Corbin Strong and Stevie Williams narrowly missed the win on stage two of the Tour Down Under after a late attack from Isaac Del Toro (UAE Team Emirates) thwarted a bunch sprint in Lobethal, but the IPT duo outlined their form as they sprinted to second and third place respectively.
Two days into the first WorldTour stage race and so far, so good, with Strong now sitting in second place on the General Classification, two seconds behind new race leader Del Toro, while Williams is tied for third place.
“It was really gutting to miss the win,” said Strong. “The team rode exceptionally all day and with Stevie and I going second and third, it is definitely bittersweet. We had our eyes set on this one and to get second and third, it’s still a good day for the team but we really wanted to take the win home today. Kudos to Del Toro who won today, it was a nice move at the finish.
“We are two days into the season and both days the team has been exceptional. Everyone is buying into the team goal and all of the goals have great legs.”
Photo: Guillaume Boivin keeps Corbin Strong well-placed in the peloton
The 141.6-kilometer stage, which started in the Adelaide suburb of Norwood, was trickier than the profile suggested, with two short, uncategorized climbs in the final 12 kilometers. The approach to the finish line was far from flat, too, so there are positives to be had despite narrowly missing out on what would have been IPT’s first stage victory in the WorldTour season opener.
Sports Director Sam Bewley said: “The stage suited Corbin really well. We didn’t know how fast some of the guys like Luke Plapp would go up that final climb but fortunately for us, there was a headwind. We kind of got away with not working too much during the stage so we had a full contingent of guys to position them in the finish. We knew it was a good stage for Corbin if he could get over that climb and he obviously thought he could. It would have been nice to get the win but we’ll take second and third on the stage for sure.”
Both Thursday’s stage, which runs from Tea Tree Gully to Campbelltown, and Friday’s leg between Murray Bridge and Port Elliot look well-suited to the sprinters.
Strong added: “I think we can be excited for the next four days. My shape has been good leading into the week. We have another couple of flat stages before the legs really start doing the talking this weekend. Hopefully I can get to the weekend in a good position.”