The stage was set for a General Classification showdown on the short but steep category one Paracombe climb, which last featured in 2017, and delivered the first shake up of the overall classification with Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) taking the win and moving into the ochre jersey.
A three-rider breakaway formed early in the stage and went three minutes up the road, fighting to stay away until the final ten kilometers when Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) was caught.
Trek-Segafredo and Mitchelon-SCOTT controlled the chase and took charge on the run into the base of the climb, at which point Geschke’s CCC Team teammates delivered him to the front of the bunch to set him up for the finale.
Porte surged ahead inside the final kilometer on the steep gradient, opening up a 120-meter gap, but a headwind minimized his advantage and allowed Geschke’s group to limit their losses and cross the line just five seconds behind Porte.
Geschke’s strong performance sees him move into seventh place on the General Classification, 15 seconds behind Porte, ahead of the final three stages.
With the only King of the Mountains points on offer on the final climb, Rosskopf was assured to keep his lead in the classification and will line up on stage four with a nine point lead over Porte.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I’m really happy I could stay with the guys like Rohan Dennis and the other GC guys. I didn’t even try to follow Richie because he was stronger than all the rest of us and I was happy with just staying in the wheels. I am aiming for a top ten result and that was a good stage to move up into the top ten. If I can finish like that on Willunga on Sunday it would already be more than I expected. So, I am really satisfied with the stage and how the team worked.
“The bonus seconds are not in my favor because there are a lot of fast guys in the top ten like Impey so I am concentrating on not losing time rather than gaining time. The team worked really well today so I hope that in the next two days if there are crosswinds and any splits we will be on the ride side of them.”
“Today was a pretty quiet day for me. It was more about helping Simon Geschke for the finish. The only KOM points available today were 500 meters before the finish so it was a pretty sure thing that a GC rider would take them. Luckily, I had a good enough lead from yesterday. I would like to try and keep the jersey. There are a lot of points on offer on Willunga so that’s something to think about. It will depend on whether I can get in another breakaway or two in the next days and try and get some more points.”
Santos Tour Down Under
Stage 3: Unley > Paracombe
Top 3: 1. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), 2. Rob Power (Team Sunweb), 3. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT.
CCC Team top 3: 8. Simon Geschke, 44. Joey Rosskopf, 45. Łukasz Wiśniowski