Diego Ulissi Surprises Tour Down Under On Stage 2

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ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 22, 2014 (AFP) – Italy’s Diego Ulissi edged out
Australian Simon Gerrans in a powerful final sprint to win the second stage of
the Tour Down Under in southern Australia on Wednesday.

Ulissi, 24, attacked from 100 metres out on a long, uphill finish and went
clear of the chasing pack, finishing three bike lengths ahead of Gerrans and
Australia’s Cadel Evans.

“It was great to win here, I was very motivated because this is my kind of
finish,” Ulissi said through an interpreter.

Gerrans retained the ochre overall leader’s jersey and is now seven seconds
clear of Ulissi on general classification, with the Italian moving to second
thanks to the stage win.

Germany’s Andre Greipel is in third place, 11 seconds behind Gerrans.

Wednesday’s 150-kilometre (93-mile) stage began in the Adelaide suburb of
Prospect in cool, overcast conditions and took the cyclists on a testing
course through the Adelaide Hills, finishing with three 21-kilometre laps
around the town of Stirling.

Four kilometres into the race, Australian pair Will Clarke (Drapac) and
Campbell Flakemore (UniSA) broke away alongside Dutchman Boy Van Poppel (Trek
Factory Racing).

However, the trio never got more than three minutes clear and it was
inevitable the peloton would catch them, which it did at the start of the last
lap around Stirling.

Attacks came thick and fast on the final lap, with first the Tinkoff-Saxo
team and then Team Sky trying to break the peloton up.

But every move was countered by Gerrans’ strong Orica GreenEdge team and it
looked as though the Australian was in pole position to claim his second stage
win in a row.

Evans’ BMC Racing team also brought the former Tour de France winner to the
front, but both Australians were caught on the hop when Ulissi launched his
attack.

“Hats off to Ulissi, he timed that sprint just perfectly,” Gerrans said.

“He got the jump on us there with a hundred metres to go and we couldn’t
catch him.

“I was definitely satisfied getting time bonuses, it would have been nice
to get another stage win today, but you can’t win them all.”

A disappointed Evans conceded he had got his timing wrong.

“Yesterday I went too late and got closed in and today I went too early and
got swamped at the finish — maybe I’ll get it right in the next few days,” he
said.

Greipel was the only sprinter to survive when the peloton splintered on the
final climb, finishing in 19th at the tail end of the leading group.

However, officials later awarded most of the peloton the same time as the
leaders due to a crash within three kilometres of the finish.

Thursday’s 145-kilometre stage takes the riders from Norwood to
Campbelltown and includes the notorious Corkscrew Road hill.

Results after the 150-kilometre
(93-mile) second stage of the Tour Down Under from Prospect to Stirling in
South Australia on Wednesday.

1. Diego Ulissi (ITA/Lampre-Merida) 3hr 52min 14 sec
2. Simon Gerrans (AUS/Orica GreenEdge) same time
3. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC Racing) s.t.
4. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/Astana) s.t.
5. Robert Gesink (BEL/Belkin) s.t.
6. Richie Porte (AUS/Team Sky) s.t.
7. Ben Hermans (BEL/BMC Racing) s.t.
8. Fabio Felline (ITA/Trek Factory Racing) s.t.
9. Javier Morena (ESP/Movistar) s.t.
10. Daryl Impey (RSA/Orica GreenEdge) s.t.
Selected
2. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto-Belisol) s.t.
29. Frank Schleck (LUX/Trek Factory Racing) s.t.
70. Geraint Thomas (GBR/Team Sky) s.t.

General classification
1. Simon Gerrans (AUS/Orica GreenEdge) 7hr 12min 31sec
2. Diego Ulissi (ITA/Lampre-Merida) at 7 seconds
3. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto-Belisol) +11
4. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC Racing) +13
5. Steele Von Hoff (AUS/Garmin-Sharpe) s.t.
6. Simon Geschke (GER/Giant-Shimano) +16
7. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/Astana) +17
8. Robert Gesink (BEL/Belkin) s.t.
9. Maxime Bouet (FRA/AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
10. Geraint Thomas (GBR/Team Sky) s.t.
Selected
16. Richie Porte (AUS/Team Sky) +21
20. Frank Schleck (LUX/Trek Factory Racing) s.t.
38. Javier Moreno (ESP/Movistar) s.t.

King of the Mountain
1. Adam Hansen (AUS/Lotto-Belisol) 20 points
2. William Clarke (AUS/Drapac) 20 points
3. Axel Domont (FRA/AG2R La Mondiale) 12 points

Sprint
1. Simon Gerrans (AUS/Orica GreenEdge) 31 points
2. Diego Ulissi (ITA/Lampre-Merida) 27 points
3. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/Astana) 22 points

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