Evans takes commanding lead in Tour

VETERAN Aussie Cadel Evans (pictured) stamped his authority on the Tour Down Under yesterday after producing a stunning ride to win stage three, and take the overall lead.

The 2011 Tour de France champion and 2009 world road champion won the 145km ride from Norwood to Campbelltown by 14 seconds after leaving his rivals in his wake after making a break on the final hill.

Evans (BMC) finished ahead of compatriot Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) and second stage winner Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), in 3hrs 34mins 06secs.

The win, and its 10-second time bonus, mean Evans, 36, who has never won the race, now has a 12-second advantage over previous leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) heading into today's 148.5km ride from Unley to Victor Harbor.

Gerrans is second on the overall standings, three seconds ahead of Ulissi, while Haas is 12 seconds further back.