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Winder takes stage win and leader’s jersey in Tour Down Under

American champion Winder wins uphill finish, takes seven-second lead on GC with one stage remaining.

US national champion Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) won stage 3 of Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, Saturday.

Winder edged out Liane Lippert (Sunweb) and Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) in the uphill sprint in Stirling. The victory places her in the leader’s jersey with one stage remaining in the race. She has a seven-second lead over Lippert and Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott).

“It’s special to win,” said Winder.

“I really love coming here, and especially this year – riding through the burn zone today, you could take a moment to see some of the devastation [from the recent wildfires in the region]. It was concerning coming here; I felt we were just coming for a bike race, and there was so much tragedy going on, but it was really encouraging to see so many people standing outside their houses and cheering on the race. I am happy if we can just bring a moment of joy to everyone here.”

The back half of the 109km stage was peppered with small punchy climbs and some dirt sections. Mitchelton-Scott kept the race together despite constant attacks as they looked to defend Spratt’s GC lead. Winder’s Trek-Segafredo team were also active through the race, keeping the US champion safe and pulling in attacks.

The bunch came into the final kilometers together as one, and Winder’s teammate Taylor Wiles guided her leader into position at the bottom of the short uphill kick to the line. Spratt was caught out of position, leaving Winder to take a clear victory in the charge to the line.

“My team-mate Tayler Wiles just helped me perfectly”, Winder said of her American teammate. “I was just talking to her the whole time. We’ve been teammates for years. Every time I feel so grateful to her.”

Overnight GC leader Spratt finished the stage in ninth place and moves down to third overall.

The final stage, Sunday, is a criterium in Adelaide.

“Tomorrow it’s a criterium-style race with nineteen seconds on the road of bonus sprints so we’ll see how that goes,” said Winder when talking about securing the lead overall. “I’ll have to put some sprinter legs on.”

GC after stage 3:

  1. Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo)
  2. Liane Lippert (Team Sunweb): +0:00:07
  3. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott): S.T.