Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2: Fast Finish in Stirling17. January 2018, Stirling (AUS) — Road Team
Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under produced a thrilling finale in Stirling which saw strong teamwork deliver Richie Porte across the line safely in the front group.
As was the case on stage 1, the breakaway was quick to go clear with four riders (Will Clark, EF Education First-Drapac, Scott Bowden, UniSA, Nicholas Dlamini, Dimension Data, and Jaime Castrillo, Movistar Team) establishing a seven-minute advantage over the bunch.
With the only King of the Mountain climb positioned after 12.8km of racing, the four-rider breakaway became three once the maximum points on offer had been taken and Dlamini dropped back.
Behind, the breakaway was willing to let the group remain clear and with hot weather taking its toll, the average pace over the first two hours was well below expected.
Porte and his BMC Racing Team teammates remained largely out of sight as they looked to conserve energy for the three laps through Stirling.
The breakaway soon became a solo effort when Castrillo was left by himself with 70km remaining, after the final intermediate sprint, and as the peloton approached the final 50km, the gap was down to four minutes.
Castrillo held on until the final lap but was soon absorbed into the reduced peloton as the sprinter and General Classification teams battled to position their leaders.
With 6km to go, Simon Gerrans started to make his way through the peloton with Porte and Rohan Dennis in his wheel and with 3km remaining, Danilo Wyss hit the front to bring Porte into a good position.
Ultimately, the finish was flat enough for Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton Scott) to claim the win and move into the leader’s jersey, while Porte and Dennis finished in the front group and limited any time loss.
With another sprint finish expected on stage 3 in Victor Harbour, the General Classification will likely heat up on stage 4’s new finish in Uraidla.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Simon Gerrans and Danilo Wyss really sacrificed themselves in the finish and did a fantastic job for me. There was a headwind but it was nice to see Caleb Ewan win. If a guy like Caleb Ewan can get to the finish, then it’s hard to beat him.”
“Other than the weather, the first part of the race was relatively easy. It’s hot so that takes its toll but it wasn’t the hardest day by any stretch of the imagination. It was a tricky little course but as they say, it’s another day closer to the weekend. It will be hot the next few days so we will see what happens with the weather protocol. Last year’s course was almost tailor made for me and it’s a different course this year, but if it comes down to Willunga Hill, then I’ll be happy with that.
“It was pretty controlled at the start with a small break going away again right from the beginning. Lotto-Soudal rode an easy tempo in the bunch to make sure the break didn’t go out too far. Then at about the halfway point, Bahrain Merida took over and took a big chunk of time out of the breakaway. So, the first part of the race was really controlled and then there were a couple of really quick laps on the circuit which, with the heat, took a fair bit of energy out of the bunch and the finish ended up being quite hard.”
“I just tried to keep Richie really well placed in the final, as did Danilo Wyss. We took a little bit of wind for him at the front of the bunch to make sure he was well-placed for the sprint. I could see everyone looking pretty fatigued in the bunch so there was a big chance that there would be some splits. The priority was to have Richie up there and finishing with the leaders so that’s what we did.”
Santos Tour Down Under
Stage 2: Unley > Stirling (148.5km)
Top 3: 1. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton Scott), 2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton Scott), 3. Jay McCarthy (Bora hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team top 3: 15. Rohan Dennis, 22. Richie Porte, 58. Simon Gerrans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.