CCC Team rider Patrick "Paddy" Bevin continued his strong start to the season with a win at Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under. The recently crowned New Zealand national time trial champion sprinted to the win on his TCR Advanced SL team bike and moved into the race lead at the weeklong WorldTour race in Australia.
Bevin made the most of a chaotic finale to launch his sprint with perfect timing at 150 meters to go. Wearing the Giant Pursuit aero road helmet and riding a prototype WheelSystem currently labeled #overachieve, he beat Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan to the line to deliver CCC Team’s first WorldTour win of the season. It was also Bevin’s first ever WorldTour win.
“It’s huge,” Bevin said. “WorldTour wins are so hard to come by. Like I said here yesterday when I was most aggressive rider, we are going to fight for everything we can get. This [CCC Team] is a revamped outfit with a totally different mindset, totally different goals, and we want to give it everything we have. I love the Tour Down Under. It’s always been a great race for me.”
With 10 bonus seconds from his stage win, in addition to 5 bonus seconds from stage one, Bevin now leads the Tour Down Under by 5 seconds over Italian Elia Viviani and 9 seconds over Ewan with four stages remaining.
The sprint finish came after a relatively quiet day for Bevin and his CCC Team teammates after a three-rider breakaway went clear in the early kilometers and continued to hover around 2 minutes ahead. The peloton pulled the breakaway back inside the final 50km of the 122km stage and then chased down a solo break 3km from the finish in Angaston. A large crash in the final kilometer disrupted the sprint leadouts and allowed Bevin to chase down Luis Leon Sanchez, who was the first rider to launch his sprint.
“Coming into two kilometers to go I got myself in a really good position and I put myself on the shoulder and as that crash happened, I came around,” Bevin said. “Straight sprinting I wasn’t going to be able to beat those guys, but I had to capitalize on how hard it was.”
Looking ahead, Bevin said he will continue to fight for a high GC position. “It’s a long week from here," he said. We have had the two easy days so we’ll look at tomorrow. Tomorrow is tough. It’s my fourth time at the Santos Tour Down Under and I think it’s the toughest stage I’ve ever done. Leading the race changes the tactics a bit, you absorb a bit more pressure, but I feel like we are in a great position to box on in the next four stages.”