Dennis goes one better to take second on Santos Tour Down Under stage 321. January 2016, Adelaide (AUS) — Road Team
Defending champion Rohan Dennis jumped one place on the podium and General Classification after sprinting to second place on stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under, narrowly edged out by Simon Gerrans (ORICA GreenEDGE).
The other half of BMC Racing Team’s Australian duo, Richie Porte, finished ninth in the nail-biting stage from Glenelg to Campbelltown.
Dennis now sits third overall in the General Classification, with Porte in tenth place.
“It is a little bit disappointing. I thought I did a great sprint but Gerrans, you can’t take anything away from him. He’s a class act, he hasn’t won Liege, won Tour de France stages, beaten guys like Sagan, for nothing. I really have to take my hat of to him,” Dennis said.
“Last year I won at Paracombe and Richie didn’t and he pumped me on Willunga. Different day, different story. I think it’s going to be really close after Willunga. It’s going to go down to the wire and I think if we don’t get ten seconds up on Gerrans on Willunga before the last criterium, they’re going to go for the primes in the middle.”
For Porte, today’s climb was a good sign so early in the season.
“Rohan was fantastic today and was so close to Gerro, so it’s a good sign for our team. I felt comfortable. I didn’t come into the climb in the best position but Alessandro De Marchi moved me up into a good position. The signs are quite good, i’m happy with that. Obviously Sergio Henao is absolutely flying. I think he’s quite a danger man as well. But we cracked quite a few other guys that we thought would possibly be up there on GC.”
Stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under takes the peloton 138 kilometres from Norwood to Victor Harbor, before Saturday’s penultimate stage on Willunga Hill.
“Corkscrew is purely who is the better climber I think and with Willunga, tactics come into play. It’s a lower gradient so you can actually push a bigger gear and it helps bigger guys like myself,” Dennis admitted.
“On Willunga I think we are just going to have to throttle them, really give it to them,” Porte confirmed.
Caught up in the crashes
Dennis and Marcus Burghardt were caught up in separate crashes on today’s stage, both requiring bike changes.
BMC Racing Team Race Doctor, Dr. Scott Major gave an update on both riders.
“Rohan walked away unscathed from his crash, however Marcus is a little banged up. He has a muscle contusion on his left elbow, although it doesn’t seem to be broken, and has slight muscle strain in the neck. We are going to observe his elbow overnight and make a decision tomorrow morning regarding an X-ray,” Dr. Major said.
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See photos from the race.