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Behind him, Rob Power (Sunweb) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) led a large chase group, around 50 meters back. Yates struck out in pursuit of Porte and looked nailed-on for second place but faded at the last, allowing Power to take second place on the podium.
Defending champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) and time trial champion Rohan Dennis (Ineos) were also in Yates and Powers’ group, who all finished on the same time.
“It was a good race, a good battle,” said Porte. “I felt good in the final. I would liked to have taken a little more
time on Daryl [Impey] but you’ve got to take the victories when you can, and I’ll savor this one.”
Porte’s victory gives him a six-second GC lead on Impey, with Power, Yates, and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) all less than 10 seconds further back.
The 131km stage to the Paracombe summit all boiled down to the final 10 kilometers, after the break of three were all caught. Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafredo, and Team Ineos all came to the front to control the pace and look to position their leaders for the bottom of the final climb.
As the peloton came into the Paracombe climb, Trek-Segafredo brought Porte into a perfect position, allowing him to launch clear early and catch his rivals off-guard. He soon gained a 100-meter gap over a chase group headed by Yates, with Power, Impey, Dennis and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) all sitting behind him.
With a strong headwind into the climb, Porte lost a little ground as he rode to victory, with Yates riding strong to propel the group behind.
Coming into the final 100 meters, Yates struck out and looked to be riding to second place, however, faded with 50 meters to go, allowing Power to nip around him and take second. Having crashed heavily on stage 2, Yates looked to show no signs of struggle today, meaning Porte has to contend with a powerful GC challenge from the Brit and his Mitchelton-Scott teammate Impey in the second half of the race.
With two rolling/sprint stages to come Friday and Saturday, the GC fight will come down to the summit finish on Willunga hill that closes off the race on Stage 6, Sunday.
“It’s a huge advantage [to have more options for Mitchelton-Scott],” said Impey after the stage. “Simon [Yates] did a great job today, so it’s nice that he bounced back from that crash. For me personally, I did a good race to finish in that select group. We’re in a great situation now.”
Porte, the so-called ‘King of Willunga Hill’, has won on the climb six times in the past six years.
“The race is not over yet,” said Porte. “There are time bonuses on the road, and I expect Mitchelton-Scott will go for them. But I’m happy to get the victory today for the team.”
Stage 3 results:
- Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo): 3:14:09
- Rob Power (Sunweb): +0:00:05
- Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott): S.T.
GC after stage 3:
- Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo): 10:10:24
- Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott): +0:00:06
- Rob Power (Sunweb): +0:00:09