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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Tour Down Under Stage Two reports

We posted the report from the race organizer with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Caleb Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team:

With a perfectly timed jump, Caleb Ewan won stage 2 in the Tour Down Under, a stage from Woodside to Stirling. In the traditional uphill sprint in Stirling, Ewan was faster than 2019 champion Daryl Impey and Nathan Haas. The victory was the right answer to his disappointing seventh place in stage 1.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan takes stage two. Sirotti photo

“I am so happy, especially after what happened yesterday, when we were absent in the final”, explained Caleb Ewan. “We had a really good plan. We spoke about it for about one hour after yesterday’s stage one. We checked what we could do better. I have to say that the boys did absolutely a perfect job today. They did everything I asked for. They brought me in perfect position. A win like today, you really can’t do it on your own. I said to them yesterday that if I wanted to win today’s stage, a real tough one, I would need all their help. They really helped me all day and put me in a good position on the climbs, so that I was out of the mess.”

It’s Caleb Ewan’s 8th stage win in Tour Down Under since 2016. Ewan takes the ochre-coloured leader's jersey thanks to better stage placings. Sam Bennett is second, Daryl Impey 3rd, one second behind.

Second-place Daryl Impey's Mitchelton-Scott team had this to say about the stage:

South African champion Daryl Impey has sprinted to second place on a bitter sweet day for Mitchelton-SCOTT on stage two of the Santos Tour Down Under.

In a repeat of the 2018 finish in Stirling, Impey finished behind former teammate Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) to pick up another six bonus seconds towards his general classification tally.

Unfortunately a crash in the final two kilometres took out a large portion of the peloton, including Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Simon Yates who took a heavy knock to his left knee.

With little argument from the peloton, two sets of two riders joined together to build the breakaway of the day on the opening lap around Woodside.


The day's break of four. Sirotti photo

The quartet hovered around 90seconds ahead of the bunch, who kept close watch all day, but as they entered into the final 45km and last two laps of the Stirling circuits they were within 40seconds.

Laurens De Vreese (Astana Pro Team) took things into his own hands and attacked his former breakaway companions before he too was sucked up by the motivated peloton.

Having saved all of their efforts for the final, Mitchelton-SCOTT hit the front in the final eight kilometres, with all seven riders in a line behind Jack Bauer.

Australian time trial champion Luke Dubridge was the next rider to hit the front whilst behind, the fight for position was on.

It was left to Lucas Hamilton and then Cameron Meyer to do the final lead out before Impey was dropped off for his final sprint with 300m to go.  Ewan came with speed from behind and Nathan Haas (Cofidis Solutions) finished third on the wheel of Impey.

Impey now has nine bonus seconds from the first two stages and sits third overall, one second behind leader Ewan and Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quickstep).

The fight for position saw a big clash of wheels with around two kilometres to go and it took half of the remaining peloton out of contention, including Yates.

Yates suffered a heavy knock to his left knee and will be assessed this evening before a decision on his continuation tomorrow.

Daryl Impey:
“Going into the final with those sprinters I thought it was going to be quite tricky to get bonus seconds today.

“We gambled not to take any sprint bonuses and put everything on the finish line today because it’s a sprint that suits me. We walk away with six seconds and to come second out of that group there, that’s a pleasing result, especially after all of the hard work the guys did at the end there.

“I have nine seconds now, it’s a nice gap over some of the climbers but there’s still a lot of guys in the bike race. There’s a lot more guys in form here this year, but I’d rather have nine seconds in my pocket than none.

“Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day, it’s a day you can lose more than nine seconds so it’s about going to the line and limiting the loss.”

Matt White – Sport Director:
“Today was a day we had to get bonuses on because this is a stage that Daryl has always performed well on, and if we’d come up short today it would have made it quite hard.  But six valuable seconds takes it to nine in total, and it was a very successful day for Daryl.

“We will have to see the lay of the land tonight with Simon. Our priority is his health and his knee. He may or may not be able to start tomorrow, but we’ll just have to adjust our plans according. Regardless, Daryl has to get up Paracombe as fast as he can tomorrow and nothing changes there.”

Here's the report from Bora-hansgrohe:

The second stage of the Tour Down Under was a 135.8km-long at-times hilly course from Woodside to Stirling in the Adelaide Hills. Shortly ahead of the finish, Jay McCarthy, who had won this stage four years ago, was involved in a crash, but was able to continue the race without losing time in the general classification. In the sprint on the slightly uphill finale, C. Ewan ended up prevailing ahead of D. Impey and N. Haas. 

From the finish line:
“The guys worked for me today, as I was feeling good and won this stage a few years ago. They did a solid job and brought me into a good position in the final few kilometres. However, unfortunately I was caught up in a large crash before the final kilometre, and so then we had no chance of a good result on the stage. It was a shame, because I had good legs, and we thought we had a good chance to take the win. However, because the crash occurred in the final 3km, I thankfully did not lose time in the general classification. A big thanks to my teammates for their hard work today.” – Jay McCarthy

“Today’s stage was relatively demanding, but Jay had good legs heading into it. We had planned to control the race for him and then prepare him for the sprint finale. That went quite well, and everyone in the team did a good job. We collected two seconds for Jay at the second intermediate sprint, and we were able to prepare him well for the finale. However, 1.5km ahead of the finish, he was involved in a large crash. Thankfully he escaped with only some minor abrasions, and not more than that. Now we’ll be concentrating on tomorrow’s stage, where we’ll be riding for Jay yet again. The third stage is a hard one, particularly the final 2km, which contain a difficult climb.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director 

CCC Team sent me this:

Joey Rosskopf will swap his orange CCC Team jersey for the blue and white polka dot King of the Mountains jersey on stage three of the Santos Tour Down Under after a second consecutive day in the breakaway saw the American secure the lead in the classification.

Joey Rosskopf

Joey Rosskopf off on his own in stage two. Sirotti photo

Having started the day on equal points with then-leader Jarrad Drizners (UniSA-Australia), Rosskopf, who was the most aggressive rider on stage one, made his intentions clear by attacking with Sam Jenner (UniSA-Australia) as soon as the flag dropped at the start of the 135.8-kilometer second stage.

Rosskopf out-climbed Jenner to claim maximum points on the first KOM of the day, the category two Quarry Road climb in Charleston, before the duo sat up to allow Laurens De Vreese (Astana Pro Team), and Omer Goldstein (Israel Start Up Nation) to bridge across.

In a repeat of stage one, Rosskopf attacked from the breakaway to secure the claim the final KOM of the day, extending his lead in the KOM classification to 25 points, 14 points in front of De Vreese.

With Rosskopf back in the breakaway, the leading quartet built a maximum advantage of three minutes before the peloton started to increase the chase to bring the gap down to just over a minute approaching the first passage of the finish line in Stirling.

The peloton kept the breakaway on a short leash on the three laps of the finish circuit and eventually brought De Vresse, who was the last man standing, back before the bell lap.

The stage was set for a battle of the sprinters and General Classification contenders looking to claim valuable bonus seconds but a crash in the final three kilometers took down a large group, including Rosskopf, and split the field.

Łukasz Wiśniowski tried his luck with an attack under the flamme rouge but it was Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) who sprinted to the win. Simon Geschke just missed out on the top ten, crossing the line in 11th place, which sees the German move up to the top twenty on the General Classification.

Fortunately, Rosskopf emerged from the crash unscathed and was able to finish the stage and take to the podium.

Joey Rosskopf:
“I got my jersey today. I earned it the hard way. I’m super satisfied as it was nice to get something out of the breakaway. Yesterday wasn’t super crucial as the bonus points on the climbs were only six points and today, each time over, was ten points, so it added up quickly. If I could win both times today then I knew I would have a chance of keeping the jersey for a while depending on how the next climbs play out, with the KOMS on Paracombe, Victor Harbor, and Willunga.”

“We were open for anyone to go for the jersey. We were all free to try. Losing Paddy Bevin before the race started was a big blow but it gives everyone a bit more of a free role. One of the big goals is still to support Simon Geschke for the overall, and Szymon Sajnok for some sprints. He is a young guy but he was up there today, looking food on the last lap. They’re both riding really well.”

“I was at the back of the crash and went down. Unfortunately, for other guys, they cushioned my fall. But I’m fine. Tomorrow, I’ll take a day off from the breakaway. We are motivated for the finish on Paracombe.”

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