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The expected rain for the day began coming down just as the heavy hitters left the start house. Xander White of CS Velo finished second after holding the hot seat for a while, finishing in 9:39.20. Tyler Stites was third on the day for Project Echelon, finishing with a time of 9:39.87. He moves into second overall on GC.
Boardman said the win on Saturday was a surprise, although he’d put an all-out effort in.
“Last year we were going for GC so I wanted to save as much energy as I could in the opening effort to keep the legs moving in between hard stages,” he said. “Today, I had talked to my coach and I told them I wanted to give it a rip and go for it. After the effort, it felt good. I didn’t know the time or any of the standings until a competitor came over and said good job. I asked him, ‘for what?’ He told me I had won, and that was the first I had heard of it.”
The 3-mile course began with a steep climb that included 6-8 percent gradients, before hitting the 2km to go mark where riders faced a quick descent before climbing to the finish. A category 1 climb in the KOM classification waited for them on the line.
George Jackson of NZ Pro Cycling, finished fourth to maintain his lead in the KOM jersey.
There were no sprint points available, leaving Wildlife Generation’s Noah Granigan in green. Josh Burnett finished 18 seconds down from Boardman, keeping his lead in the Best Young Rider classification.
The overall classification remains tight heading into the final day of racing on Sunday. The 8-corner crit has three time bonuses, with 25 seconds available for the finale. It will be an all-out battle. Jonny Clarke (Wildlife Generation) finished just inside the top 20 in the TT to retain a slim 12-second margin ahead of Stites, while his teammate Noah Granigan was 14th on the day, sliding into to third overall.
“It’s a little bit of shock that I held it to be honest,” Clarke said after the stage. “Stites is down 12 seconds, it’s not big, but it’s not one second. I think for me, it’s about my sprinters taking time bonuses off Stites. We’ll be good for tomorrow.”
Project Echelon has been active every stage and will be seeking revenge after Stephen Vogul lost the chance for victory, cramping out of the winning break on stage 1. L39ion will also be on the lookout to grab another stage win, after Tyler Williams had experienced a mechanical in the final 5km before the finish Friday taking him out of GC contention. WorldTour veteran, Sergio Henao, sits in fourth overall, 25-seconds down, racing for the Puerto Rican team, Emanuel Ibarry 2-bike.
“Echelon are riding well,” Clarke said. “We just got to make sure not to let a break go. I think we’ll be fine. I have to make sure Stites doesn’t get any time bonuses, but Noah can overtake him. Essentially, Noah can win the Tour.”
The pro men race for 30 laps in the crit on Sunday, starting at 4 p.m. CDT.
Stage 3 results here.