James Gullen won the second stage of the race after Russell Downing came second on the opening day

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Overnight, James Gullen took a solo win in the Tour de Taiwan. He crossed the line a handful of seconds ahead of a reduced peloton and with it moves into the race lead.

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The stage, which finished in New Taipei City, was remarkably sunnier compared with Sunday’s opening stage, which saw Russell Downing claim second on a rain-soaked street of downtown Taipei. Crashes took down Brenton Jones and Edmund Bradbury in the final corners, forcing Downing to adapt his lead-out for Brenton to turn it into a long sprint to the line.

“After yesterday’s stage and perfect riding from the team, we were disappointed a stage win didn’t come to fruition. Today the riders were really focused to bring home a win.”

Russell Downing comes close on stage one of the Tour de Taiwan

“The team was working for Russell Downing, with the aim of positioning him for the intermediate sprints and take time bonuses and move him into the yellow jersey”, explained race team manager, Tim Kennaugh.

Halfway through the 114km stage, the peloton split as attacks came on the only climb of the day. A mechanical for Ian Bibby meant he was unable to feature in the 30-rider move. The group, containing Edmund Bradbury and James Gullen, worked well to maintain their lead over the rest of the chasing pack.

“When it was clear that the group with Russ and Brenton wouldn’t make it back to us, Tim [Kennaugh] adapted our race plan and told us to ride for ourselves. I put in a big attack at 5km to go and got my head down, into time trial mode and went for the line”, explained stage winner, James Gullen.

Behind, Edmund Bradbury sprinted to second to take the time bonuses away from the yellow jersey of Columbian, Elvin Avila, making it a 1-2 stage result for JLT Condor.

The racing continues tomorrow with a 118km stage and summit finish in Jiaobanshan Park.

The race is live on the Tour de Taiwan YouTube channel and on Eurosport Asia/Eurosport Australia from 8am (local time) / 1am (GMT).