Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) is one of the strongest riders in the peloton in races that feature short climbs. The Italian proved this on the second stage of the Tour Down Under over 150 kilometers from Prospect to Stirling. With an early start, he surprised the remaining drivers around Australian leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and secured his first win of the season.
As the day before, Australian Will Clarke (Drapac) dominated the picture at the front of the race. Two years ago he was able to win the stage to Stirling from a leading group and so it is hardly surprising that as the initiator of the three-man lead he was responsible for a large part of the speed work. Along the way, all three seemed to benefit from the lead as Clark and Campbell Flakemore (UniSA) picked up points for the mountains classification while Boy van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) slipped into the virtual leader's jersey.
But the escape efforts were unsuccessful. Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) retained the lead in the mountains classification, although he gave up his own chances in the final and rushed to the aid of André Greipel, who was slowed down by a defect in the last ten kilometers.
After the leading group was formed, it was mainly the Australian Lachlan Morten (Garmin-Sharp) who set the pace on the way to Stirling and thus prevented attacks. A few hundred meters from the finish, it was Gerrans and Evans who tried to set the tone in the sprint. However, they were no match for Ulissi's arrival. “I don't know where Diego came from but with his result yesterday [fourth] he was in good shape. He had the legs and the right timing today. It was also a lactate thing, so I left early to be up front.”, said Evans after the race.
Gerrans continues to lead in the overall standings. The best German is André Greipel in third place, followed by Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) in sixth place.
1. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) 3:52:14
2. Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) 0:00:00
3.Cadel Evans (BMC) 0:00:00
4. Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) 0:00:00
5. Robert Gesink (Belkin) 0:00:00
1. Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) 7:12:31
2. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) 0:00:07
3. André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) 0:00:11
4.Cadel Evans (BMC) 0:00:13
5. Steele von Hoff (Garmin Sharp) 0:00:13