Patrick Bevin has won stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under. Building on his third place overall from yesterday, Bevin out-sprinted Caleb Ewan of Lotto Soudal and Peter Sagan of BORA-Hansgrohe in a tricky uphill finish. The win also puts Bevin in the leader’s jersey with a 5 second advantage over stage 1 winner Elia Viviani.
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With his well documented time trial prowess taking centre stage last season, it was anticipated that Patrick Bevin’s first individual World Tour win would likely come against the clock as he looked to build towards the UCI World Championships in Yorkshire and next year’s Olympic Games. However, it was in a fight for the line against some of the world’s best fast finishers that his first taste of solo victory would come; building on the team time trial win he shared with his teammates at the Tour de France last year.
Reminiscent of yesterday’s break – a break that featured Patrick Bevin himself – today’s big move saw two familiar faces up the road; with Artyom Zakharov of Astana joining king of the mountains leader Jason Lea of UniSA-Australia and Movistar’s Jaime Castrillo. Their lead went out to over 3 minutes before being reeled back in with a substantial 50km remaining. Next up the duo of Manuele Boaro of Astana and Mathieu Ladagnous of Groupama-FDJ went on the offensive; and while Boaro was ordered to return to his teammates in the bunch, Ladagnous soldiered on at the front.
The peloton kept a close eye on the lone ranger and gave him no serious lead. With 30km to go his advantage sat at just shy of 30 seconds and that lead progressively dissipated all the way to 2km to go where he was finally caught.
Very impressive sprint from @PaddyBevin congrats to him. Some more seconds in the pocket too! Don’t surprised if he wins this race overall.
— SamBewley (@SamBewley) January 16, 2019
The run in to the line saw the riders face a tricky ramp up that would favour riders with a little bit of power climbing ability; while also not quite ruling out the purer sprinters in Caleb Ewan, Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani and co. A big crash put paid to the efforts of several riders but Bevin was able to avoid the carnage on the left side of the road and as Mitchelton-SCOTT led the way towards the finish it was Alex Edmondson who held the lead with Bevin sitting in the middle of the road at around 10th wheel.
— Cycling New Zealand (@CyclingNZL) January 16, 2019
Luis Leon Sanchez almost put paid to any big sprint ambitions though with a piercing attack. With a slight left hand bend Sanchez attacked for Astana and got a gap of about four bike lengths before Patrick Bevin responded with Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan on his wheel. The New Zealand national time trial champion dug deep to come around Sanchez with 30 metres remaining; fending off the challenge of Ewan who just wasn’t able to match the Kiwi. Ewan had to settle for second place with Sagan third, Danny van Poppel of Jumbo-Visma fourth and Jasper Philipsen of Bahrain Merida in fifth.
George Bennett finished safely in 17th place to move up to 23rd, but for Bevin the news got better; as his stage win and time bonus now put him in the overall lead by 5 seconds. While Elia Viviani is his closest challenger in 2nd place, with Caleb Ewan 3rd at 9 seconds; you have to go 15 seconds back to the major GC contenders including defending champion Daryl Impey. This is a good sign as Bevin goes into defence of his leader’s jersey tomorrow and then onwards to the first major test in stage 4 to Campbelltown.