A crash in the final kilometre saw several riders fall, while the majority of the peloton were held up. Sagan escaped the fall, despite a late scare, and looked in contention for the win until Bevin accelerated clear in the final few hundred metres. The three-time world champion had no response and was beaten for second by Ewan on the slightly uphill finish to the line.
“I think the more dangerous sprint was yesterday, today was on a little bit of a climb and it was more about the legs,” Sagan said afterwards. “The crash didn't affect me because it was behind me. I think somebody touched my back wheel, I don't know who it was. After, Luis Leon [Sanchez] just attacked and I stayed behind him. A guy from CCC, I think it was Bevin, I think he won very easily. Yeah, good legs.”
Stage 3 presents another opportunity for Sagan. He has the ability to be able to climb and sprint, and the punishing stage with around 3,000m of climbing should see the pure sprinters lose contact before the finish.
Sagan admitted to Cyclingnews before the Tour Down Under began that he has not trained as intensively as in previous years because he hopes of gaining form later in the spring in order to hold his condition for a possible tilt at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. That said, he has been in contention throughout his time in Australia, even though he is clearly missing that extra few per cent in the sprint finishes. What’s clear from his language and demeanour is that he is not putting pressure on himself at the Tour Down Under. When you’re a three-time world champion, winning races in January isn’t such a necessity.
“We will see tomorrow, it's going to be a hard over these two days. We will see during the stage I think, it's not going to be decided now. We're going to see tomorrow and we will see on Saturday how it is going,” he said.
“I'm here just to train and if I can get something, some stages, it'll be good and if not, I'm not worried about anything.”