Corkscrew Hill proved to be the defining moment in the race this afternoon with a break of 10 riders including defending champion Rohan Dennis and new team mate Richie Porte, 3 time stage winner of the Tour Down Under Simon Gerrans and general classification leader Jay McCarthy made up the competition for the sprint into Campbelltown.
But Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge snatched the win from Rohan Dennis (BMC) by only quarter of a wheel length to make it 4 times that Gerrans has crossed a stage in the Tour Down Under first.
Laurens De Vreese from Belgium riding for Team Astana made an early break within the first kilometre and held his lead between 2 and 3 minutes for 115km of the race.
De Vreese was only caught after the second iiNet sprint before the Gorge Road descent where rider Tyler Farrar from Team Dimension Data took a tumble and borrowed a spectator’s bike to finish the stage and prevent being dropped from the race. Under usual circumstances Farrar would have been disqualified but race officials have stated that in the spirit of the sport they will overlook the incident, saying that the circumstances were against Farrar in every way.
Climbing up one of the more spectacular climbs in the Tour the leading 10 riders battled each other with McCarthy breaking early only to be reeled in by Gerrans, then Porte and Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R La Mondiale made another break to try set the pace.
At 600 metres from the top of the Corkscrew Hill, Columbian Sergio Henao from Team Sky sprinted head-to-head against Cannondale Pro Cycling Team rider Michael Woods for the KOM points bringing both riders to the top of the overall KOM rankings after they went one-two across the line of the KOM.
The bunch then began the epic descent towards Campbelltown for the final sprint, where riders broke a new Tour Down Under speed record of 105km/h down Montacute Road.
The chase group caught the break with Richie Porte accelerating past them, then Steve Morabito (FDJ) and Rohan Dennis hit the break with blistering speed. Jay McCarthy was in the mix too.
The win came down to the throw of the bike by Gerrans narrowly beating Rohan Dennis.
Here are the Thomas Foods Stage 3 results:
1: Simon Gerrans (AUS) – OGE,
2: Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC,
3: Michael Woods (CAN) – CPT,
4:Jay McCarthy (AUS) – TNK,
5: Steve Morabito (SUI) – FDJ,
6: Rafael Valls Ferri (ESP) – LTS,
7: Sergio Henao (COL) – SKY,
8: Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – ALM,
9:Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC,
10: Ruben Fernandez Andujar (ESP) – MOV
Find all the latest General Classification standings at the Santos Tour Down Under live news feed.