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Having avoided the carnage in another crash-marred finish, Ewan held off Farrar and von Hoff to take his second professional win in as many days; Meyer came through unscathed and defended his overall lead

Photo: Con Chronis










07.02.2015 @ 13:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE) continued the excellent start to his professional career when he took the second win in as many days on the third stage of the Herald Sun Tour. In another crash-marred finale, he came fast from behind to win the stage ahead of Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka) and Steele von Hoff (Australia) while Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) avoided the many crashes to defend his lead on the eve of the queen stage.


Going into the Herald Sun Tour, Caleb Ewan still hadn’t won a single professional race despite a number of near-misses and the young Australian was keen to finally get the ball rolling in his five-day home race. Yesterday he opened his account and today he proved his excellent form by making it two in a row in the Australian race.


For the second day in a row, the stage came down to the expected bunch sprint as the peloton seemed to be keen to have an easier day after yesterday’s very fast stage and with tomorrow’s queen stage looming in the horizon. Hence, they quickly allowed a six-rider break to get clear and with MTN-Qhubeka and Unitedhealthcare being the main work forces, they gradually brought them back until the final two riders, Adam Phelan (Drapac) and Cameron Bayly (search2retain) were caught with less than 1km to go.


All the sprinters were lined up, ready to fight it out for the final time in the race when another crash disrupted their preparations. The key contenders emerged unscathed but they had to take care of a late attack from William Clarke (Drapac) who tried to surprise the fast finishers.


It wasn’t to be for the prologue winner who was brought back and all was set for another Ewan showdown. This time, however, the Australian was not in a great position and he had to come from behind to steal another win, holding off world class sprinters like Tyler Farrar and Steele von Hoff.


Defending champion Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) was one of the many riders to hit the deck and he lost quite a bit of skin as he goes into the most important stage of the race. Another overall contender, KOM leader Robert Power (UniSA) was also involved in another tumble and he had to go to the hospital to get his elbow checked.


Cameron Meyer survived the carnage and so he defended his four-second lead over Joe Cooper (Avanti). He faces a big test tomorrow when the race comes to its conclusion with the queen stage. After a rather hilly start, the race ends with two laps of a tough circuit that includes the brutal 3km climb to Arthur’s Seat, meaning that the riders will tackle the ascent a total of three times, with the finish line coming at the summit.


One for the sprinters

After yesterday’s sprint stage, the scene was set for another day for the fast finishers as the riders headed over 148.6km from Mitchelton Wines to Nagambie. After a flat start, the riders tackled two categorized climbs at the midpoint before a flat second half led to the exact same finish that was used for yesterday’s stage.


With Brenton Jones (Drapac) and Jack Beckinsale (UniSA) being the non-starters, the stage got underway in the genteel grounds of Mitchelton Winery and it wasn’t long after the flag brought an end to the neutral zone that the attacks began.


A strong break

Six riders were able to move ahead of the peloton with relative ease, and just before the 10km mark,Adam Phelan (Drapac), Jake Kauffmann (Budget Forklifts), Cameron Bayly (, Jayden Copp, Ben Hill (CharterMason Giant), and Ryan Thomas (Data#3 Symantec) had opened up a gap of a minute. The peloton took it pretty easy and while the rain started to come down, the escapees extended their advantage to 3.05 at the 20km mark.


It reached a maximum of 3.33 when Kauffmann took the points for the first sprint in Seymour, followed by Phelan, Copp and Bayly and shortly after MTN-Qhubeka and UnitedHealthcare started to chase. For a long time, they kept it stable around 2.45 but there was lots of nervousness in the peloton.


Clarke goes down

At the bottom of the first climb, Clarke was one of several riders to hit the deck and he had to spend some time at the back to recover. Meanwhile, Bayly led Phelan, Kauffmand and Hill over the top and he was faster than Copp, Kauffman and Phelan on the second climb.


The chase had paid off over the climbs and as they headed down the descent and Sam Witmitz (Budget Forklifts) left the race, the gap was down to 1.21 with 41km to go. Hill led Copp and Phelan across the line at the final intermediate sprint after the escapees had upped the pace and at the 114km mark, they were again 2 minutes ahead.


Phelan makes his move

Another crash brought down Michael Torckler (Budget Forklifts), Brodie Talbot (Budget Forklifts), Tyler Spurrell (Data #3) and KOM leader Power but they all managed to rejoin the peloton which was now riding at full gas. As more teams had come to the fore to assist in the chase, including Orica-GreenEDGE and the Australian national team, the gap was down to 1.19 with 15km to go.


That’s when Phelan decided to attack and he only took Bayly with him. With 10km to go, however, they were only 45 seconds ahead and with 6km to go, it was all over.


Donohoe goes down

There was plenty of jostling for position on the long, straight run into Nagambie. Shortly after, another crash brought several riders down, including search2retain-health’s Alistair Donohoe whose helmet was in pieces. The para-cycling world champion didn’t make it to the finish line and was taken to hospital with a gash to his face.


Inside the final kilometre, Clarke tried to surprise the sprinters but in the end it came down to the expected bunch sprint and another win for Ewan.



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