Stage 2 took start in Woodside and very shortly four riders broke away with Astana’s Laurens De Vreese among them. De Vreese did a strong race today, scoring some mountain points, but also taking a few bonus seconds after winning the second intermediate sprint. When the breakaway group was about to give up with 40 km to go, the Astana Pro Team rider went away solo, trying to stay in front of the race as long as possible. Thus, De Vreese spent 15 more kilometers in a solo breakaway before he was caught back in the main group. After the stage Laurens De Vreese has been nominated as the most competitive rider of the second stage (he will come out to the start of stage 3 with a special red number).
- For us it was important to have a rider in the breakaway to get less pressure to the team since the final of the stage could suit us. So, at the meeting in the morning it was decided to try to attack from the start. I was up there in front and when I saw a possibility to attack, I just went away, following a few other riders. It worked out perfectly and I was able to stay in front for a long time. I am happy with my day and with the result of our team. Fabio Felline and Luis Leon Sanchez showed our ambitions here. Also, I am happy with the red number as the most competitive rider, it is a nice award at the end of this day. I feel quite good at the start of the season, I am super motivated and I hope in the next few days I will be able to help our leader Luis Leon with all my forces, - said Laurens De Vreese.
In the fast uphill final in Stirling two riders of Astana Pro Team showed their legs, bringing to the Kazakh Team the first Top-10 placements in 2020 season: Fabio Felline finished 5th, while Luis Leon Sanchez did 8th.
- I think, we can be happy with this stage as we showed that the team is ready for something more in this race. Laurens did a great job in the breakaway and his red number as the most competitive rider of the day is well-deserved. In the last lap all teams tried to stay in front and the pace of the group was really high, so it was practically impossible to try something different. Anyway, our riders worked well in the final, Omar Fraile, Fabio Felline and Luis Leon Sanchez were presented in front of the pack and in the end, we have two Top-10 placements. In a final like today it is a good result. Unfortunately, we had Manuele Boaro involved in a crash inside the final two kilometers but looks like he escaped with just some minor injuries, - said Stefano Zanini, sports director of Astana Pro Team.
The Australian rider Caleb Ewan won the final sprint ahead of Daryl Impey and Nathan Haas.
Ewan is the new overall leader, while Sanchez and Felline moved up to 14th and 15th places, respectively.
Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under will be held tomorrow: 131 km from Unley to Paracombe with a short but steep climb in the final.
Photo credit: © Getty Images