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Dual Australian national champion Katrin Garfoot continuedORICA-SCOTT‘s run of success at the Emakumeen XXX Bira tour, taking an impressive solo victory on today’s stage three to move into the overall race lead ahead of yesterday’s stage winnerAmanda Spratt.

The stage was once again animated with breakaways and significant splits within the bunch due to rolling terrain and a tough second category climb just 30kilometres from the finish.

ORICA-SCOTT were well represented in a small front group that formed after the climb with Durango-Durango winner Annemiek van Vleuten, Spratt and Garfoot.

Similar to yesterday’s stage, the team raced aggressively in the final and it was Garfoot who took the race on, attacking away from the leading front group, using her time trialling abilities to hold on for a stage victory.

“I am glad to finally get a victory in Europe and it is great to be able to keep the jersey within the team,” explained Garfoot. “Once I got away I knew that there wasn’t such big numbers behind to chase, so I knew there was a chance to stay away.”

“If I did get caught then we still had two riders, Amanda and Annemiek in the group behind who could try for the victory.”

Van Vleuten and Spratt proved the team’s strength and depth to finish in third and fifth place respectively with Spratt in second place overall. This leaves the team with various options going into the final two stages.

“I think it is great we can have different people on the podium,” Garfoot continued. “This way we are unpredictable for the other teams and it helps with team cohesion.”

“We now have three different options for the general classification which is a really great position to be in.”

How it happened:

The race began with a flurry of attacks but with fresh legs in the early stages no riders where given any freedom. Eventually it was one rider, Olga Dobrynina, who created the first significant move of the day, with no real threat to the bunch she was able to ride out to a one-minute advantage.

As the race approached the only categorised climb of the day after 40kilometres, the time reduced and the bunch regrouped. However it wasn’t for long as Ashleigh Moolman-Paso (Cervelo-Bigla) led over the summit of the climb and hovered around 30seconds ahead.

Behind, the peloton fragmented leaving a small chase group of 22 riders which contained three ORICA-SCOTT riders. Once Moolman-Paso was also reeled in, various attacks came but it was Garfoot’s move that managed to stick.

The Australian champion paced her effort and crossed the line 34seconds ahead of second place and into the overall race lead pushing Spratt to second place, 12seconds a drift.

Emakumeen XXX Bira stage three results:
1. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-SCOTT) 2:01:04
2. Soraya Paladin (Ale-Cipollini) +0:34
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage three:
1. Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-SCOTT) 5:47:06
2. Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:12
3. Ane Santesteban (Ale-Cipollini)  +0:17