|Colombian climber Esteban Chaves has taken a solo victory atop Lake Mountain on stage three of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour with a bold attack with 17km remaining.
After a furious pace was set at the bottom of the concluding 20km climb, Chaves escaped alone and was too strong, finishing 42seconds ahead of Alexander Evans (Mobius-BridgeLane) and one-minute 9seconds ahead of a small chase group.
Having covered all of the attacks in a small chase group behind, 2015 winner Cameron Meyer and reigning champion Damien Howson finished fourth and fifth on the stage to give Mitchelton-SCOTT the top three positions overall with one day of racing remaining.
A long, bold attack:
Chaves attacked with 17km still left to ride and immediately forced a gap on the quickly diminishing front group. Evans was the only rider to get a distance on the chase group and at one point was within touching distance before dropped off to finish 42seconds behind the stage leader.
Covering every move:
One, two, three for Mitchelton-SCOTT:
The Colombian has 32seconds on Meyer and 39seconds on Howson, with the team’s nearest competitor Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) at 45seconds.
Esteban Chaves – Stage winner and overall leader:
“We have a really strong team here and now finally we have a stage win and the jersey and this is really special for me.
“I made the move with 17kilometres to go and it was a really long way but the plan was I try and if they bring me back then we have the other guys.
“It is beautiful in this team that everybody has a chance, everybody has an opportunity. The young fellas here are really strong.
“We are now top three overall and we need to enjoy this as winning bike races is not easy. Tomorrow is a hard one and people will attack for sure so we need to keep everything under control.”
Damien Howson – Defending champion and third overall:
“We have such depth in the team, I think we had five riders in the final and other teams just didn’t have as many numbers still up there and they had to really commit to riding rather than attacking if they were ever going to bring him back.
“The team that rode really hard at the bottom caused a group of 10 to 15 guys left and I think everyone including myself was pretty pinned. Esteban was just breathing through his nose so once he opened up a gap he was pretty hard to follow.
“We were then just covering moves and hoping he could pull it off. It was a full team effort today and we can’t thank Alex Edmondsonand Michael Hepburn enough for controlling such a long stage.”
Tomorrow: Kinglake to reign supreme:
Jayco Herald Sun Tour – Stage 3 Result:
Jayco Herald Sun Tour – General Classification after stage 3: