Following stage two of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday, Orica-GreenEdge team director Matt White boldly stated "No one is going to drop Simon Gerrans." Apparently Cadel Evans (BMC) did not get the memo.
Joined by archrival Richie Porte (Team Sky), the soon-to-be 37-year-old, on14 February, Evans kicked with nine kilometres to go up the notorious Corkscrew Hill on stage three toward Campbelltown, quickly leaving both Porte and a respondent Gerrans in his wake.
"No surprise [Evans] had to do it on that climb," said White. "Willunga is nowhere near as hard a climb as the Corkscrew. Today was always going to be a big test for all the GC guys and Cadel had great ride."
Gerrans, a two-time Tour Down Under champion, relinquished the jersey to Evans, who has never worn the ochre leader's jersey in his vaunted career. Entering stage with a 13 second lead over Evans and 21 seconds over Porte, his two biggest threats, now finds himself sitting in second place nine spots ahead of Porte, now 33 seconds in arrears.
"That was one of the toughest parts of the tour," said Gerrans, who outsprinted both Evans and Porte earlier this month to capture his second Australian national road race championship. "Corkscrew is a very difficult climb especially when it comes to such a critical part of the stage. Everybody was going 100 per cent."