Local Adelaide rider Alex Manly stormed to a special and empathic stage victory for Team Jayco AlUla on today’s stage 2 of the Women’s World Tour race, the Santos Tour Down Under.
Setting the mood early on the 90km stage from Birdwood to Uraidla, Manly picked up two seconds on the intermediate sprint, a true sign of her general classification ambitions.
With Team Jayco AlUla controlling the stage, protecting their lead riders Manly & Ruby Roseman-Gannon, as predicted the real action and race winning move was formed on the final climb of the day, the 6.1km climb Mount Lofty.
Australian champion Brodie Champman accelerated, taking with her a select group over the top of the climb including the Team Jayco AlUla a duo. Coming into the final, Amanda Spratt escaped solo inside the final three kilometres, and it was touch and go as to whether she would hold off the chasers.
Tension built in the group with a cohered effort from the various teams, the group closed in on the three-time former winner. Under the flamme rouge, Roseman-Gannon put in a last-ditch attempt to make the catch, powering towards and past Spratt to give Manly the perfect opportunity to take the stage victory.
Flying round the final corner in first wheel, the speed of Manly was unmatched as she accelerated up the last drag and to the stage win, picking up the points classification lead and overall race lead in the process.
Alex Manly – Stage 2 winner
“I’m so stoked right now, just over the moon! I couldn’t have asked for a better stage to win, these are my local roads. To be in the race lead now, is a dream come true, there’s not another race, other than the Tour de France that I really want to be in the lead, it means a lot to me.
If Ruby had gotten away in the final, I would have been very happy for her to win, but the move that she did, it just forced everybody to chase and then I was able to follow the wheels. We had talked about this before and knew it would be the perfect lead-out to the finish. I am so lucky; I have the best squad out there and we really have and are using our number to our advantage.
We expect that tomorrow Trek-Segafredo will try to put the pressure on us for sure, but we will try and keep the jersey. Me and Ruby are very similar riders so we always know we will be there to back each other up and I am sure tomorrow she will be there with me. We are pretty happy to be in this position so we will give it a good go. I have ridden the roads hundreds of times and I know where the pinches are, so I am really looking forward to it.”
Martin Vestby – Sport Director
“We are very happy, we wanted both Ruby and Alex up there in the final and I think that the girls set up the race and the final really well. We had Alex doing the intermediate sprints to take the bonus seconds that can be valuable, so we gave her the chance today and she pulled it off. It is going to be really hard tomorrow; it would be a lie to not say that Spratty is climbing really well and can put us under pressure, but our strength is the team and we will use that to our best advantage.”
Santos Tour Down Under Stage 2 results:
- Alex Manly 2:23:33
- Georgia Williams
- Nina Buijsman
Santos Tour Down Under – Overall:
- Alex Manly 5:26:20