Thomson in charge in Portugal

2012-08-19 13:13

Johannesburg - South African Jay Thomson survived another aggressive assault on his lead to retain the yellow jersey after the third stage of the Tour of Portugal professional road cycling race on Saturday.

Thomson's American-based United Healthcare team managed to limit the damage caused by a 10-rider breakaway that moved clear after 30km on the undulating 176.1km haul from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Fafe.

Two South Africans, Darren Lill (Team Bonitas) and Dennis van Niekerk (MTN Qhubeka) were involved in the breakaway, which built up a lead of over six minutes at one point. But as they approached the final 20km the peloton began to close the gap as the front group started to tire and splinter.

Van Niekerk was one of the first to capitulate and was eventually caught by the peloton, but Lill managed to stay in contact with the breakaway to finish in fifth place, 11 seconds behind stage winner Cesar Fonte of Portugal.

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) won the bunch sprint for 10th place to round off a strong showing by the SA riders in the field.

Thomson, who held a 17-second lead over Fonte, also retained his lead in the King of the Mountains competition.