Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Tour Down Under Stage 2, a 148.5km road race from Stirling to Paracombe.
Riders will be happy to learn that temperatures for today's stage will be considerably more comfortable than yesterday, when temperatures for stage 1 reached the 40s and forced organisers to shorten the stage to 118km. Today forecasts call for 26 in Adelaide and 21 in Stirling.
Here's a look at yesterday's stage 1 top 10. Caleb Ewan proved himself the fastest man in Australia once again with a dramatic sprint finish victory.
Stage 1 Top 10:
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:24:18
2 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
3 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Marko Kump (Slo) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
5 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
7 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
Time bonuses have come into play already after one stage, affecting the top 10 of the General Classification:
GC Top 10 after stage 1
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:24:08
2 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:04
3 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:06
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:07
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:08
6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott
7 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
8 Marko Kump (Slo) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 0:00:10
9 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
You can catch up on the stage 1 action with our stage 1 report, photo gallery and complete results HERE.
Today's stage could offer up the first GC battle of the race, with the finish in Paracombe likely to cause a real selection. When the limb made its debut in 2015,Rohan Dennis won there ahead of teammates Cadel Evans to set up his overall win.
"I think it can go one or two ways," Dennis said of how he sees this year's stage playing out. "It can be really defensive and really slow, then there is a big bunch, or things are just going to explode."
Today's stage will start with five laps of a loop around Stirling. The two intermediate sprints come during these loops at 23.7km and 65.9km. After five laps covering 105.5km of the 148.5km stage, the peloton will break off and head for Paracombe and the final 1.1km that awaits them there.
Stage 2 Map
Stage 2 Profile
And We've got a start!
Speaking of Rohan Dennis, who won on Paracombe in 2015, BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz is very impressed with the 26-year-old Australian.
Just like yesterday with La Mediterraneenne, the Putte-Kapellen race in Belgian won't return in 2017. Read more about it here.
143km remaining from 148km
No attacks yet from the peloton, but an AG2R riders needs a new bike.
Team Sky's Kenny Elissonde was a late addition to the race. The young Frenchman tells Cyclingnews what it's like to train with Chris Froome in this article by Daniel Benson.
138km remaining from 148km
No action at the front. Maybe the riders are still waking up after their hot day in the saddle yesterday.
We've got some action.
Ondrej Cink (Bahrain - Merida) and Cam Meyer (UniSA-Australia) give it a dig.
Cink is a 26-year-old Czech rider in his first year as a professional after coming over from mountain biking.
Meyer is the Australian veteran who won this race in 2011.
135km remaining from 148km
The duo up front have 35 seconds on the peloton.
Orica has come to the front, and the gap has dropped to 25 seconds.
The gap to the leaders is holding at 25 seconds.
Approaching the first intermediate sprint of the day and the gap is down to seven seconds. Orica would certainly like to give Gerrans a shot at the maximum time bonus.
Altogether before the sprint.
126km remaining from 148km
Orica driving the pace at the front
Gerrans is currently sixth overall, eight seconds behind teammate Caleb Ewan, the stage 1 winner.
Laurens De Vreese (Astana), hero of yesterday's stage with a marly all-day solo breakaway, is paying for it today; he's having trouble at the back of the peloton.
Waiting for word on result of the first iiNet intermediate sprint of the day.
Movistar's Jasha Sutterlin has attacked and has a small gap.
Sprint results are in, and Ben Swift takes it:
1: Ben Swift (UAE Abu Dhabi)
2: Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe
3: Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal)
120km remaining from 148km
Sutterlin has 50 seconds on the bunch
Sutterlin, a 24-year-old German, is in his fourth year with Movistar, who he's signed with through 2019.
A 'nature break' in the peloton allows Sutterlin's gap to go up quickly. We may have a lone sacrificial lamb off the front again today. At least Sutterlin won't have to deal with sizzling temperature as well.
118km remaining from 148km
Gap is 1:35
116km remaining from 148km
Sutterlin's gap is now 2:30, and he's the leader on the road.
Sutterlin finished 17th in yesterday's bunch kick. He started the day 20th overall with a large group of riders who are 10 seconds down.
Sutterlin's gap has ballooned to 4:40. Looks like the young German has a long, lonely day in the saddle ahead.
108km remaining from 148km
The gap has gone up to 5:02
103km remaining from 148km
A new time gap is down slightly back to 4:45
98km remaining from 148km
At the 50km mark, Jasha Sutterlin's gap is 4:30 as Orica-Scott leads the chase with four riders on the front of the peloton.
95km remaining from 148km
Sutterlin's gap continues to com down. It's 3:30 now.
Orica's got one rider on the front now, followed by three of Sutterlin's Movistar teammates.
92km remaining from 148km
Orica's got one rider on the front now, followed by three of Sutterlin's Movistar teammates. Gap is 3:45
88km remaining from 148km
Gap is now 3:30
Our Zeb Woodpower spoke with Cannondale-Drapac's Paddy Bevin before the start of today's stage about what he expects on the roads to Paracombe.
"Today is really important for the GC and we have a couple of GC riders here. First and foremost, we are looking at our GC guys. They are talking it up as the hardest-ever Tour Down Under stage, parcours wise, so you have to respect that. Stirling is hard, so five laps before heading across and up the Gorge to Paracombe makes for a hard day.
"You are seeing two camps of riders. Pure climbers sitting back and they want to make the climb as hard as they can. Guys like Gerrans, McCarthy who are boxing on for intermediate sprints yesterday, so you see two very distinct tactics for this overall. Lots will be revealed today. There is no hiding out there so we will have pretty good lay of the land come tonight
The race is closing in on the second intermediate sprint of the day at 65.9km
Sutterlin is through the sprint.
As the peloton passes through the iiNet intermediate sprint, the gap is down to three minutes
Results from the second intermediate sprint:
1. Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar)
2. Michael Kolar (Bora-Hansgrohe)
3. Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe)
The chase for the sprint seconds cut into Sutterlin's lead, which is down to 1:30.
We caught up with more riders at the start to ask them about the stage.
Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi)
"We are hoping to score one victory in this race. Hopefully today with Ulissi we have good chances, so the team will work for him today."
Michael Valgren (Astana)
"Yesterday we don’t really have a sprinter, Matti sprinted to sixth, so it was just get through the stage as easy as possible and we look forward to today.
"I think Willunga will be more decisive, but for sure you can lose the GC today if you are not up there and have a bad day. It is a tough climb and tough finish going to the finish of the climb. You really have to pay attention and stay alert."
Sutterlin's gap has god back up to 3:30 as the solo rider continues to make his way around the Stirling circuit.
After just over 2 hours of racing, the gap has gone back up to 3:30. Can Sutterlin stay away through the Stirling circuits and hold his lead as the race turns toward Paracombe?
We caught up with Team Sky's Geraint Thomas this morning at the stage start and got his thoughts on the day
"We want quite a hard race and BMC do as well. It’s going to be tough, but that suits Sergio quite well. He’s punchy but Gerro and Sagan, I don’t know how well they’re going. Then there’s Porte, Chaves and others."
Thomas also acknowledged that having two potential leaders on the team could be a big advantage.
"Yes I think so. I don’t see us getting rid of Gerrans on the climb to be honest, unless he’s gapped on the line. He’s going well and training down here so that makes a big difference. Orica have an advantage with those two guys. Everyone will be in the red before we hit the climb. I might have a little look about going in a break but I can’t see them letting a Sky rider go. I think I might suffer from the start but BMC, Sky, Orica, I think they’ll mark each other out from the break."
Rohan Dennis told Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson that today's stage is wide open.
"You can’t rule anyone out yet. Everyone is feeling fresh, and hometown advantage isn’t going to play that much today."
Esteban Chaves told us the winner of today's stage will have taken a big step toward winning the overall.
"It’s beautiful this today’s hard stage, and I think the guy who wins the stage today is super close to win the tour. You can also do a difference in Willunga, but today is more difference because all the stage is super hard.
"It’s important today for me, for the team and I am looking forward to that. The leader is Simon Gerrans. This guy has won four times this race. He know the route, the people here, he know his body, so the leader is him and all is on Simon.
"The race say everything. The plan is take bonus with him and try and win the tour with Simon. This is the plan and we will see. The leader is Simon.
"The guys from Sky are super fast, and they will try to do the race super fast to drop guys like Sagan or Gerro. No climbers you know."
64km remaining from 148km
Sutterlin's gap hanging around 3:30-3:45 as he traverses the last of five loops around Stirling.
60km remaining from 148km
With 60km remaining, Sutterlin's gap has gone up to 4 minutes.
Orica-Scott continues to power the peloton, with overall leader Caleb Ewan sitting in third position.
Cannondale is moving forward now. The team has Michael Woods and Tom Jelte Slagter to look out for in the finale.
BMC Racing's Richie Porte is looking forward to today's GC shake out. He spoke with us at the start of the stage.
"This is the biggest day so far and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. A lot of guys will struggle with recovery after yesterday’s heat, and the harder the race is with Sky and Orica, they also want a hard race. It’s not an easy course. Last time I made a mistake on Paracombe by looking at other riders. This year I’d like to open it up on the climb."
The race hasn't ended yet and Sutterlin has already taken a prize. He's been awarded 'most combative' on the stage.
Sutterlin's gap continues to hold around 4 minutes as he is about to head toward Paracombe. Less than 50km to go.
45km remaining from 148km
Sutterlin ascending the last climb in Stirling before he turns right off the circuit and toward the finish in Paracombe.
The peloton's pace up the final climb out of Stirling really dug into Sutterlin's gap, which is down below two minutes for the first time in many kilometres.
The peloton is flying now, and Sutterlin's gap is down to 1:05
Forget about that gap, the peloton is right on Sutterlin now. The escape is over. Who'll be the next to go?
36km remaining from 148km
All together again!
Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Australian champion Miles Scotson (BMC Racing) are taking turns on the front now, keeping the pace high.
Also, it's Scotson's 23rd birthday today. Happy Birthday, Miles!
34km remaining from 148km
With Team Sky massed at the front, the peloton is tackling some rolling terrain. They'll be descending Norton Summit soon.
Ian Stannard is leading the descent, chasing away the motobike, which is having trouble leaving him behind.
This is a long, snaking descent out of the Adelaide Hills.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) has gone down on the descent.
Perdersen is up and on his way after the crash
Team Sky riders are working furiously off the back now trying to bring GC man Sergio Henao back to the bunch. He must have had a problem.
Meanwhile, the peloton is flying again, with Bahrain - Merida supplying the power up front.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) is getting a wheel change. He's gotten a quick change and has a good chance of making it back.
Miles Scotson has dropped back to pace Dennis back to the bunch.
We're under 20km to go now.
Race leader Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) just dropped back to the cars to fetch some bottles for his teammates. They're all in for Gerrans today, with Chaves as back up.
Dennis and Scotson are back in the bunch
Henao and his Sky teammates have had to work hard to get back to the bunch. They haven't quite made it yet.
Henao is having to pull himself back now as teammate Elissonde is having trouble holding the pace.
The chasers just reached the back of the caravan.
Movistar and Orica are driving the pace in the peloton, while Henao is fighting his way through the cars back to the bunch.
After 3 hours and 30 minutes, there are 10km remaining.
Movistar, UAE Abu Dhabi and Katusha trains on the front of the peloton.
It appears that today's stage, and likely the overall lead, will come down to that final 1.1km climb.
Cannondale-Drapac have sown themselves at the front now for Michael Woods and Tom Jelte Slagter.
The peloton climbing through the Gorge now.
Stage 1 winner and race leader Caleb Ewan is setting the pace on this slight uphill.
7km to go
A Cannondale rider appears to have dropped a chain and ridden off the road. He's upright but won't be able to help in the finale.
Ewan pulls off and AG2R riders take over.
Dimension Data, LottoNL-Jumbo and AG2R all up front.
5km to go. All together.
A Katusha rider attacks, but the bunch counters and he's done.
Adam Hansen losing contact with 3km to go.
The stage hopefuls are jostling for position near the front as the final climb approaches.
Sergio Henao is back in the bunch, trying to find Geraint Thomas.
The peloton about to turn onto the final climb. Sagan gets the hole shot.
Porte attacks and Gorka Izagirre follows.
Porte and Izagirre are dropping the rest. Now Porte is putting pressure n Izagirre.
Porte is solo. Izagirre chasing with Chaves.
Wilco Kelderman is in fourth position.
Porte's got this. An impressive attack!
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
Stage 2 top 10:
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 3:46:06
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:16
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott
4 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
7 R˙ben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
8 Michael Storer (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac
10 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
General Classification after stage 2
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 7:10:14
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:22
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:27
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 0:00:29
7 Nathan Earle (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
9 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
10 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
Thursday's stage 3 takes the peloton 144km from Glenelg to Victor Harbor. The stage heads south along the coast before turning inland for several finishing circuits in Victor Harbor.
Crosswinds can play a big part in this stage. Baden Cooke told Cyclingnews this is a stage where you may not win the tour, but you can certainly lose it.
"If you concentrate too much on the Saturday or one of the harder stages, you can definitely lose the tour on this stage," Cooke said. "You have to be very attentive on this stage for sure."
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