Sun Tour: Orica regains the EDGE with Clarke in yellow


Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Clarke wins stage 2 and takes lead from Garmin whilst Scott Davies is leading Brit with 18th after great ride by first year senior

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After being outclassed in the opening two days of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the Australian WorldTour team turned the tables on rivals Garmin-Sharp as Simon Clarke’s bold breakaway was rewarded with a stage two victory into Bendigo and the leader’s yellow jersey.

Clarke led home Cameron Wurf (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and 20-year-old Bendigo local Jack Haig (Avanti Cycling Team), as the trio successfully held the peloton at bay after escaping over the category one climb at Mount Alexander. In a move initiated at the 20 kilometre mark of the stage, Clarke and Haig spent over 100 kilometres off the front of the peloton, joined by former Olympic rower Wurf over the top of the day’s major climb.

Seventeen riders made the initial escape before it was whittled to three up the climb. Stage one winner Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) crossed the line seventh on the stage, as part of the second group on the road led home by current Australian champion Simon Gerrans. Haas lost over one minute on the stage to Clarke.

A former white jersey winner at the race, Clarke’s victory in the 163 kilometre second stage from Ballarat to Bendigo was his first at the Tour. Clarke cited the rivalry between the Orica-GreenEDGE and Garmin-Sharp’s brigade of young Australian riders as motivation to correct an unexpectedly understated opening to the Tour.

“It was a very hard day out there, we had to just try and give it to Garmin,” said Clarke. “Yesterday ‘Haasy’ was just so strong, Cam Meyer and I tried to ‘one-two’ him, and he was just all over us, and he beat us all in the sprint.

“We really had to go out on the front foot and try and put them on the back foot and we managed to do that.”

It was a case of executing the game plan to the letter for Orica-GreenEDGE as Clarke said his tactic was to get into the break and apply the squeeze to those around him up the testing final climb of the day. “The group through the day wasn’t working ideally, so on the climb there at Mount Alexander we had to try and buy a lottery ticket.”

“Fortunately Cam Wurf was there, who is just as strong as an Ox, so I said to the other boys when we were near to the top to make sure we wait for him and as you saw he was of great value to the breakaway and pretty much the reason we stayed away.”

Clarke revealed Orica-GreenEDGE teammate Mitch Docker had also been sent up the road with the sole responsibility of ensuring that the break stayed away long enough for him to pounce on the category one Mount Alexander climb.

“I’ve really got to thank [Docker], he did an awesome job, managed to set it up for me, I attacked on the climb, and just made sure I didn’t try and go solo, but just break it down so that there was a couple of us that could really commit, and who better than Cam and Jack Haig to have with us.”

With the time bonus on the stage win, Clarke holds an eight second advantage over Wurf in the general classification, with Haig moving into the State Government of Victoria White Jersey a further three seconds back. With the powerful Orica-GreenEDGE team at his disposal, Clarke has his sights firmly set on holding onto the leader’s yellow jersey through to the finish line on Arthur’s Seat.

“You see the honour roll and I’d love to have my name on there,” Clarke said. “We’re working hard, so let’s hope I still have the yellow jersey on Sunday. “I’ve had my fair share of doing the (support) job, and hopefully they can repay me this week, that would be great.”

Fresh from winning the best young rider jersey at the Tour Down Under, another person with eyes to wearing yellow on Sunday is Bendigo-local Haig. “I’d like to think I do have a chance in there, but it will be hard.”

A nonchalant Haig admitted he was keen to perform well on the run into his hometown, but had earmarked the day as another bike race with a job to do. “I just head out there and do what I do best,” he said. “I definitely did think about coming into Bendigo, I knew the roads quite well, and I knew there would be quite a few people out there cheering.”

Haig said local knowledge became useful late in the stage with little left in reserve for the closing kilometres into the finish. “Knowing the roads was handy, because I was struggling so much, I knew exactly how far I had to go, where the climbs were, where the descents were, where I could rest, so it was handy knowing that sort of stuff.”

“I’ve definitely got a good chance of a podium as well, I’d like to think that I have a small chance of maybe being able to take yellow, but it’s going to be so hard to take it off a class rider like Simon.”

Clarke’s stage victory also secured him the Chain Reaction Cycles Sprinters jersey while Thomas Hamilton (Jayco Australian U23 National Team) maintained the Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain Jersey through his efforts on the day’s climbs in the breakaway.

Wurf’s aggression over the closing stages of the race was rewarded with the Subaru Orange Most Aggressive Jersey for the stage.

1 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 04:05:01
2 WURF Cameron Cannondale 00:01
3 HAIG Jack Avanti Cycling Team @ st
4 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 01:11
5 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale @ st
6 CANTWELL Jonathan Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
7 HAAS Nathan Garmin Sharp @ st
8 BETTIOL Alberto Cannondale @ st
9 VAN DER PLOEG Neil Avanti Cycling Team @ st
10 SHAW Patrick KordaMentha Team Australia @ st

18 DAVIES Scott Great Britain @ st
20 LAPTHORNE Darren Drapac Professional Cycling @ 1:16
31 NORRIS Lachlan Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
35 COOPER Joseph Avanti Cycling Team @ 1:27
37 DENNIS Rohan Garmin Sharp @ 9:41
38 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp @ st
41 SMITH Dion New Zealand 14:29
47 CARTHY Hugh Rapha Condor JLT @ st
52 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE @ 25:16
61 BURTON Germain Great Britain @ st
62 ENGLISH Felix Rapha Condor JLT @ st
63 MOSES Thomas Rapha Condor JLT @ st
69 SCULLY Thomas New Zealand @ st
78 OPIE Christopher Rapha Condor JLT @ 29:03
80 HANDLEY Richard Rapha Condor JLT @ st
83 CUMING Michael Rapha Condor JLT @ st
86 WITMITZ Sam Team Budget Forklifts @ st
87 LAWLESS Christopher Great Britain @ st
88 RENDALL James African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team @ st

DNF RAGAN Jacob Great Britain –
DNF WOOD Olivier Great Britain –
DNF LATHAM Christopher Great Britain –

1 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 07:12:08
2 WURF Cameron Cannondale 00:08
3 HAIG Jack Avanti Cycling Team 00:11
4 HAAS Nathan Garmin Sharp 01:09
5 VAN DER PLOEG Neil Avanti Cycling Team 01:21
6 CANTWELL Jonathan Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
7 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 01:22
8 O’ SHEA Glenn KordaMentha Team Australia 01:23
9 CLARKE William Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
10 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE @ st
11 DOCKER Mitchell Orica GreenEDGE 01:24
12 NORRIS Lachlan Drapac Professional Cycling 01:28
13 CARPENTER Harry Jayco U23 National Team @ st
14 CLEMENTS Alex Jayco U23 National Team @ st
15 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale 01:29
16 SHAW Patrick KordaMentha Team Australia @ st
17 ROE Thimothy Team Budget Forklifts 01:30
18 LAPTHORNE Darren Drapac Professional Cycling 01:31
19 GILLETT Rhys African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team @ st
20 POWER Robert Jayco U23 National Team @ st

33. DAVIES Scott Great Britain



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