldn’t get around him,” Yates said. “The way Jay is climbing he is looking very strong. We will see what we can come up with on Sunday.”

Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) bridged across near the summit to make it a threesome with 5,5km to the line to carve out a gap of 14 seconds.

Early in the stage, two riders pulled clear on the opening climb in the 116.8km from Norwood to Campbelltown. The Corkscrew climb — 2.4km at 9 percent — with 5.5km to go delivered the day’s hammer blow.

The stage was not without mishaps. Gianni Moscon (Astana Qazaqstan) crashed out with a fractured collarbone.

Another crash took down Corbin Strong (Israel Premier Tech), who started the day fifth overall. Chris Froome helped to try to pace him back with less than 20km to go.

The 2023 Tour Down Under continues Saturday with the 133.2km fourth stage from Port Willunga to Willunga Township.

A short, uphill kicker should deliver a fierce, hotly-contested bunch sprint.

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