South Australian Rohan Dennis of Jumbo Visma has won Stage 2 of the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under in sensational style.
32 Dennis soloed to his Victor Harbour victory after a thrilling break that got away with 20km to go.
Fellow breakaway riders included Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates), Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla), Mauro Schmid (Soudal-QuickStep) and Giro winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Not only winning the stage, Dennis also secured the ochre leader’s jersey.
The 2015 Tour Down Under champion was far too good for his four other breakaway companions.
“It was hard,’’ Dennis said. “It was always going to blow up on that climb. It was done before, like when Daryl Impey won in 2018 but I honestly thought it would come back and I wasn’t willing to take that risk when Jay and Yates went up the road.”
“So, I buried myself and hoped it paid off and it did.”
Dennis recorded his first Tour Down Under stage win since claiming the 2015 title when he showcased his bike skills at the uphill Paracombe finish line.
The two-time world-time trial champion and reigning Commonwealth Games gold medalist finished the race ahead of Vine, Schmid, Yates, Hindley and Australia’s sprint gun Caleb Ewan at Victor Harbor.
Although Dennis rued the absence of teammate Robert Gesink who crashed and broke his hip during the Ziptrak stage 1 Tanunda to Tanunda, he was forced to play a tactical game with a man down.
Jayco AlULa was also dealt a major blow on race day when Australia’s Chris Harper didn’t start.
He joined Gesink, Jordi Meeus (Bora-hansgrohe), Australians Graeme Frislie (Australian National Team) and Conor Leahy (Australian National Team) and Patrick Bevin (Team DSM) while Great Britain’s James Knox (Soudal-Quickstep) was disqualified after drafting team cars following a crash on stage 1.
Stage winner – Rohan Dennis (Jumbo Visma)
Santos leader’s jersey – Rohan Dennis (Jumbo Visma)
Ziptrak sprint jersey – Caleb Ewan (Australian National Team)
Efex king of the mountain – Jay Vine (UAE Emirates)
Zwift young rider’s jersey – Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers)
2023 Tour Down Under Top 3
Full stage report to come.