The aftermath of Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under

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Will Clarke, 500m before the finish line of Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under (Image: David Hill Photography)

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Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under was a great struggle between a remarkable one man breakaway and the rest of the chasing pack.

The pressure on the front end ended up blowing a world class pack apart on the streets around Stirling.

Some riders were more than 15 minutes adrift coming through the scenic Aldgate streets.

I caught up with some of the Uni SA riders coming back from stage 2, from Lobethal to Stirling. I was riding myself, labouring up the climb out of Stirling where they had just finished up a 15% gradient, and they chatted to me effortlessly after a 148 Km stage that saw many highly credentialed riders on the rivet.

I commented that all things must have gone to plan as their team won in the shape of an audacious display from William Clarke. The tall Tasmanian’s (6 foot 4 in the old money) thrilling breakaway today not only won him the stage but also went close to putting the young Taswegian in the Ochre jersey for the Tour.

At one stage he was over 12 minutes in front of the peloton and the virtual leader of the Tour.

Lachlan Norris from Uni SA agreed with my thoughts – the plan was to allow Lachlan to get almost two minutes behind yesterday and go off the front today.

Never the less, even if that was not the plan, the young composite team worked well to support Norris and were ecstatic with his win.

The eclectic group of talented riders were only put together for this Tour and some were very late additions – Clarke being one of these riders. They are always an exciting team to support as they are picked on very current form.

They honour the team jersey well and these guys are at the forefront of the sport. You can see the miles in their legs but also the vision in their eyes. With the UCI World Tour looking on, they often throw caution to the wind, and send shudders through their competitors bodies as they attack without fear and with nothing to lose.

It can only bode well for the sport to have such a team, and why not two in 2013?

Surely the success of this team proves that the model works and could be further supported.

In this wave of cycling support we have for Cadel Evans, our Tour de France winner, the GreenEDGE team in the pro tour and more cyclists than ever on the road.

Director of the Tour Down Under, Mike Turtur, may want to consider a second local team.

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