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British rider Stephen Williams wins the final stage in the leader’s jersey at Santos Tour Down Under

Archie Ryan (EF Education-EasyPost) was much closer to the front when the road kicked up in the finale at Santos Tour Down Under today, on a day when Stephen Williams (Israel Premier Tech) took the biggest victories of his career.

Ryan, the 22-year-old from Wicklow in his first race as a World Tour rider, didn’t have the legs yesterday when the race tackled Willunga Hill, including to finish, and slipped down the general classification.

However, on the ascent of Mount Lofty today, Ryan – the leader of his team this week – gave a better account of himself.

He finished in a 20-rider group some 10 seconds down on five men fighting it out for the stage win; Williams best from Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers), with stage 2 victor Isaac del Toro (UAE Team Emirates) in 3rd.

Bart Lemmen (Visma-Lease a Bike) was 4th on the same time as the winner, with Kiwi Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) placing 5th at three seconds. Then came another gap, of seven seconds, to the group Ireland’s Ryan was in, which was led home by Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal QuickStep).

Ryan was in 20th position after being at the front of the group on the final climb to the line inside 2km to go. It wasn’t until the final kilometre that the leaders managed to get clear, with del Toro doing much of the damage, though Williams had the measure of him.

Williams was 2nd on yesterday’s stage on Willunga, behind Oscar Onley (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL). Those two British riders went into today’s final outing equal on time at the top of the GC, but with Williams in the leader’s jersey.

When Williams claimed the stage victory today, he gained time on the road and a time bonus, meaning he ran out the overall winner by nine seconds from Narváez, with del Toro 3rd at 11 seconds. Onley, who finished just behind Ireland’s Ryan today, dropped to 4th at 20 seconds.

Ryan finished the race in 29th at 1:48 and now has his first race in his legs with another week ahead of him in Australia, where he will ride the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race next Sunday.

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