MELBOURNE, Australia — American Travis McCabe won a crash-marred third stage of the Herald Sun Tour on Saturday, out-sprinting a reduced field over the final kilometers.
McCabe was one of only a handful of riders to emerge from a big pileup with only 1.5 kilometers to go, beating Australians Mitch Docker and Leigh Howard.
“It was hairy. It got really crazy those last few Ks (kilometers), but I pretty much put all my faith and trust in the guys,” McCabe said.
“It feels great. You always get that high when you win and this was no different.”
Orica-Scott’s race leader Damien Howson of Australia and three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) were held up in the smash — the second in the last 3.5 kilometers- but emerged unscathed, setting the scene for a close four-lap sprint at Kinglake in the final stage on Sunday.
Howson continues to lead with Australian Jai Hindley in second place, 38 seconds behind. Froome is in sixth place, 1 minute, 12 seconds behind Howson.
GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.
The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.
Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.
Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.
Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.
He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.
Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.
The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.
Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.