Mas climbs in Tour Down Under GC
With three days to go of the Australian World Tour race, the young Spaniard lies in 14th place.
Enric Mas, best placed Quick-Step Floors Cycling rider in the Tour Down Under general classification, finished in the pack stage 3 of the race, which took the riders from Glenelg to Victor Harbor, over 144 kilometers. The Spaniard, who showed glimpses of his potential one day earlier, on the hard stage to Paracombe, was guided in the finale by his teammates and avoided a crash which occurred inside the last three kilometers, taking down several riders. As a result, Mas gained three places in the overall standings, and is now 14th, 29 seconds behind ochre jersey wearer Richie Porte (BMC).
Several laps on the Victor Harbor circuit, which included two unclassified climbs, a few technical sections and potential crosswinds looked to be the main tests for the bunch at the start of the day, but in the end the wind was calm and didn't influence the racing, while the short hills couldn't split the pack, despite some teams pushing hard on the uphill roads. The stage came down to a bunch sprint, nailed by Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).
"Today was a sprinters' stage, but as we have no sprinters here, we had other plans at the start. We were hoping that there would be a little more wind during the day, but the wind wasn't strong enough and not in the right direction to get a split in the peloton, so it wasn't possible to create any surprises", said Rik Van Slycke of the team's strategy for Thursday's stage 3.
Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team's sport director continued: "It was important for Petr and Enric not to lose any seconds, because with those corners in the last kilometers, there was the possibility of gaps of two, three or four seconds forming, which in this race can be a lot of places in the general classification. We did really well today, especially considering we have many new members in the team, and we are happy to see Enric gained some place in the rankings. Now let's see what the next stage will bring."
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