Brad Evans of Mobius-BridgeLane regained the lead in the KO classification of the Herald Sun Tour after the journey through stage 3 of the race. Mitchelton-Scott took resounding control of the race with Esteban Chaves winning the stage ahead of Alexander Evans of Mobius-BridgeLane and Ruben Guerreiro of Trek-Segafredo with Chaves’ teammates Cameron Meyer and Damien Howson 4th and 5th.
The first of two big decisive stages in this year’s Herald Sun Tour. The Mitchelton Winery to Lake Mountain stage would take in 218km and a long climb to the finish. Eight riders threw themselves into the day after 25km of racing. Steele von Hoff of Bennelong SwissWellness, McDonald’s Downunder’s Kane Richards, Etienne van Empel of Roompot-Nederlandse, Edmund Bradbury of JLT Condor, Mathew Ross of the Australian National Team, Jonathan Noble of Brisbane Continental and then Kiwis Brad Evans of Mobius-BridgeLane and Alexander Ray of McDonalds Downunder all featured in the move.
Together the break managed to establish a lead of more than 6.30mins before falling back to around the 4 minute mark. For Brad Evans today represented an opportunity to regain KOM supremacy. He began the day equal on points with those 2nd and 3rd with 8 points in the classification. Over the course of the day though he made up an impressive 28 points to rise to 36 points in all.
Inevitably the catch from the peloton would be made, with much too much on offer for the climbers today. Mitchelton-Scott were clearly full of intent in the chase, with Trek-Segafredo also playing a lead role in bringing the race back together. With the break caught the heat began to shake off a number of riders including Shane Archbold of Aqua Blue Sport, Alex Ray and Brad Evans as the climbers came to the fore.
At the bottom of the final long climb to the finish, with 20km of racing still to come, Esteban Chaves launched an attack. The field were already well stretched out with a lot of riders already suffering pretty badly on the early slopes. But the Colombian saw an opportunity and proceeded to launch a fierce and audacious attack, taking on the remaining 20km of road solo.
The advantage for Chaves wasn’t a large one, but by the time he’d reached the finish he’d done enough to rise from 21st to 1st overall. The Colombian crossed the line 42 seconds clear of Alexander Evans with Ruben Guerreiro leading home a small group 1.09mins back. Mitchelton-Scott took all three top places on GC with Cameron Meyer now 2nd and Damien Howson now 3rd.
Ryan Christensen of Oliver’s Real Food was first of the Kiwis to cross the line in 17th place, 3.24mins back, with Michael Vink of Brisbane Continental Cycling Team 23rd another 12 seconds behind him.
Overall their results meant that Vink dropped from 15th to 20th overall, while Christensen climbed from 34th to 23rd.