Vader shows himself in hill stage Tour Down Under; Dennis relinquishes lead

Vader shows himself in hill stage Tour Down Under; Dennis relinquishes lead

Rohan Dennis has lost his leading position in the Tour Down Under. During the third stage, the Australian struggled to maintain his lead on the flanks of Corkscrew Road. A few moments later, Milan Vader finished in the top ten for the first time in a WorldTour race.

The 116-kilometre stage had three obstacles along the way. The peloton began the stage with a climb to the top of Norton Summit before continuing to Corkscrew Road, the highlight of the day, via Checker Hill. Two riders tried to escape, but their attempt failed.

Just before Corkscrew Road, the peloton accelerated. After Dennis was forced to switch bikes, a sizable group attacked the Australian's classification position soon after the foot of the day's last hill. Dennis tried to keep up on the climb with gradients of up to 20 percent, but the 32-year-old rider was not strong enough.

A few minutes later, Vader rode to a respectable eighth place in a group behind day winner Pello Bilbao.

When Vader learned he could ride for his own chance, he indicated he had to shift gears for a moment. "That was a bit tricky as the situation in the race was confusing. Rohan was in my wheel, and there was a small gap to the riders in front. I attempted to close it, but Rohan said he was no longer strong enough. I then needed to check and discuss with the team management whether it would be wise to ride for my own chance. By riding at my own pace, I was able to pass a lot of riders. Once I joined the sizeable group, I decided to sprint for places of honour at the finish”, the rider describes his first top-ten ranking in the WorldTour.

"I want to enjoy every moment"

Milan Vader

"It’s too bad that we had to give up the leader's jersey”, Vader added. "On a personal level, I'm glad everything went well. I want to enjoy every moment, and I am improving every day by picking up new skills. That is pleasant to experience, and it gives confidence for the rest of the season."

"Sadly, we were unable to follow up on yesterday's fantastic day”, sports director Addy Engels said. "Rohan had to change bikes at a bad moment. He still came back strong and fast, but it wasn’t enough. He was held up by a crash as well, which left him in a bad position at the foot of Corkscrew Road. He also lacked the proper form today. Rohan communicated this through his earpiece and indicated that Milan could ride for his own chance. He picked that up quickly. For him, eighth place is a great result. It demonstrates Milan's qualities."

Milan Vader and Addy Engels

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