Vink, Rush handle conditions to regain lead

Riders overcame the worst the weather could throw at them on stage three of the Pioneer from Alexandra to Bannockburn yesterday.

With the forecast rain arriving, temperatures dropped to near freezing on the tops of the ranges.

Organisers removed the climb over Cairnmuir Range and reduced the overall distance on the stage to a more manageable 60km.

It was Michael Vink and Tim Rush who best managed the conditions to win the stage and, in the process, grab back the leaders’ jerseys that have now swapped hands every day of the event.

“That was brutal; I suffered bad,’’ Rush said.

‘‘ Michael was next level and really gave me a push, a couple of pushes really. That was so cold and brutal.”

Third across the line for the second day running was the Team Winger team of Ryan Sissons and Sam Osborne.

The others to perhaps surprisingly make a move in the wet were Holly Harris and Michael Harris, adding a third name to the list of stage winners in the mixed category as the Australians powered their way to an impressive win and moved to second on general classification, ahead of two-time winners Mark Williams and Kate Fluker.

Kate McIlroy and Amy Hollamby continue to dominate the women’s race, claiming a fourth stage win to extend their lead on general classification to a seemingly insurmountable 1hr 42min.

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