Bonus seconds soften blow of a crash-marred finish to Santos Tour Down Under stage 2 for ORICA-GreenWed 20 Jan 2016
Three-time winner and 2016 general classification aspirant Simon Gerrans has been taken down by a crash in the final kilometre of stage two at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Gerrans was perfectly positioned behind teammate Daryl Impey coming into the final only to have a touch of wheels and crash occur immediately ahead, taking the pair out.
Softening the blow, the 35-year-old picked up five bonus seconds at intermediate sprints to keep him in contention for the overall title.
“The guys rode the perfect race for us,” Gerrans, who like teammate Impey only suffer minor abrasions, said. “They dragged that first break back so we could pick up the first intermediate sprint seconds and then Adam slipped away but we were able to pick up some more seconds in the next sprint.”
“Coming into the finish we were exactly where we needed to be. We were really well placed and Daryl was just about to go around the group and open up before there was a touch of wheels in front.
“All is not lost, we picked up a valuable five seconds on the road but I’m obviously bitterly disappointed that we didn’t finish off the teamwork by winning the stage.”
Sport director Matt White, said it was an unfortunate end to the stage but was proud of the efforts on whole team today.
“I’m really proud of the boys,” White said. “Again they took responsibility and delivered.”
“We picked up some good time bonuses today, which was the plan, and they did everything perfectly right up until a few hundred metres to go when they were taken out at no fault of their own at a crucial moment.
“The good news is that Daryl and Simon are both OK and will be able to start tomorrow.”
How it happened:
As stage two rolled out from Unley riders headed towards Stirling for five finishing circuits, the most laps in the race’s history.
With the sprinters adamant the stage was too difficult to see them feature at the finish, eyes were on the general classification contenders and battle for bonus seconds ahead of the tougher stages to come.
ORICA-GreenEDGE was the most eager to maximise the opportunity and led Gerrans out to claim maximum points at the first intermediate sprint ahead of teammate and race leader Caleb Ewan who patrolled any other contenders.
With Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) out in front solo for the second opportunity, Gerrans and Ewan again contested to roll away with the minor bonuses.
From there Hansen remained in front, hovering at around two-minutes advantage, until he was brought back in on the final lap.
As the race picked up for the final sprint a crash involving Astana Pro Team and the ORICA-GreenEDGE pair took them out of contention as Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) rode to victory and the overall lead.