The fight for the overall at the 2020 Tour Down Under was expected to kick off on stage three, as riders took on the first real climb of the race in Paracombe.
As the peloton rolled out from Unley near the centre of Adelaide, they faced a 131km course with countless uncategorised rises that were guaranteed to test the legs, before the first major climb to the finish.
Torrens Hill Road may only been just over a kilometre long, but the nine per cent average gradient was expected to cause some time gaps and could eventually decide the overall classification.
You can read the full race report from stage three here.
The GC riders will have been itching for their chance to race, after the sprinters dominated the opening two stages of the race.
Stage one went to Irish national champion Sam Bennett, taking victory on his first real opportunity with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, and going into the leader’s jersey in the process.
The second stage of the TDU 2020 went to Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who showed his versatility and took the win on an uphill finish that ruled out the rest of the sprinters.
Ewan also usurped the race lead in the process, but was just one second ahead of last year’s winner Daryl Impey, who looked poised to take over the lead as soon as the sprinters were eliminated.
Other major sprinters in the race include Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and a reinvigorated André Greipel racing in Israel Start-Up Nation colours.
There are also plenty of general classification contenders looking to hold onto their hopes and make it safely through the day.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Impey is in the mix again as he looks to take a third consecutive victory, but Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) will have other ideas as he looks to take his second overall win and dominate on Willunga Hill for another year.
Other contenders include Rohan Dennis, who is looking for a fresh start with Team Ineos.
The six-stage race is centred around Adelaide in the south of Australia with the race set to be decided on the now-famous Willunga Hill.
Richie Porte has won the Willinga Hill stage for six years running, but last year it was Impey who finished the stage in third on the same time as Porte and secured the overall victory by 13 seconds.
We will be bringing you race reports and highlights throughout the week of racing.