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A mechanical derailed GC chances for one of the favorites at the Santos Tour Down Under for the second day in a row.
On Thursday, Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) dropped his chain at the base of a key climb, and was gapped for good.
In Friday’s sizzler up the Corkscrew climb, it was the turn of overnight leader Rohan Dennis.
The Jumbo-Visma star said his “derailleur stopped working” near the Checkers climb with about 35km to go in Friday’s third stage.
A forced bike change saw Dennis chase back to the rear of the bunch heading up the short but steep Corkscrew climb.
“I’m just disappointed I couldn’t do anything for the team — they’ve busted their arse for me over the last couple of days,” Rohan said. “When we changed bikes, it was probably the worst possible moment before Checkers.”
Dennis was towed back to the bunch just ahead of the decisive Corkscrew climb, but he admitted he was running out of gas when his rivals turned on the turbos.
“I ended up losing a bit of energy with a few splits,” Rohan said at the line. “At the bottom of Corkscrew, I said, ‘look after yourselves, I will look after myself, don’t worry about me. I will grovel my way up – if my legs say yes, they say yes – if they say no, they say no.'”
Dennis: ‘It wouldn’t have mattered anyway’
Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) attacked to draw out Simon Yates and stage-winner Pello Bilbao, and the Australian moved into the overall lead with two stages to go.
Dennis lost more than a minute, and tumbled from first to 33rd, now at 1:25 back.
“I only really got back onto the peloton when it got steep and that’s when they started to go full-gas,” Rohan said. “It was all a bit much and I never really recovered … I just didn’t have anything (on Corkscrew).
“It wouldn’t have mattered if I was second wheel on the steepest part of Corkscrew, I wouldn’t have been at the front with the guys at the finish.”