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Santos Tour Down Under 2012

Date range:
January 17-22, 2012

January 18, Stage 2: Lobethal - Stirling 148km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Alex Hinds

Stage 2 sees the riders tackle one of the most underrated stages of this year's race. 148 kilometres from Lobethal to Stirling which includes four rounds up the Stirling climb, one of the key difficulties of the 2012 Tour Down Under.

 

Join us from 11 AM local time.

  1. 11:07:02 CST

    And we're underway for stage two of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under.

  2. 11:08:21 CST

    First news of the day was the retirements of FDJ-BigMat rider Guesdon, and Lotto Belisol's Roelandts.

  3. 11:10:41 CST

    That was hardly unexpected - both are in Royal Adelaide hospital. Cyclingnews wishes them a swift recovery!

  4. 11:11:35 CST

    We've also had the first aggression. A break of two riders has formed with a third bridging.

  5. 11:12:03 CST

    The riders are Will Clarke (UniSA) and Martin Kohler (BMC). Third rider yet to be confirmed.

  6. 138km remaining from 148km

    11:15:28 CST

    Kohler was in the break yesterday and picked up both sprints. He's sitting third on GC as a result. He's obviously feeling good. Slightly odd that he doesn't want to try and maintain his position in the bunch. It's going to be a hard run to Stirling.

  7. 11:19:37 CST

    Clarke was also active yesterday. He made a late attack but was pulled back in that now infamous finish in Clare.

  8. 11:21:26 CST

    Don't forget to stay tuned in today for our daily trivia question. You could win a brand new pair of Bont cycling shoes.

  9. 11:22:13 CST

    Yesterday's winner was none other than a New Zealander; Ryan Wills. Congratulations again to you Ryan!

  10. 11:23:36 CST

    BMC rider is in fact Manuel Quinziato. Well that makes a lot more sense. Kohler will no doubt be trying to hold his high GC position.

  11. 11:24:32 CST

    The advantage for the break of two is out to 3:35, could be a long day for these guys out front.

  12. 11:26:49 CST

    Once again had Jane Aubrey and Jean Francois Quenet at the stage start.

  13. 11:27:31 CST

    Let's go through what the riders think of the day ahead. (Which everyone should be pleased to know, is not quite as hot as yesterday)

  14. 131km remaining from 148km

    11:29:14 CST

    Break of two has just passed Birdwood and are closing on the first prime at Mount Torrens. Worth considering that third place for the sprint is still on offer, and thus a 1 second time bonus. I wonder how seriously they'll contest it.

  15. 11:31:34 CST

    Simon Gerrans a potential winner today said:

    "There could be some splits in the bunch. Hopefully if I'm going really well and can pick up some time bonuses out there. I'm feeling really good and recovered well after yesterday."

  16. 128km remaining from 148km

    11:33:09 CST

    Just coming up on this sprint, 3 kilometres to go.

  17. 11:36:16 CST

    Still confusion on who the BMC rider is - race radio has read out different numbers several times. We'll get confirmation at the sprint.

  18. 11:41:28 CST

    Young rider's classification leader Rohan Dennis said that he was surprised at just how good he was feeling today:

    "Honestly I expected to be sorer today that I am. Today I'll just be hiding in the bunch and try my best to recuperate. Really need to save energy for that last lap around Stirling."

  19. 11:44:49 CST

    Peloton about to come through the sprint.

  20. 11:45:43 CST

    Michael Matthews (Rabobank) picks up final bonus second. Small split in the bunch.

  21. 11:46:15 CST

    So a recap of the sprint:

    1 - Kohler (BMC)

    2 - Clarke (UniSA)

    3 - Matthews (Rabobank)

  22. 11:47:03 CST

    This is the day that Matthews won the stage last year. Maybe Rabobank's man for today?

  23. 11:51:41 CST

    Alejandro Valverde said:

    "I don’t exactly if I can perform as well as two years in Stirling and make the top 3 again. Yesterday, it was extremely hot, so it made it hard to tell if I’m in good shape or not. I’m racing the Santos Tour Down Under with no pressure. We’ll see how it goes."

     

  24. 120km remaining from 148km

    11:52:24 CST

    Gap has reduced a little, down to 5:40.

  25. 11:53:29 CST

    Renshaw has gone back to the team car for a chat. Looks comfortable.

  26. 11:54:26 CST

    He's confident that today will end in a bunch kick.

  27. 11:54:57 CST

    Didn't specify whether it was going to be him or Matthews though. I guess we'll find out!

  28. 11:58:29 CST

    Lots of talk that today there will be a selection though. Much has been made of the extra lap around Stirling. It definetely makes it harder but how tired are the guys after yesterday's torture fest?

  29. 117km remaining from 148km

    12:00:16 CST

    Gap out to 8:10 now, peloton really have their foot off the gas. They know it's going to be a long day out there.

  30. 12:04:59 CST

    We seem to be running on schedule today, no signs of the headwinds that riders dealt with yesterday.

  31. 12:05:12 CST

    Let's take a more in depth look at the course today.

  32. 12:07:51 CST

    If Willunga is the Queen stage, today can't be far off. It's a 148 kilometre slog from Lobethal to Stirling. As with yesterday just the two sprints and a single KOM which is coming up just before Lenswood.

  33. 12:08:28 CST

    The parcour all day is undulating - if you're not going up you're going down.

  34. 12:08:53 CST

    Combine that with the dead roads that riders got to know intimately yesterday, and you know it's going to be hard.

  35. 12:10:22 CST

    Riders come on the Stirling circuit after around 78 kilometres of riding. It's three and a half laps, and four times up the Stirling climb.

  36. 105km remaining from 148km

    12:13:08 CST

    Cameron Meyer previewed the stage again for us today:


    "If it's a really hot day, Stirling is always really hard. So I think this is going to be quite a crucial stage. If some of the teams that are coming to the Tour Down Under this year believe that they have a climber that can win, they could really put the pace down on this circuit and really put the sprinters under pressure. For a guy like me, this is a stage I can look to. In our GreenEdge team we've got Simon Gerrans who'll go well on this stage, Stuart O'Grady, even a guy like Matt Goss if he's in super form."

     

  37. 103km remaining from 148km

    12:15:42 CST

    KOM less than a kilometre away.

  38. 12:19:39 CST

    What's everyone's opinion of this break? WIll it stay away till late in the race or do you expect a second move to happen once we hit the Stirling circuit?

  39. 12:22:23 CST

    Clarke takes the day's only KOM sprint, Kohler second. Peloton 10 minutes back or 3 kilometres on the road.

  40. 12:25:31 CST

  41. 12:26:26 CST

    Last image thanks to Jane Aubrey who is down there on the at the prime. Waiting on the third placed rider for the KOM now.

  42. 12:28:00 CST

    KOM is category two which means we have four places to award.

  43. 12:29:00 CST

    For everyone's information Clarke will take the KOM jersey at the end of today no matter what. His lead is unassailable.

  44. 12:29:55 CST

    Peloton passing through the KOM at Lenswood.

  45. 12:32:22 CST

    Third - Tiago Machado,

    Fourth - De Gendt

  46. 12:33:56 CST

    So the round up once again over the climb.

    1. Clarke - 10 pts

    2. Kohler - 6

    3. Machado - 4

    4. De Gendt - 2

  47. 12:41:00 CST

    Gerrans crests the climb looking good.

  48. 12:42:43 CST

    Riders going back to the team cars on the descent off the climb, break is 3 kilometres from the intermediate sprint.

  49. 88km remaining from 148km

    12:43:55 CST

    If I was Kohler (and I'm not) I'd consider sitting up after he gets this sprint.

  50. 12:44:49 CST

    Kenny Van Hummel goes back to the team car. He's nursing injuries after yesterday's crash.

  51. 12:46:29 CST

    Just through Oakbank, and the sprint is not too far away now.

  52. 85.6km remaining from 148km

    12:47:51 CST

    No surprises at the sprint, Kohler ahead of Clarke once again.

  53. 12:50:07 CST

    So that's six seconds for Kohler. If he can hold on to the peloton at the end of the day he may well be sitting in ochre.

  54. 12:50:44 CST

    Advantage has diminished significantly. Down to 5:05. Things getting serious?

  55. 12:51:50 CST

    Van Hummel (Vacansoleil) reportedly really struggling. Could be yet another abandon.

  56. 12:52:33 CST

    Greipel and Matthews right up there at the second sprint. Who got it?

  57. 12:53:30 CST

    Apparently Kohler is now 30 seconds behind Clarke?

  58. 12:54:45 CST

    I like this move from Kohler. That's smart riding.

  59. 12:55:25 CST

    Confirmation on the sprint over race radio

    Matthews took the sprint for third.

  60. 12:55:58 CST

    Recap:

    1. Kohler (BMC)

    2. Clarke (UniSA)

    3. Matthews (Rabobank)

  61. 12:56:15 CST

    So a handy two seconds for Matthews. Is he thinking of overall?

  62. 12:59:05 CST

    Peloton taking a nature break. Chase will probably begin in earnest after this.

  63. 13:06:35 CST

    Before we get on to the Stirling circuit. Let's go with our daily trivia question!

  64. 13:08:00 CST

    Today's question: Until this year, one rider had ridden every single edition of the Tour Down Under. Who is it?

     

    Answer with the hashtag #cyclingnewstdu for a chance to win those shiny new Bont shoes.

  65. 13:13:22 CST

    Will Clarke (UniSA) entering the Stirling circuit.

  66. 68km remaining from 148km

    13:19:10 CST

    Peloton still not chasing with any vigour - solo rider Will Clarke more than 11 minutes ahead.. The initial gap went down because the break was slowing down more than anything.

  67. 13:19:36 CST

    Kohler has been absorbed FYI.

  68. 13:21:14 CST

    Lots of correct answers as always. I'll be assigning the shoes randomly once again at the end of the day.

  69. 13:23:17 CST

    Clarke just crested the start-finish climb for the first time. Just three more rounds and he'll be today's winner. Simple.

  70. 58km remaining from 148km

    13:25:12 CST

    Who's going to chase? At some point they'll have to make a decision.

  71. 13:27:20 CST

    Movistar rider attacks!

  72. 13:27:48 CST

    Peloton strung out in the chase. The first tactical play from Valverde's team today.

  73. 13:30:02 CST

    I interviewed Will Clarke after he took out the sprint competition at this year's national championships. You can see more of that here.

  74. 13:32:09 CST

    Clarke's gap has actually gone out despite the little attacks behind.

  75. 13:33:28 CST

    Javier Moreno (Movistar) slightly ahead of the bunch.

  76. 13:33:42 CST

    Chase is now winding up.

  77. 13:38:10 CST

    Interesting that Contador has confirmed he will br riding in San Luis. Will be holding a press conference on arrival.

     

  78. 13:38:56 CST

    Latest time gap is 11:40. Still a big gap.

  79. 13:39:31 CST

    Moreno is back in the peloton.

  80. 13:41:59 CST

    Movistar makes another attack. Now it's Madrazo.

  81. 13:42:58 CST

    I like what Movistar are doing. They obviously sense a little weakness in the peloton and are trying to capitalise.

  82. 58km remaining from 148km

    13:44:39 CST

    Madrazo making progress.

  83. 13:46:13 CST

    Sorry that was actually 50 kilometres to go.

  84. 13:48:09 CST

    Can Clarke hang on? This is a big gap to bring back!

  85. 13:49:56 CST

    The last UniSA rider to win the Tour Down Under was none other than Pat Jonker.

  86. 13:51:09 CST

    Back then Jonker was part of a break of three riders that finished the opening stage of the Tour a little over a minute ahead.

  87. 13:51:26 CST

    Madrazo has been caught.

  88. 44km remaining from 148km

    13:52:25 CST

    Here comes Clarke. Just over two laps to go of the circuit!

  89. 13:53:44 CST

    The peloton is breaking up a little at the back under pressure from the pace. Not a lot of progress though.

  90. 13:55:31 CST

    Two laps to go exactly for Clarke. Till 26 to go Clarke will be more or less descending. He then has to tackle the climb to Stirling and then on to the final lap of the circuit.

  91. 13:56:33 CST

    There is really not that much road for the peloton to catch Clarke. At least 10 minutes the gap still (Seperated by 8 kilometres)

  92. 13:59:02 CST

    Lots of teams still happy to be passengers in the chase. They can't wait forever.

  93. 14:00:35 CST

    Rabobank, RadioShack and SKY all sharing the work at the front. No sign of Lotto-Belisol though. Greipel hurting.

  94. 38km remaining from 148km

    14:01:40 CST

    Clarke screaming down the descent.

  95. 14:05:30 CST

    So RadioShack, Sky and Rabobank. I'd speculate as saying Matthews, Bennati and Boasson Hagen?

  96. 14:07:15 CST

    Gap for the bunch is 11:05. Yes he's been out there solo for a long time, but you have to remember that this is a reasonably short stage and several Australians including Clarke are carrying "European summer" form.

  97. 14:07:49 CST

    Clarke needs to remeber to drink and eat. Needs to have the energy for that final climb into Stirling.

  98. 14:10:06 CST

    Clarke starting to shed a little bit of time.

  99. 14:10:24 CST

    Gap to 10:35.

  100. 14:15:23 CST

    Clarke EXTENDS to 10:50.

  101. 14:17:03 CST

    Peloton have to be sweating.

  102. 14:18:49 CST

    A motorbike leading the peloton asked to move further ahead due to potential advantage to the chase.

  103. 30km remaining from 148km

    14:22:30 CST

    Puncture for Jens Voigt, getting a back wheel. Gap down to just over 9 minutes. Clarke's lost a minute.

  104. 14:24:54 CST

    Voigt rejoins main peloton.

  105. 23km remaining from 148km

    14:25:32 CST

    Clarke has 23 kilometres to go. His gap around 9 minutes.

  106. 14:26:55 CST

    Even if, and it's a big if Clarke can take this, it's a big ask for UniSA to control the race for the next four days ahead of them.

  107. 14:27:50 CST

    Clarke has one circuit to go. That's one gradual downhill and then the final climb.

  108. 14:29:16 CST

    GreenEdge at the front of the main peloton. How frustrating a situation for Australians. An Australian team bring back an Australian rider.

  109. 17km remaining from 148km

    14:32:12 CST

    Gap is 8 minutes 10 seconds. In my opinion he has the stage - now a question of whether he has the overall honours.

  110. 14:33:11 CST

    Riders getting dropped as the bunch approaches it's final lap.

  111. 14:37:30 CST

    Gap to the main field is 6:10, both Clarke and the peloton are on the gradual descent before the final Stirling climb. Peloton is single-file.

  112. 14:38:57 CST

    Peloton firmly split into two, almost three chase groups.

  113. 14:40:13 CST

    Great signs for Champion System no matter what here. That's Clarke's trade team.

  114. 14:41:55 CST

    Dave Saunders says to ABC radio that he doesn't believe Clarke will be caught.

  115. 10km remaining from 148km

    14:47:08 CST

    Final 10 kilometres, and that's official. Clarke still with 5 minutes. All uphill from here.

  116. 14:47:36 CST

    If the peloton are goign to catch him they'll need to be going ballistic on the climb.

  117. 14:48:58 CST

    10km to go for the peloton and it's 4:20 the gap.

  118. 14:49:43 CST

    God this must be agony for Clarke. I'm sure he's in no shortage of pain.

  119. 5km remaining from 148km

    14:52:18 CST

    So close yet so far. Can he do it?

  120. 14:54:10 CST

    Movistar with Valverde are now firmly in charge of the chae.

  121. 14:55:16 CST

    3:15 for Will Clarke. Inside the final 3 kilometres - pedalling squares.

  122. 3km remaining from 148km

    14:57:07 CST

    Euskatel-Euskadi and Movistar decimating the chase. Clarke will likely not take Ochre.

  123. 14:59:02 CST

    Under the flamme rouge for Clarke.

  124. 15:00:34 CST

    Here he comes. Amazing finish! A Tasmanian will take the stage, congratulations Will Clarke.

  125. 15:00:48 CST

    Gap is decreasing but not quick enough!

  126. 15:01:05 CST

    Clarke wins!

  127. 15:01:44 CST

    Clock is ticking. Where'es the main field.

  128. 15:02:39 CST

    Matthews wins the sprint, Gerrans third. Gap a little over a minute. Valverde fourth, Boasson Hagen fifth.

  129. 15:02:49 CST

    Great ride by UniSA.

  130. 15:08:40 CST

    Thanks for joining us today guys. Will put up the report asap.

  131. 15:08:53 CST

    Epic day.