The overall leader avoided a late crash in Angaston, but couldn’t fight for a second consecutive victory.
Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under began with Elia Viviani in the ochre jersey, a bonus which came together with his incredible win in Port Adelaide, where a memorable sprint that underlined the Italian’s fantastic skills catapulted him to the top of the general classification.
As soon as things got underway on Wednesday morning, Deceuninck – Quick-Step moved to the front of the peloton and controlled the three-men breakaway which went up the road and opened a three-minute lead only to be reabsorbed with more than 55 kilometers remaining, a rather unusual scenario which Matthieu Ladagnous (Groupama-FDJ) tried to speculate by going on the attack and establishing a two-minute buffer over the pack.
Same Rémi Cavagna – the day’s unsung hero – took over the reins in the bunch and put in an immeasurable effort that halved the Frenchman’s buffer with 20 kilometers to go and eventually resulted in the lone leader being brought to heel with three kilometers remaining.
A massive crash in the run-in to the finish line disrupted the lead-out trains, leaving only a dozen riders to fight for the stage honors. Overall leader Elia Viviani was among the ones to escape the incident, but had a lot of ground to make up, and this cost him in the closing meters, especially as the sprint was ignited early as a response to an attack of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana).
The one who took advantage of the chaos generated by the crash that occurred shortly after the peloton entered the last kilometer was Patrick Bevin (CCC Team), who at the end of the day grabbed both the stage victory and the ochre jersey.
Elia Viviani finished seventh and moved down to second in the overall standings ahead of stage 3, between Lobethal and Uraidla. Despite missing out on the chance of going for another win at the Tour Down Under, the Italian Champion kept his smile as he went on the podium to collect the blue jersey which rewards the leader of the points rankings.
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