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Santos Tour Down Under 2015: Stage 2

Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down under.

Unley is host for the start of the 150km second stage, which will see cyclists climb to Windy Point before heading through Upper Sturt and on to the finish line in Stirling. The stage has an early KOM at 29.8km and two sprints that come at 50km and 100km into the day.

The route will take the peloton from King William Road in Unley and through the Adelaide Hills. Communities along the course include Crafers, Uraidla, Lenswood, Balhannah, Hahndorf, Littlehampton, Mylor and Aldgate.

Orica-GreenEdge's sports director Matt White gave us his thoughts on the stage before the race.

“A pretty traditional stage with slight variations from year-to-year which has been used many times in Tour Down Under. It's a special stage in that it can be won by a strong sprinter or can also be won by a general classification contender.”

As for picking a winner, White left it open.

“There will be someone from Movistar, they will always come out with their guns blazing early-season with the likes of a José Joaquín Rojas. Someone like Ben Swift also has a pretty good chance on a uphill sprint.”

You can read the complete race preview with White's comment on every stage here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/santos-tour-down-under-2015/preview

The riders are off for the start of stage 2.

Local boy Jack Bobridge won yesterday's opening stage with a daring attack in the final 200 meters from a breakaway that just managed to hold off the sprinters. You can read more here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/santos-tour-down-under-2015/stage-1/results

Stage 1 Results
 1 BOBRIDGE, Jack (UniSA-Australia) 2:59:44
  2 WESTRA, Lieuwe (ASTANA)
 3 DURBRIDGE, Luke (ORICA GreenEDGE)
 4 BELKOV, Maxim (KATUSHA)
 5 BONIFAZIO, Niccolo (LAMPRE - MERIDA)
 6 MEERSMAN, Gianni (ETIXX - QUICK STEP)
 7 LOBATO DEL VALLE, Juan Jose (MOVISTAR)
 8 HAUSSLER, Heinrich (IAM CYCLING)
 9 VON HOFF, Steele (UniSA-Australia)
10 IMPEY, Daryl (ORICA GreenEDGE)

General Classification after Stage 1
1 BOBRIDGE, Jack (UniSA-Australia) 2:59:31
2 WESTRA, Lieuwe (ASTANA) + 4
 3 DURBRIDGE, Luke (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 6
4 BELKOV, Maxim (KATUSHA) + 10
5 BONIFAZIO, Niccolo (LAMPRE - MERIDA) + 13
6 MEERSMAN, Gianni (ETIXX - QUICK STEP)
7 LOBATO DEL VALLE, Juan Jose (MOVISTAR)
8 HAUSSLER, Heinrich (IAM CYCLING)
9 VON HOFF, Steele (UniSA-Australia)
10 IMPEY, Daryl (ORICA GreenEDGE)

Today's route has been used multiple time for the Tour Down Under, and several past winners in Stirling are racing today.

FDJ.fr rider Jérémy Roy has released footage from his on-board camera of the opening stage of the Tour Down Under. You can see it here.

Despite narrowly missing the won yesterday, Astana's Lieuwe Westra's told Cyclingnews he was happy with his start this week. Read bout it here.

While we've been chatting, the Cyclingnews blimp has reported that attacks are flying as the peloton climbs up Windy Point.

The front of the race is all together now, but the early climbing is taking its toll at the back as several riders are struggling to keep up.

Orica's Cameron Meyer is taking a dig now and has a small gap.

Yesterday's four-rider breakaway established in the opening kilometres of the race. How long will it take today?

Lots of action at the front as more riders try to establish a move. Robert Power briefly joined Thomas De Gendt at the front with small gap, but at 8km the peloton is back together.

The constant attacking is driving a fast pace at the front as riders near the back pay the price.

Jack Bobridge was understandably thrilled with his first-ever Tour Down Under stage win yesterday. You can read what he had to say here.

Today's quick start has split the field into three groups. The guys in the back will be hoping a break that everyone is satisfied with forms soon.

In the latest tech news: Riders from the French Ag2r-La Mondiale team are testing further prototypes of SRAM's new wireless electronic transmission system at the Tour Down Under, suggesting that the revolutionary groupset could be close to going into full production. Read about it here.

An attack from five riders is driving the pace now, with Team Sky chasing. Up front are Peter Stetina (BMC), Cameron Meyer (Orica-Greenedge), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin) and Oliver Zaugg (TCS).

The move was too dangerous, apparently, and Sky have pulled everything back together.

BMC's Cadel Evans has shown himself now, attacking and bringing de Gendt along with him. His young teammate, Campbell Flakemore, is trying to bridge.

12km into the stage, and the three riders off the front have about a 150m gap. Is Cadel just testing out his legs here?

Cadel has had his fun and is back in the field, but three riders now have 45 seconds: Cameron Meyer, Thomas De Gendt, and Campbell Flakemore.

BMC presented Cadel Evans with a specially painted team bike before the race started yesterday. You can watch some video about it here.

The peloton appears to like the make up of this latest escape attempt. The gap has quickly grown to 1:35. Meanwhile, seven riders have called for their team cars.

Those riders again are Campbell Flakemore (BMC), Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Cameron Meyer (Orica).

With 22km done, the gap has jumped to 2:45.

The Subaru KOM at Basket Range, which is 29.8k into the race, is less than 5km away now.

De Gendt was especially determined to make the breakaway today, and his efforts eventually paid off. With the gap at 3:15, the field is letting the leash go a bit longer than they did yesterday.

If you missed the action from yesterday's dramatic stage, you can watch video highlights here.

Just 2km from the KOM now, and the gap is 3:10.

Newly crowned Australian national champion Heinrich Haussler is a favorite for today's stage. You can read all about his Scott Foil race machine here.

The gap to the peloton has climbed to 3:35 as the three breakaway riders close in on the day's only KOM.

Resuls of the KOM are in, and de Gendt take the maximum points, followd by Flakemore, Meyer and Miles Scotson (UNiSA)

Resuls of the KOM are in, and de Gendt takes the maximum points, followed by Flakemore, Meyer and Miles Scotson (UNiSA)

Resuls of the KOM are in, and de Gendt takes the maximum points, followed by Flakemore, Meyer and Miles Scotson (UNiSA)

Can Meyer, who won the overall in 2011, be thinking about the GC today, or is he playing the team game for his Orica teammates?

Can Meyer, who won the overall in 2011, be thinking about the GC today, or is he playing the team game for his Orica teammates?

Can Meyer, who won the overall in 2011, be thinking about the GC today, or is he playing the team game for his Orica teammates?

Race reporters caught up with Movistar's Eros Capecchi and asked him about today's stage: "Stirling isn't just about the uphill finish. There's a downhill where things can happen, a roundabout, etc. We have Lobato who is going really well. He can compete against the very best sprinters and he has shown in the past that he can do it uphill too. I've seen Cadel Evans very focused. The finale suits him as well. It's a finish where the legs do the talking."

With 112km remaining, the gap has dropped slightly to 3:05.

Lampre's Roberto Ferrari also spoke to reporters before the start in Unley: "We at Lampre won that stage last year and this time around we have Bonifazio who is going really well even though he got a late call for this race. But he has worked well at training and this finish at Stirling suits him well too."

Team Sky and Bobridge's UniSA squad have moved to the front now to pick up the chase.

The gap remains at 3:05 43.5km into the stage with 107km remaining.

AG2R La Mondiale rider Axel Domont admitted before today's start that he has been sufferin gknee pain.

“I didn't ride on Sunday because of a knee injury. Yesterday I felt pain in my knee for 100km. After that I forgot about it because I felt pain everywhere. Our leader Pozzovivo is also injured with a small wrist fracture but he says he's ok. Mostly he's handicapped by the vibrations downhill but he can go well uphill.”

The first of two intermediate sprints in today's stage  comes at 49.4km in Verdun. The leaders are about 5km away with a new gap of 3:25.

De Gendt takes top points in the first sprint, followed by Meyer and Flakemore.

De Gendt is on a roll today; he also won the KOM earlier in the stage.

The Peloton has passed the 50km mark. Another 100km to go to the finish in Stirling.

Astana's Luis Leon Sanchez told reports before today's start that he did not feel well during Tuesday's opener, but his team is going very well.

“Yesterday I didn't feel good at all for most of the stage. I couldn't breathe properly. In the finale I felt a bit better. Today is a day for not losing any time. I would also like to try and win the stage, myself or someone else from Astana. The team is going very well. But I first have to see how my body reacts.”

With the break established and another 50km to the next intermediate sprint, the race has settled in now.

Once again, the three riders up the road with a 3:15 gap are Cameron Meyer (Orica-Greenedge), Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-soudal) and Campbell Flakemore (BMC)

If you missed today's coverage of the Tour de San Luis, which finished at the top of Mirador del Portrero, you can read all about it here.

Nario Quintana, who finished 27 seconds behind the leader in today's Tour de San Luis stage, said he is still only at 50 percent.

Ever wonder what power meters the WorldTour riders are using this year? You can read about it here.

The gap to the three leaders is holding at 3:35 with Sky and UniSA chasing.

With 80km remaining, the gap to the three leaders is 3:36.

Ag2r-La Mondiale's Domenico Pozzovivo was hoping to put last year's bad luck behind him with a fresh start at the Tour Down Under, but a training crash last Thursday left him with a minor fracture to his wrist. Nevertheless, he's hoping for a top five finish this year in Australia.

Orica's Daryl Impey spoke to reporter's this morning about today's stage:

"It’s going to be a hard start today. The first 30km are quite difficult, so we’ll try to have our guys there to cover any moves. We got off to a good start. We had Luke [Durbridge] in the break yesterday, and I think we’ll have another chance to win today. We have a few options for GC. We hope to stay in there today, and give it a go tomorrow. We’re motivated to make a strong race here."

Team Sky is one of the team's doing the chasing, and sprinter Chris Sutton said this morning they are focused on Richie Porte's GC hopes:

"We’re all here riding for Richie [Porte] for the overall. He’s going well, and he’s very motivated to make a strong GC this week. It will be a tough stage today. It will be a hard, fast start, but we’ll be riding for Richie today. If I can a chance at a sprint at some point during the race, that would be a bonus."

Sprinter Greg Henderson said his team is also focused on the overall.

"We’ve got good morale. We’re missing our big German guy [André Greipel], but we’re here with Adam Hansen looking to ride a strong GC, and I’m still hoping maybe I can try my luck in a sprint down the road. Everyone’s keen to race."

Halfway through the race now, and the gap to Meyer, De Gendt and Flakemore has dropped below three minutes. 75km remaining.

The gap to the three leaders has gone back up to 3:25 as the riders pass through the undulating agricultural lands in the Adelaide Hills.

Vineyards abound, but there's no time to stop for a wine tasting today.

IAM have thrown a couple of riders into the chase with the Sky train, hoping to set up Haussler, no doubt.

Shade is a premium on today's course, but fortunately for the riders it's overcast and a bit cooler for the second stage.

The gap has dropped below two minutes now with 54km remaining.

UniSA and IAM on the front of the peloton now, with Sky following. Can UniSA save Bobridge's Ochre leader's jersey?

De Genty wins the second sprint of the day for a clean sweep of the KOm and both intermediate dashes. Meyer was second again, followed by Flakemore.

De Genty wins the second sprint of the day for a clean sweep of the KOm and both intermediate dashes. Meyer was second again, followed by Flakemore.

De Gendt wins the second sprint of the day for a clean sweep of the KOm and both intermediate dashes. Meyer was second again, followed by Flakemore.

The gap has gone back up above two minutes. The lead trio has 2:16 with just over 40 km remaining.

The breakaway riders are in Aldgate now and on the climb to Stirling for the first time.

The Sky-led peloton are going through the uphill feedzone now.

The race will do two laps of the 21km finishing circuit.

Flakemore looks to be struggling a bit as Meyer leads the trio up a climb, meanwhile, IAM continue to chase in the field.

The time board is telling the riders they have 1:35, and officials have pulled neutral support out of the gap.

IAM is still doing the bulk of the work in the chase, followed by most of the WorldTour teams.

Is Haussler ready to repay his team for their work today? The lumpy course and uphill finish could suit him, but the GC hopefuls may have something to say about that as well.

At 1:25 gap, the breakaway is nearly in sight of the bunch, which seems determined not to repeat yesterday's mistake of waiting too long to chase.

The gap has dipped below a minute for the first time since very early in the race. Riders 48 seconds with 27km to go.

The gap is now just 25 seconds, and the catch looks imminent. Will they start the second-and-final circuit together.

De Gendt has thrown in the towel and gone back to the field, while Meyer and Flakemore soldier on with just a handful of seconds.

And there's the catch. All together now just before they start the final 21km circuit.

IAM are continuing with the pace-setting on the front now, with Huassler sitting safely in their midst.

One more drink in the feedzone as they start the final 21km circuit.

Danilo Wyss (BMC) on the move now with Calvin Watson of Trek.

The two escapees have a small gap, forcing Team Sky on the front of the field to chase.

A little conversation among the breakaway riders. Is it encouragement or surrender?

Watson and Wyss have a dozen seconds now.

11km from the finish now, and the break is about to be caught

And there's the catch under the 10km banner.

The peloton is line up across the road now. How soon before the inevitable attacks start going?

Steele Von Hoff is leading the peloton down a tricky descent.

Sprinters and GC riders alike are moving toward the front now.

UniSA, Orica-Greenedge, SKY, Tinkoff-Saxo, Etixx-QuickStep, Astana on or near the front now. Bobridge is also up there.

Cannondale-Garmin coming to the fore now, led by Ryder Hesjedal.

5km to go.

Sky's Peter Kennaugh driving the front with Cannondale lined up on his wheel. BMC is trying to move Evans up.

Porte is slipping into the Cannondale train, while Evans continues to make his way forward.

3km to go!

Kennaugh has peeled off, and Cannondale is on the front now.

The field splits around a big roundabout and comes back together with Cannondale still on the front.

Can Nathan Hass pull off the win and pay off this Cannondale leadout.

1km to go!!

Orica side by side with Cannondale

Movistar's Juan Jose Lobato takes the sprint ahead of orica's Daryl Impey.

Stage 2 top 10:
1 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team 3:42:24
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
3 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
6 Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
8 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9 Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
10 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
11 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge

 

Despite the 10-second bonus for today's winner, Jack Bobridge will keep his leader's jersey for another day.

Thanks for tuning in today. Thursday's 143km third stage from Norwood to Paracombe is an up-and-down affair that Orica director Matt White says will go to one of the climbers or “very, very punchy riders.”

Be sure to tune in.

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