McEwen scores third stage win
Queensland's Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) has picked up stage win number three in this year's Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) with perfectly times bike throw to the finish line of the 201.5km tenth stage from Ravenna to Rossano Veneto.
The 32 year old Davitamon Lotto rider and reigning Australian road champion pipped Italian star Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) and fellow Australian Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) who claimed third.
"Some people say Petacchi's unbeatable but that's why I'm here, to show that there are other winners in the bunch," said McEwen who credited his team mates for their great work to put him in the best position for the final sprint. "(Australians) Nick Gates and Henk Vogels as well as Christophe Brandt and Bjoern Leukmans rode for me on the dangerous finishing circuit and played a big part in my win.
"They helped me get on Alessandro's wheel in the last two kilometres and then I rode a perfect sprint."
McEwen who also claimed victory in Stages 2 and 6 has returned to top form after an illness plagued early season of fevers, bronchitis and sever sinusitis which forced him to take an unscheduled break from racing. He had only been back on the bike for three weeks when he lined up for the start of the Giro.
O'Grady's third placing and several top tens earlier in the race is a good sign for the 31 year old Athens gold medallist who is using the Giro to ride back into top form for the Tour de France after a three week mid-season break from racing.
McKenzie now second in Tour of Japan
Victorian David McKenzie, 30, is now sitting second overall in the Tour of Japan after va tough third stage in South Shinsu. McKenzie (Wismilak team) was unable to defend his overnight lead from strong challenges and relinquished the leader's jersey to stage three winner Colombia's Felix Rafael Cardenas Ravalo from Team Barloworld, But the Australian is only 14 seconds behind the Colombian's leading time.
Fellow Victorian and 2004 junior teams pursuit World Champion, Simon Clarke (AIS Mapei Aqua Australian team), 18, was the only Australian to stay with the front group at the end of the 155.3km stage crossing in seventh place after 12 laps of a circuit which featured a tough climb. His team mate Canberra's James Meadley, 21, had figured in an early breakaway group but they were reeled in 50km from home.
The Tour of Japan riders enjoyed a rest day today and tomorrow will contest a testing 11.4km individual time trial climbing 1200 metres up Mt Fuji.
For further information please contact:
Gennie Sheer, Sheer Rhetoric - Media Manager, Cycling Australia
Mobile: 0418 863 533
For rider profiles please visit the Cycling Australia website - www.cycling.org.au