The sprinters were expected to show their stuff on stage two of the 2019 Tour Down Under, with a twist as the route culminated in an uphill stretch.
Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was looking to repeat his stage one sprint success while Caleb Ewan (Lotto – Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora – Hansgrohe) target their first victories of 2019.
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Stage two was a 122.1km run from Norwood to Angaston, north-east of Adelaide and featured a few lumps along the way.
But the test was not expected to be too much for the likes of Sagan, Ewan and Viviani as a bunch sprint was predicted, despite the uphill run to the line.
The stage was shortened by 26.9km due to the extreme heat and wind that so often characterises the Tour Down Under.
Weather in South Australia often plays its part in the Tour Down Under. Riders specifically arrive early to prepare for their upcoming seasons and for the extreme heat that grips this part of the world in its summer months. The mercury in January regularly climbs into the 40s.
Home favourite Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) is hoping to extend his run of success at the TDU, so will have been keen to keep himself and his team out of trouble in the opening frantic sprint.
Last year’s overall winner Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) is another pre-race favourite trying to have a safe and stress free run to the line on the opening day.
Catch up on the best bits from stage two or you can read everything that happened in our race report.
The 2019 Tour Down Under started on Tuesday (January 14) and ends on Sunday (January 20) atop the now famous Willunga Hill.
Thanks to the men’s race being at the very start of the international cycling calendar, the Tour Down Under always enjoys considerable attention from cycling fans across the world, eager to see a bit of bike racing after a few fallow months.
Maybe as a result of those few months without cycling, but the racing always seems entertaining too, and although some parts of the peloton use it as a chance to cruise around and enjoy some good weather, at the front the racing is fierce as riders try to pick up crucial WorldTour points early in the year.