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The BMC Racing Team, led here by Ben Hermans, made sure it was well positioned in the uphill climb to the finish. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
The BMC Racing Team, led here by Ben Hermans, made sure it was well positioned in the uphill climb to the finish. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 2: Evans Third, Hermans Seventh

22. January 2014

BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans was third and climbed up to fourth overall at the Santos Tour Down Under Wednesday while teammate Ben Hermans finished seventh. Brent Bookwalter, who was one of four BMC Racing Team riders to finish in the same time as stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), is also in the top 10, in eighth.

'Trying To Hold Them Off'

Evans bided his time on the long uphill drag to the line at the end of the 150-kilometer race, following wheels until the sprint began. The 2011 Tour de France and 2009 world road champion initially passed race leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), who finished second. But he could not latch onto the wheel of the fast-charging Ulissi, who earned a 10-second time bonus for the win. Evans said he went to his sprint early, only to get swarmed at the finish. "I don't know where Diego came from, but obviously with his finish yesterday (fourth), he was pretty good and had the legs and the timing to do it today," Evans said. "It was a bit of a lactate run to the line and I was going early and trying to hold them off." In addition to Evans and Hermans, the BMC Racing Team placed Steve Morabito 13th while Bookwalter was 14th. Only 19 riders received the same time as the stage winner. 

Saving Energy For Stage 3

In the overall standings, Gerrans leads Ulissi by seven seconds. André Greipel (Lotto Belisol Team) is third, at 11 seconds, while Evans is 13 seconds back. Bookwalter is a further eight seconds back of his teammate. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato said it would have been advantageous to have had a harder day and more difficult finish. "There was a lot of road to come back and recover," Fabio said. "We decided to save energy for tomorrow, which can be the hardest and can change things. We are there, not only with Cadel, but also with Ben and Brent and also Steve Morabito. I hope the numbers can give us a little help." Thursday's stage includes the climb of Montacute/Corkscrew Road in the final kilometers, followed by a plunge to the finish. Evans said he doesn't know if it will prove decisive. "It depends on the group in front, what the wind does and collaboration and combination of the riders in the first and second groups," he said. "It's still pretty open, but every time you lose seconds on the general classification, it is less chance you are going to be up there on the GC."

Listen to complete comments on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race on our Flickr gallery.