Another early-season win for Trek-Segafredo as Danish champion Mads Pedersen claims bunch sprint on stage two of the 2018 Herald Sun Tour in Australia

Danish road race champion Mads Pedersen handed Trek-Segafredo another 2018 victory on Friday, winning the bunch sprint at the end of stage two of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia.

Pedersen surged to victory in Ballarat at the end of the hilly day, with Australian riders Steele von Hoff (Bennelong SwissWellness) and Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) settling for second and third.

This latest win is added to Trek’s collectively impressive tally for 2018 so far which also includes three races in the Challenge Mallorca and two stages of the Vuelta a San Juan.

>>> Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2018: Everything you need to know

Pedersen’s Danish compatriot Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) finished safely in the bunch despite a crash early on in the stage to keep hold of the overall race lead, having taken the general classification top spot after winning the previous day’s stage.

A seven-rider escape group got away in the opening stages of the day, building up a lead of around five minutes.

The route of the stage had been diverted along a dirt road for seven kilometres due to roadworks at the last minute, and this section was neutralised by the race commissaires in the interest of rider safety and fairness.

After the bunch had navigated the gravel road, the break was allowed to re-establish the time advantage it had prior to the sector, and the racing re-started.

However, the break started to fall apart as pressure mounted from the chasing peloton. Inside 20km to go and as the terrain started to get hillier, the break consisted of just four riders with a minute’s gap.

As the escape was caught on the Buninyong climb, there were a couple of attacks, but it was all back together over the top.

Trek-Segafredo’s Koen de Kort put in a big effort to set up Pedersen for the win, and the Dane duly took the victory.

Race leader Hansen finished in 38th spot in the bunch to keep the overall lead, with von Hoff moving up to second overall at four seconds and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) slipping to third at nine seconds.

British rider Tom Stewart (JLT Condor) continued his solid showing at the race finishing fourth on the stage and sitting in fifth place overall.

The general classification could receive a shake-up on Saturday, with the race’s main climbing stage with a summit finish at Lake Mountain. The race then concludes on Sunday, February 4.

Result

Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2018, stage two: Warrnambool to Ballarat, 198.6km
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 5-23-12
2. Steele von Hoff (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness
3. Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Thomas Stuart (GBr) JLT Condor
5. Cyrus Monk (Aus) Drapac–EF
6. Zakkari Dempster (Den) Israel Cycling Academy
7. Ryan Thomas (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team
8. Tim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Ryan Christensen (Aus) Olivers Real Food Racing
10. August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy, all same time

General classification after stage two
1. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport, in 9-01-54
2. Steele von Hoff (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness, at 4 secs
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 9 secs
4. Cameron Bayly (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness, at 14 secs
5. Thomas Stewart (GBr) JLT Condor, at 15 secs
6. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 16 secs
7. Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 16 secs
8. Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij, at 18 secs
9. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo, at 22 secs
10. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 23 secs