Today’s Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under in Stirling was won in stunning fashion by Lampre-Merida rider Diego Ulissi.
The Italian Lampre-Merida rider sprinted to victory over the uphill finish ahead of Australian champion Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cadel Evans (BMC).
The second stage concluded with a fast uphill finish with a strong contingent of riders fighting for win. All eyes were on Gerrans and Evans fighting for placement up the left, leaving Ulissi open road up the right side of the finishing straight to claim the victory by meters.
Gerrans claimed time bonuses to further extend his lead, while Ulissi moved into second overall.
In a post race interview, Gerrans was quoted as saying “Hats off to Ulissi. He timed his sprint perfectly and got the jump on us there with 100 metres to go and we couldn’t catch him again.”
[quote_center]”I’m definitely satisified getting the time bonuses. It would have been nice to grab another stage win today, but you can’t win them all.”[/quote_center]
Earlier in the 150km stage from Prospect to Stirling, Will Clarke (Drapac) found himself in the break for the second consecutive stage, along side Boy van Poppel (Trek) and 21-year-old Campbell Flakemore (UniSA-Australia).
The trio, which slipped away from the field four kilometres after the start in Prospect, was allowed a 2min 40sec advantage by the peloton.
The front of the peloton was controlled for much of the race by Gerrans’s Orica-GreenEDGE team with support from Lotto-Belisol and Team Sky.
Clarke and van Poppel were eventually caught 10 kilometres later.
With the break caught the pressure was immediately applied at the front of the peloton.
Darren Lapthorne flew the flag for Drapac briefly at the front of the race but his effort was soon shut down by a Tinkoff-Saxo-led peloton.
Garmin set a cracking pace on the front with four uphill kilometres to go while riders dropped off the back like flies.
Sky’s Ian Stannard and Richie Porte attacked, hitting the front with one kilometre to go. No rider was able to launch a solo move before the full sprint erupted.
Gerrans holds a seven-second lead over Ulissi with Greipel a further four seconds back.
Thursday’s third stage is 145km from Norwood to Campbelltown.
Video highlights to come.
Stage 2: Prospect to Stirling, 150km
1 Ulissi Diego (ITA) Lampre-Merida 3hr 52min 14sec
2 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
3 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC
4 Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) Astana
5 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin
6 Richie Porte (AUS) Sky
7 Ben Hermans (BEL) BMC
8 Fabio Felline (ITA) Trek Factory Racing
9 Javier Moreno (ESP) Movistar
10 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
1 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 7hr 12min 31sec
2 Ulissi Diego (ITA) Lampre Merida 0:00:07
3 Andre Greipel (GER) Lotto Belisol 0:00:11
4 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing 0:00:13
5 Steele von Hoff (AUS) Garmin Sharp
6 Simon Geschke (GER) Giant-Shimano
7 Francesco Gavazzi (ITA) Astana 0:00:17
8 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin
9 Maxime Bouet (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale
19 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Sky