Ryan Christensen of Oliver’s Real Food sprinted to 9th place in stage 2 of the Herald Sun Tour. The Waikato-based rider finished strongly in a bunch sprint won by Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo, with Steele von Hoff of Bennelong SwissWellness and Alex Edmondson of Mitchelton-Scott completing the top three.
A long nearly 5 and a half hour day in the saddle awaited the field in stage 2 of the Herald Sun Tour, with the riders going from Warrnambool to Ballarat; a distance of 198.6km. Two KOM locations were en route to the finish, and it was the latter that was particularly interesting, peaking at just 7km from the finish line. It would be interesting to see whether Mobius BridgeLane’s Brad Evans would be able to hold on to his king of the mountains lead.
Seven riders formed the break of the day, with the Australian quintet of Alistair Donohoe of Mobius BridgeLane, Joel Strachan of Team McDonalds Downunder, Nicholas White of Oliver’s Real Food and the Drapac EF Cycling pairing of Liam White and Liam Magennis working together. Along with them were Ken-Levi Eikeland of Interpro Stradalli Cycling and Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij’s Etienne van Empel. Together the seven riders built a lead of over 4 minutes before the peloton brought the race back together.
The race was predictably stretched on the final climb of the day. The break had been brought back to heel just prior to the climb and from there Nathan Earle of Israel Cycling Academy and James Whelan of KordaMentha Real East – Australian National Team attacked and led over the summit of the climb. Earle took enough points to take over the lead of the KOM classification from Evans before the peloton swept him and Whelan up on the descent towards the finish.
Having mopped up the breakaway the bunch rode towards the finish line furiously. It was hard to see one team having dominance of the pack on the run in to the finish but in the finale a powerful turn of pace from Mads Pedersen saw him just about manage to hold off a fast-charging Steele von Hoff and Alexander Edmondson of Mitchelton-Scott.
Ryan Christensen was right in the mix behind them, finishing 9th across the line. Also finishing in the peloton was Brisbane Continental Cycling Team’s Michael Vink.