2023 Santos Tour Down Under Stage 3 Race Report

How the race finished

After a strong chase following the corkscrew climb, Grace Brown (FDJ Suez) won Stage 3 of the Tour Down Under in a two-up sprint to the line with Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo). The pair also claimed first and second on the General Classification, with Georgia Williams (​​EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) winning the sprint from the small chasing bunch to take third on the stage and third overall.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

After a fast start out of Adelaide, a clean attack from Georgia Danford (Team Coop-Hitec Products) was followed by Gina Ricardo (Team Bridgelane), the pair quickly establishing themselves as the break of the day. They swept through the first intermediate sprint, with Daria Pikulik (Human Powered Health), currently sitting second on the Sprint Classification, picking up the final point available from the peloton behind. 

Lucinda Stewart (ARA Skip Capital) attacked from peloton and bridged across to the pair out front, making a trio. While Trek-Segafredo sat back, happy with the situation out front, Team Jayco AlUla put their riders on the front, perhaps at first thinking about bringing the break back to enable their sprinters to pick up some more time bonuses, but then content to manage the gap. The trio rode steadily, holding a gap of around 2 and a half min. 

At 30km to go, as the road started to climb, the trio of Mia Griffin, Rachael Wales and Annemarie Lipp clipped off the front of the peloton, perhaps hoping to bridge to the trio up front. The peloton quickly brought them back, and the status quo was reestablished. Around 25km remaining the road kicked up again for an uncategorised climb, which saw the first attacker of the day Georgia Danford dropped from the leading pair. A few kilometres later, a tight corner out of the descent spelled disaster for Lucinda Steward, who slipped out. While she was quickly back on her bike, the strength of the break was suddenly shattered, and Gina Ricardo found herself alone out front.

Coming towards the famous corkscrew climb, Ricardo held a minute gap. In the peloton the pace heated up as teams lined up at the front, trying to keep their GC riders safe and in position. On a small climb just before the corkscrew, Trek-Segafredo turned up the pace again, and Ricardo was caught. FDJ-Suez took it up on the front into the small descent, taking control before the Corkscrew climb.

As they turned into the base of the climb, Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo) put the power down on the front, getting a slight benefit from a camera motorbike to pull clear with Eugenie Duval (FDJ-Suez) on her wheel. Maggie Coles-Lyster did the work to close the gap for Zaaf Cycling Team, and the pace remained high. Brodie Chapman came through with Amanda Spratt on her wheel, setting a hard pace up the main part of the climb. Grace Brown slotted in on Spratt’s wheel, and as they turned the pedals, looking at one another every now and then, the suspension rose. The rest of the group slotted into the wheels behind, everyone waiting for the attack they knew would be coming. 

The bunch whittled down to around 20 riders, and we soon saw leader and ochre jersey wearer Alexandra Manly (Team Jayco AlUla) slipping to the back. After what seemed like an eternity Brodie Chapman finally swung off the front, and Amanda Spratt launched. Grace Brown was the only rider to respond, but even she couldn’t follow the initial searing attack. Brown settled into her own strong rhythm in pursuit. Through the switchbacks and steepest sections of the climb, Spratt was out of the saddle, attacking the parcours and hoping to extend her gap on Brown. But Brown held a steady pace, keeping Spratt in her sights most of the way up the climb.

Amanda Spratt came across the top of the climb solo, confirming her lead in the Mountains Classification. She clicked down the gears to keep the speed up into the descent as Grace Brown followed about 20 seconds behind. The chasing bunch, now reduced to about 10 riders, was a further 20 seconds back. With around 7 km to go until the finish line, the two solo leaders flew down the steep and fast descent, diving in and out of the tree cover. 

The chase continued onto the wider roads as they came into Campbelltown, with Grace Brown showing her time trialling prowess to bring Spratt back into view. With her in her sights, the motivation to push the pedals hard only grew. Behind them, Zaaf Cycling Team and EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, both with multiple riders in the chasing bunch, worked hard to close the gap to the pair.

As Spratt approached the Flamme Rouge Brown was right on her tail. She settled in on Spratt’s wheel for a moment of respite before what would now be a two-up sprint finish. Spratt held her position on the front, hugging the barriers to force Brown to come around the outside. After a long chase, Brown left it late, launching her sprint around 200m before the line. Spratt jumped to try to get on her wheel, but Brown edged clear and rolled across the line with her arms in the air, celebrating the double victory: stage and General Classification.

The work from the teams behind had brought the gap down to 13 seconds, with Georgia Williams (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) winning the sprint for third. With that, she also confirmed her position of third on the General Classification. Ruby Roseman-Gannon came across the line in fourth, the top rider for Team Jayco-AlUla, who were unable to defend their GC positions on the final day. Also within the chase group, Henrietta Christie (Human Powered Health) took the young riders jersey, finishing the tour on the same time but with better stage placings than compatriot Ella Wyllie (New Zealand Team). Grace Brown took the Points Jersey, with Amanda Spratt finding some consolation in winning the Mountain Classification.

Stage Results

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Overall General Classification Results

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