Stage 2: Lobethal - Stirling
Cameron Meyer says...
This is my favourite stage. I love it how we go up that final climb - it's really fast you don't know if it's going to be a full sprint or, a couple of years ago you had Valverde win the stage. Going up the climb the last 5km is really exciting. You get an awesome crowd on there, it's got a little bit of a European feel to it just finishing on a slight uphill.
For a guy like me, I hope for this sort of stage that it can be quite fast so it is hard towards the end. Simon Gerrans was fourth in this stage last year so it shows that a guy who's a good climber with a little bit of a kick can really get up there.
This year we're doing another 148km so it's another stage that's up near the 150 and also we're going over the hill of Stirling four times instead of three. That will be really good. I'm hoping for a stage that's maybe quite quick the first and second time up the climb so by the time we hit the third and the fourth time there'll be attacks going and I could look for an opportunity to maybe attack in the last few times up the climb.
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.
Matt Goss says...
With this being the second and not the third stage as it was in 2011, people could be a little bit fresher this year. It's definitely one of the key stages. It's not one for the pure sprinters but for somebody who can pick up bonuses and can still keep up going up Willunga, this is going to be a key stage for these guys. There's a chance to pick up seconds on the finish line and again, Michael Matthews who was good here last year and won the stage could be a guy to watch.
The whole race this year has been designed to make it a close finish between the climbers and the sprinters. Adding one more lap here makes it even more so. Sanchez won't lose a lot of time here and he could be a guy that definitely doesn't get dropped up Willunga. It's difficult to know at this time of year. Even before you get to Stirling there's a lot of up and down. Usually the peloton splits the last time up the climb to Stirling. I think there could be a smaller peloton coming into the final lap this year.
I still don't think it's going to be a climber that wins the stage, but it will be a strong rider. This stage last year I punctured with 10kms to go and I just got back at the bottom of the climb and got up for third. It's good for someone who might be good in the overall, but might not win up Willunga. It's important to have a good team around you on this stage, it's a fast stage. It's not like Menglers hill, where you go so slow that the wind doesn't make a difference. With this climb a lot of it's at over 30km/h so if you've got a good team around you that can keep you in position – it really can make a difference.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under
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