Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 of the Women's Tour Down Under.
Stage 1 winner Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-Soudal) tops the general classification with a 2-second lead on Georgia Baker (Liv AlUla Jayco) and 6 seconds on Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ). A total of 51 riders are separated by 10 seconds or less on GC.
Stage 2 of the Women's Tour Down Under is set to start in just under five minutes. At 104.2km long today’s stage is the longest in the history of the race. The route from Glenelg to Stirling will deliver lumpy terrain with 2079m of climbing with an uphill kick before the line.
Today is predicted to be a stage where the GC riders need to stay wary, but the GC will likely come down to the final stage. As cliched as it may sound, it's not a day where the race is likely to be won, it's a day where it could be lost.
The riders are rolling through 8.1km neutral section on their way to the official start. A bit cooler today with a forecast high of 31 degrees Celsius under cloudy skies, but wind could be a factor today, with possible gusts of 30 to 50 km/h predicted.
2020 overall winner Ruth Edwards won a stage with a similar finish in Stirling. We don’t know how I’m going to do and that’s kind of fun’ she said on Women’s Tour Down Under on return from retirement to Cyclingnews’ Australia editor Simone Giuliani. Read more in Women's Tour Down Under reboot begins for Ruth Edwards
Crash in neutral. Amanda Poulsen (BridgeLane) who was already sporting bandages from a crash yesterday, and Kimberley Le Court De Billot (AG Insurance-Soudal) were involved.
Bike change for Lillee Pollock (BridgeLane) while still in neutral section. Official start is delayed until all riders have caught back to the peloton.
Flag drop by race director Stuart O’Grady and we're out of the neutral zone and racing has started!
The first challenge comes early, only 12km into the stage with the cat 1 climb of Cherry Gardens, 2.9km long with an average gradient of 5.9% and a max gradient of 15.6%.
Katia Ragusa (Human Powered Health) took the full 10 QOM points available while in the break on stage 1. Will she defend her QOM leader’s jersey? We will know very soon.
Visma-Lease a Bike upping the pace at the front, fighting with Lidl-Trek for control, hoping to split the race in the cross headwind.
Sarah Roy (Australian National Team) crashes over the traffic island while trying to avoid riders breaking in front of her. She is quickly back on her bike and trying to catch back onto the field.
Big fight for position as the peloton with 5km to go to the first QOM with 10 points on offer.
93km to go
Teams fighting for position at the front on the first climb of the day with riders dropping off the back under pressure from the pace.
Lily Williams leads out her teammate Ragusa who sprints out of the saddle with 200 meters to go to take the maximum 10 points.
Riders speeding down the descent at 82km/hr with dsm-firmenich PostNL at the front, striking out the peloton. Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance-Soudal) at the back.
Peloton regroups at the bottom of the descent, surrounded by the vineyards with 83km to go. AG Insurance-Soudal at the front setting the pace for the ochre jersey, Some riders still trying to catch back on after dropping on the climb.
Check out the the hottest gear from the season opener with our member-exclusive a Tour Down Under mega tech gallery including bikes from Cecilia Uttrup Ludwig, and Ruby Roseman-Gannon.
Gina Ricardo (BridgeLane) takes a solo flyer, with a few riders covering her attack,
Ricardo moved up on the side of the peloton, riding on the grave section to make her attack but it was to naught, as the field is back together.
70km to go
Less than 2kms to the first intermediate sprint. Teams getting organized at the front for the points, and the all-important time bonus seconds on offer. AG Insurance-Soudal moving up to the front for the ochre jersey Ally Wollaston who wants to keeo the leader's jersey after today's stage.
Another crash for Amanda Paulson (BridgeLane) who ran out of room at the road narrowed. Two teammates waited for her.
Long range battle for the points and time bonus. Georgia Howe leading her Liv AlUla Jayco team at the front but FDJ-SUEZ takes over. They started the sprint super early.
Dominika Wlodarczyk (UAE Team AQD) takes the points and bonus seconds on the first intermediate sprint.
Sensing a change in the wind direction, Visma-Lease a Bike puts the hammer down at the front.
Field all together with 60km to go. Teams staying attentive to any change of wind direction. A few riders straggling at the back, under pressure from the high pace.
50km to go
Peloton all together, jostling for position for the second intermediate sprint in Mylor, followed by the two-and-a-half laps of a circuit through Stirling, that takes in the final climb three times. The selection for the win will probably be made on the 2km at 3.9% climb.
UAE Team AQD with big leadout for Dominika Wlodarczyk who once again gets top points in the second intermediate sprint.
Attacks from BridgeLane, first from Gina Ricardo and then Haylee Fuller who gets a small gap with 49km to go.
Full results of the second intermediate sprint:
1- Dominika Wlodarczyk (UAE Team AQD)
2 - Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Liv AlUla Jayco) who also took second in the first intermediate sprint.
3- Lily Williams (Human Powered Health)
Haylee Fuller (BridgeLane) is off the front solo with 26 seconds lead to the peloton at 46km to go.
Heading through the finish line for the first time with 42km to go, Fuller has 24 seconds lead with some riders from Lifeplus Wahoo, Human Powered Health and more trying to jump across.
Group of 5 coming together off the front. Joining Fuller are Emily Watts (Australia), Krista Doebel-Hickok (Human Powered Health), Ella Simpson (ARA - Slip Capital), and Karin Söderqvist (Lifeplus Wahoo).
Meanwhile, riders falling off the pace at the back of the peloton.
Peloton shut down the move with 39km to go. Lidl-Trek in the middle, all bunched around Amanda Soratt. Georgia Howe for Liv AlUla Jayco and Sarah Gigante for AG Insurance-Soudal at the front.
33km to go. three-time winner Amanda Spratt (Lidl-Trek) is moving to the front.
“It's gonna be a really tough day today. I was down here in December, reckoning here and I just think it's a really unpredictable stage. We've finished in Stirling before, but I think overall the stage is harder than what we've seen before. We have almost 2000 metres of climbing. It’s another hot day in the legs, and I think we're gonna have a pretty reduced sprint at the end in Stirling or a breakaway,” Spratt, winner of the race from 2017 to 2019, said before the start.
Edwards is marking Spratt who is sitting behind her teammate at the front. More riders under pressure are falling off the pace at the back of the field.
25km to go
The riders will soon begin their second out of three ascensions of the cat 2 Stirling Climb, and this time QOM points will be on the line. Ragusa hold the QOM lead with 20 points.
Human Powered Health's Lily Williams at the front on the climb, setting the pace for Ragusa who sits in second wheel.
Ragusa easily gets top points with no one challenging her for the QOM. And Lidl-Trek attacks immediately after the climb.
Lidl-Trek’s Brodie Chapman was brought back. Quick counter by Elizabeth Stannard (Australia) but that attack is also shutdown.
Mechanical for Audrey Cordon-Ragot who calmly waits for her team car to get a new bike.
Full results of the second QOM:
1- Katia Ragusa (Human Powered Health)
2- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ)
3- Brodie Chapman (Lidl-Trek)
4- Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ)
Emily Watts (Australia) takes advantage of a lull in the peloton and attacks with 16km to go
Watts is out of sight of the peloton on the twisty road and gets 11 seconds. No reaction from the peloton.
Watts is driving her bike as fast as she can and now has a 30-second lead with 13km to go and teams are lining up at the front but show no urgency with 12km to go.
10km to go
Watts has 20 seconds to a significantly reduced peloton massed across the road.
Peloton reels Watts back in with 8kms to go under the impetus of an attack by Franziska Koch (dsm-firmenich PostNL)
Lidl-Trek at the front setting a fast tempo, making it hard for the reduced field to nullify any attacks. Ilaria Sanguineti pulls out leaving Brodie Chapman to continue the fast pace.
AG Insurance-Soudal takes over the front with Liv AlUla Jayco behind them with 6km to go.
Lauretta Hanson winds up the pace to thin out the peloton as they get to the 5km to go. And then her teammate Chapman goes off the front.
All back together again. Uttrup Ludwig staying attentive and moving up.
4kms to go and AG Insurance-Soudal is back at the front. Ochre jersey Wollaston is barely hanging at the back.
Field is strung under the impetus of AG Insurance-Soudal with 3kms to go. It’s all uphill to the finish. Can they hold the pace?
Positioning starting to become critical with 2km to go. Teams moving up.
Gigante lost all her AG Insurance-Soudal teammates at the front and Uttrup Ludwig is now third wheel.
Less than 1km to go!
Uttrup Ludwig takes the win in Stirling!
FDJ-Suez' Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig took the sprint ahead of Soraya Paladin (Canyon-Sram) and Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ).
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) wins stage 2 from reduced uphill sprint in Stirling
Uttrup Ludwig takes over the ochre leader's jersey with 2 seconds on Bertizzolo and 3 seconds on Roseman-Gannon. The top 19 riders on the general classification are separated by 10 seconds!
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) is the new race leader with one stage to go. Stage 3 with the finish on Willunga Hill will decide the overall winner.
“I’m just excited, I’ve done it a couple of times as recon and I think it’s going to be fireworks. It should be exciting,” Uttrup Ludwig said of the iconic climb.