In the well-known slight uphill finish of Stirling that concluded Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under, Marc Sarreau and his teammates bravely played their cards. After getting through the crashes, the Groupama-FDJ’s sprinter just came up short in the last kilometer and could not fight until the end for the win. Like in 2018, when the Tour Down Under last stopped at Stirling, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) got the best of Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
As there were no times bonuses available in the first kilometers of today’s stage, the breakaway could go pretty early on. Joey Rosskopf (CCC) made it to the front once again, this time with Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Omer Goldstein (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Samuel Jenner (UniSA-Australia). But unlike the day before, he was not the last man standing. De Vreese was, but he got caught twenty-five kilometers from the finish by the bunch who actually never let the gap exceed two minutes. Eventually, in a demanding, marred-crash final, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) made the most of his explosive abilities to take the win.
“Miles’s performance is pretty encouraging” Jussi Veikkanen
“The day started off fairly calmly,” said our sports director Jussi Veikkanen, “and as for our guys, it went pretty well, they took it easy in the peloton. We did a recon of the finish and we were planning to go for the stage with Marc. It was certainly a punchy finish but there are always sprinters who do well there. We wanted to be among them. In the circuit’s second lap, Mika Delage fell with Roelandts and Sabatini. He changed his bike, came back in the race and finished the stage but we lost a rider at this point. In the final a second crash occured, 1.2 km from the finish. It took down some big guys and split the bunch. Miles Scotson and Marc got through the split, our other guys did not. Once again, Miles did well in the last kilometers. His performance is pretty encouraging and he seems to be back at a good level after his surgery. He brought back Marc to the front, placed him where he needed to be, behind Haas and Consonni with 800 meters to go. But the last 500-600 meters got the better of Marc. It was too punchy for him.”
On Thursday the riders will tackle an ever more undulating stage to Paracombe, where Richie Porte triumphed solo in 2017. “It’s definitely one for the punchers and climbers. Part of the general classification will be decided tomorrow, it’s a decisive stage, expects Jussi. The sprinters are going to have a day off. Among our ranks, Kilian Frankiny is going well, so is Bruno Armirail, and Miles has shown some great things today. They worked for Marc, we’ll give them the opportunity to have their own fun tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes. Marc will be back on track for stages 4 and 5.”