Tour Down Under: Stage 3 – Breaking Away!

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From the sound of things from this report over at VeloNews, it was another crazy, competitive, and tough day at the Tour Down Under in Australia. The race was marred by an early crash that put the defending champ, Andre Greipel, out of the race with a dislocated shoulder, and howling winds made it a challenging day for all the riders.

At one point in today’s stage, an early breakaway took off with some of the top riders in the world, including Lance Armstrong, Michael Rogers and Stuart O’Grady. It was a fast and furious break, but eventually the riders were reeled back in, and the day ended with a 47-man sprint to the finish line, that saw Graeme Brown of Australia take the stage win, and tying for the overall lead with countryman Allan Davis, who finished second. O’Grady, also Australian, took third. American George Hincapie took fourth today and is quietly having a very good race in the shadow of the hometown heroes.

As for Lance, he finished 32nd on the day, but had the exact same time as the leader, so overall he had a solid day back in the saddle. His twitter feed, which continues to be a great source of info on his thoughts and feelings, indicates that his legs feel great, but the race is harder than he, or just about anyone else for that matter, had suspected. The combination of heat, high winds, and world class riders, is making for an early season challenge.

Stage 4 is scheduled for tomorrow with another challenging day on the course. It’s set for a 143km (89 miles) and is accented with a couple of tough climbs and a fast sprint to the finish once again. Should be good!

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