Brit Ben Swift yesterday and Aussie Mike Matthews today, the Tour Down Under keeps show-casing young cyclists. Matthews of Team Rabobank won the uphill sprint finish to Stirling, similar to the sprint win that gave him the Under 23 World title in October.
“Definitely, a new generation coming through,” said team Sky’s Swift after stage.
20-year-old Matthews won the stage ahead of experienced sprinter André Greipel. The stage finished just 15 kilometres south of Adelaide with three climbs into Stirling, one of the races toughest stages with the Willunga stage.
“It is one of the most difficult races of this Tour, it great to win this one,” said Matthews.
This win “would be parallel with the World Championships, with the guys we are racing against, the best in the world in the elite level. Under 23s is Under 23s.”
Matthews’ Rabobank team-mates motivated him on the final laps of the stage. They and Matthews noted it was similar to the Geelong Worlds circuit. Matthews, though, said that the pressure is greater racing with the professionals.
“Coming into one of the biggest pro teams in the world sort of puts a little pressure on you to get some results. I planned to work and help the team, but I came off with a result in the end.”
Mark Cavendish worked early on for HTC-Highroad team-mate Matt Goss. Goss took back the leader’s orange jersey after losing yesterday to a crash that also involved Cavendish.
Cavendish finished behind the main group, but ready to race the final three days of the Tour Down Under for Goss.
“I am really happy. He punctured with 10K to go and then got back on. He is in really good form. He is an incredible gutsy rider,” Cavendish said.
“The guys did well to help him. I can’t really do anything, just to go and get one or two bidons!”
The race continues tomorrow to Strathalbyn, but the stage to Willunga on Saturday will likely decide the final overall classification.
Tour Down Under 2011, stage three: Unley to Stirling, 129km
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank in 3-11-47
2. André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
3. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
4. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Team Sky
5. Luke Roberts (Aus) Uni SA-Australia
6. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
7. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
9. Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
10. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
17. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack at same time
23. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at same time
53. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 13secs
84. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 3-11
130. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 12-29
Overall classification after stage three
1. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad in 9-56-25
2. André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2secs
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack at 4secs
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at same time
5. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at same time
6. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana at 14secs
7. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
8. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-ISD
9. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC
10. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky all at same time
Former Tour Down Under winner Stuart O’Grady
Robbie McEwen, race leader at stage start
Aliaksandr Kuchynski and Luis Pasamontes head an escape group
Jack Bobridge launches at attack
Stage one winner Matt Goss back in the lead
Tour Down Under 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Cavendish plans to fight on despite Down Under crash
Swift benefits from Sky’s strength and crashes for first win
Armstrong grumpy Down Under due to new doping allegations
Swift settles into Sky’s lead-out role
Cavendish holds fire at Tour Down Under
Cavendish-Greipel duel: Let the fun begin
Sky’s Thomas keeping covered Down Under
Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments
Armstrong in Adelaide: One more time
Tour Down Under 2011: Who will win?
Tour Down Under 2011: Start list
Farrar heads Garmin-Cervelo’s Down Under assault
Cavendish to face Greipel Down Under with in-form Goss
Cavendish to start 2011 Tour Down Under
Farrar to ride Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports
Stage two: Swift avoids crashes to take win
Stage one: Goss takes TdU opener
Cancer Council Classic: Goss wins Down Under opener after Sky crash