Jeremiah Bishop leads the Trans-Sylvania Epic by nearly eight minutes after three stages.
The Cannondale rider won the opening stage one prologue by more than two minutes before conceding approximately one-and-a-half minutes to Kris Sneddon’s solo victory on stage two.
But Bishop used the 76km third stage to extend his advantage over Sneddon (Kona), second overall, who finished three five minutes, 50 seconds down in fifth on the day.
Team CF’s Chris Beck attacked early but was soon brought back in by the bunch before Team Jamis leader Jason Sager countered with an attack of his own.
After this first surge, GC leader Bishop and his Cannondale teammate Alex Grant, Sneddon, Justin Lindine (BikeReg.com/Joe’s Garage/Scott), Drew Edsall (Super Cool Bike Shop/Fastpaceracing) and Beck regrouped and formed the day’s break.
Grant tested his legs on the major climb and Sager followed, slowing settling into a groove that put a gap on both Grant and the rest of the field. According to Sager, his plan was to slowly snap off riders with small accelerations and it worked to perfection.
“I wanted to do little chips, little chips to isolate guys,” said Sager. “I tried to do it earlier in the day too, chip away and splinter riders.”
As Sager neared the crest of the climb he saw Bishop chasing on his own so he slowed and waited for him to catch on.
“That was a bold move by Jason to slow up for Bishop,” said Sager’s teammate Adam Snyder. “Anything could have happened, he could have countered with an attack of his own.”
But the pair worked through the last section of singletrack and the short gravel road to the finish, which saw Sager take the win and Bishop hold onto the overall lead going into stage four. Grant came in third five minutes back.