Juan Jose Lobato became the latest in a long line of Movistar riders to excel at the Tour Down Under as he sprinted to victory in Stirling ahead of Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and his Movistar teammate Gorka Izagirre Insausti. Jack Bobrdige (UniSA) finished on the same time as Lobato in 20th place to hold onto the overall lead.
"I am very content to start the season like this and I am grateful for my team. I've had two years of good results, and I couldn't started off 2015 any better," Lobato told reporters after becoming the third European rider to win on the circuit after Diego Ulissi (2014) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (2013).
"The GC? Well, that's more complicated, but we have riders here for the overall. I am not discounting anything. I came here to go well on this finale, and I've raced here the past two years. We did some training here last week."
After catching the day's three-rider breakaway just before the start of the final 21km finishing circuit, the major teams began to line up on the front to set up their sprinters or GC hopefuls. BMC, Orica-GreenEdge, Cannondale-Garmin, Tinkoff-Saxo, Giant-Alpecin, IAM and Team Sky were all present, but it was Movistar that placed two riders in the top three.
Cannondale dropped off Nathan Hass with about 300 meters to go, but the slightly uphill drag proved too much for the Australian, and the others swept past him before the line. Giant's GC hopeful Tom Dumoulin was fourth, followed by BMC's Cadel Evans and Astana's Luis León Sánchez. Sky's Richie Porte was seventh, while Haas ended up in ninth.
"Maybe my legs were not as good as I had hoped they would be there in the end," Haas said after the stage. "At the end of the day, I am a guy that likes to hit out. I never like to wait. If you feel the moment, you have to go, you have to trust it. It’s disappointing, but tomorrow is another day."
Fifth place for Evans was outside the time bonuses but the Australian, who lost the race by just once second last year, explained the race and his GC hopes are far from finished.
"I don't know if I'm quite as good as I was last year, I was a bit jumpier and that," Evans said. "But as I said it's the first race of the year we don't know who's good, we don't know how well others are going at this level and today's the first day I think we really see the contenders overall and I think maybe Lobato will be the guy to beat. Still a lot more racing yet. Of course I'd like to have more time bonuses but I'll take the situation as it is and look to tomorrow."
How it unfolded
The peloton decided the best way to start stage 2 was fast with a frantic early pace as riders tried to establish the breakaway. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) successfully rode off the front after numerous riders had given it a crack. Rob Power (UniSA) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) joined the French man and quickly dropped him.
That duo’s attempt wasn’t to be, but De Gendt, Peter Stetina (BMC), Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Oliver Zaugg (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jose Herrada Lopez (Movistar) and Yves Lampaert (Etixx-Quick Step) attacked the peloton again. That move was then also brought back because the peloton was apparently unhappy with the composition.
Meyer soloed off the front as he tried to break free once again and was joined by De Gendt, with Campbell Flakemore (BMC) time trialling his way over and forming the trio. As they passed through Piccadilly with 20km raced, their lead was 1:35 over a splintering main bunch led by Team Sky.
The rolling roads of the Adelaide hills had caught out a few riders expecting an easier start to the day, although once the break was established, it was gruppo compacto back in the peloton.
When Meyer won the race in 2011, it was in part due to the time he earned from a breakaway which included De Gendt. Despite the threat that the break posed, the trio were allowed a lead that maxxed out at 3:35 minutes. De Gendt took the only KOM of the day to move level at the top of the classification with Jack Bobridge. At the first intermediate sprint point it was the Dutchman again claiming the honours.
Back in the bunch it was Team Sky, IAM Cycling and UniSA controlling the chase. IAM Cycling was riding for Haussler, Sky for Porte and UniSA was riding as the team of the race leader with Jack Bobridge.
With 50km left to race, De Gendt cleaned up again as he sprinted to claim the second intermediate sprint point of the day by several bike lengths in Mylor. The trio then turned towards Stirling in anticipation of the two circuits around the town with their lead down to 1:57.
As the peloton crossed over the finish line in Stirling the gap was out to 2:20 with IAM Cycling and Sky ensconced at the front of the bunch and the average speed at 38.5km/h for the five kilometres preceding the finish line.
Once on the circuit, the speed upped to 42km/h in the peloton, and the break's advantage was cut down to 1:35 with 30km left to race and IAM Cycling’s Stef Clement doing all the work on the front.
The bright colours of Tinkoff-Saxo and LottoNL-Jumbo started appearing at the front of the bunch once the catch was made, but it remained IAM Cycling and Team Sky, with Neil van der Ploeg (UniSA) at the pointy end of the arrowhead.
Through the finish line for the penultimate time, it was IAM Cycling leading the bunch as Etixx-Quick Step made its first appearance of the day with Gianni Meersman their man. Once the peloton exited the town, Calvin Watson (Trek) and Danilo Wyss (BMC) attacked with 19km left in the day to get several hundred metres and 10 seconds clear.
With the peloton working hard to bring the two breakaway riders back, Power crashed and was forced to chase back on as IAM Cycling and Team Sky still controlled the race. UniSA continued to work hard and had Bobridge up in fourth wheel with seven kilometres to go once the two leaders were reeled in.
With the bunch spread across the road, the GC men were positioning themselves for the final sprint to the climb, and with 5km left, Team Sky owned the left-hand side of the race and Etixx-Quick Step the right. Behind them was Astana and Cannondale-Garmin.
With 3.8km to go, BMC moved forward with Evans as Orica-GreenEdge brought up Clarke and Impey. One kilometre later and it was all green and black with Cannondale-Garmin all over the front.
Haas was the first to go with 300 metres as Impey and Meersman then hit out, but it was the fast finishing Lobato doing the job and going one better than he did in the People’s Choice Classic.
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|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team||3:42:24|
|2||Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Team Katusha||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Jack Bobridge (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre-Merida||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Daniel McConnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:00:25|
|50||Robert Power (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling||0:00:28|
|52||Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:00:32|
|53||Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:34|
|56||Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||0:00:46|
|62||Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling||0:00:49|
|63||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:52|
|65||Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-Step||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha||0:00:57|
|67||Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:07|
|68||Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|70||Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Koen de Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|73||Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|74||Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin||0:01:21|
|76||Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky||0:01:26|
|77||Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling||0:01:33|
|80||Davide Malacarne (Ita) Astana Pro Team||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|81||Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||0:01:36|
|82||Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|83||Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|85||Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:57|
|86||Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:02:09|
|87||Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team||0:03:00|
|88||Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team||0:03:16|
|89||Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin||0:03:32|
|90||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step||0:03:52|
|91||Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:04:10|
|93||Martin Kohler (Swi) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|94||Steele von Hoff (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 93 - Cell 2|
|95||Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|96||Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|97||Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|98||Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|99||Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:04:46|
|100||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||0:05:48|
|101||Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenEdge||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|102||Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Soudal||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|106||Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 105 - Cell 2|
|107||Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek Factory Racing||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|109||Rick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|110||Alex Edmondson (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|111||Neil van der Ploeg (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|112||Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||Row 111 - Cell 2|
|113||Campbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|114||Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|115||Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida||0:09:59|
|116||Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr||0:10:12|
|117||Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek Factory Racing||0:11:39|
|118||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:13:43|
|119||Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|120||Miles Scotson (Aus) UniSA-Australia||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|121||Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|122||Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|123||Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|124||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|125||Boris Vallée (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 124 - Cell 2|