A gripping stage 3 of the 2010 Santos Tour Down Under ended with a Footon Servetto-Fuji rider Manuel Cardoso grabbing a surprise win in the 132.5km race from Unley to Stirling
In temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, Cardoso emerged from a bunch sprint on the uphill climb into Stirling to finish ahead of the Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans who filled the minor placings.
On a day of many attacks, none of which got more than two minutes ahead of the peloton, the race entered its final moments with the peloton all together.
Somehow, Cardoso, the current Portuguese national road race champ who came 10th in Sundays Cancer Council Helpline Classic managed to edge in front and claim the biggest win of his career.
But given his lowly place on the General Classification (105th @ 8:47 before the start of the stage), Cardosos win will have no effect on the standings.
So Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) will wear the Santos Ochre leaders jersey going into tomorrows 4th stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, the longest of the race, a 149.5km ride from Norwood to Goolwa.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong finished near the front of the pack after a strong ride. “It was hot, definitely hot,” Armstrong said. “It takes a toll on everybody. You can see guys suffering and when you see the salt on everybody’s jersey, you know it’s a tough day.”
Cadel Evans spoke about Stage 3: “It was a bit of a strange old day, a bit harder than most expected, pretty windy and the heat of course. Coming into the last kilometer it was like riding in slow motion almost, everyone was so exhausted. It is not often I get into the last kilometer with Robbie McEwen, in fact never. It was a tough litttle race early in the season that changes everything around. My team are all a bit disappointed, I told them not to ride for me today, then I come third.”