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by Shane Stokes
January 19, 2018
Viviani pounces as Ewan pauses on stage 3 of the Tour Down Under; Clarification of UCI’s extended motor testing to come in March; Zakarin: Now I’m sure I can fight with the strongest in the Grand Tours; Seven months after bad crash, Siutsou to return to racing; Gazelle reaches 15 million bike milestone; Video: ‘Old man’ hammers Astana riders on climb; Video: Four minute mull 2018 E7: Froome’s kidney malfunction defence; Video: Ewan’s crucial delay; Video: Quiz of Lotto Soudal newcomers Jens Keukeleire & Victor Campenaerts
VICTOR HARBOR, Australia (CT) – It’s been dubbed the best sprint field in Santos Tour Down Under history and so far that field has delivered. After four sprint finishes in the race’s 20th edition (including the People’s Choice Classic criterium), each of the four big-name sprinters has a win to their name. The most recent addition to the winners’ list is the Italian Elia Viviani (QuickStep Floors) who surged to victory on stage 3 today.
On a stage that was shortened by 26km due to temperatures beyond 40ºC, Viviani burst past overall race leader Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and was able to hold off Phil Bauhaus (Sunweb) to take his first victory in QuickStep Floors colours.
For Viviani and his new team, there was a sense of inevitability about the day’s result. “Already from the criterium we understand we can win one stage, and that is the goal we have this week,” Viviani said. “We need just two, three days to understand how we do the lead-out and to have the good feeling with the teammates.
“I think yesterday in Stirling was a good sign for me because you see me try in one finish [that’s] a little bit harder for me but I’m really determined and finally today we got this win.”
The team rode the closing kilometres of stage 3 during reconnaissance in an attempt to give themselves the best chance of victory. That preparation paid dividends in what was a reasonably technical finale. “It’s not an easy finish to prepare,” Viviani said. “We do the recon last week and we understand these two corners, also the roundabout 1.2km to go, is the [crucial] point where we need to be in the front.
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