Rosskopf, who earned the Most Aggressive Rider award on Stage 1, came out swinging again on the 135km Stage 2 from Woodside to Stirling. The hilly stage included two KOMs on an opening circuit in Woodside, and Rosskopf, riding his TCR Advanced SL team bike with a CADEX WheelSystem, made an attack straight from the start to aim for those points.
“I earned it the hard way,” said Rosskopf. “I’m super satisfied as it was nice to get something out of the breakaway. Yesterday wasn’t super crucial as the bonus points on the climbs were only six points and today, each time over, was ten points, so it added up quickly. If I could win both times today, then I knew I would have a chance of keeping the jersey for a while depending on how the next climbs play out, with the KOMs on Paracombe, Victor Harbor and Willunga.”
The six-day Santos Tour Down Under is the traditional opener to the UCI WorldTour season. The team suffered a setback before the start when Patrick Bevin experienced an irregular heartbeat while training and was forced to sit out. The New Zealander won a stage and wore the Tour Down Under leader’s jersey last year and was expected to be the team’s leader once again. While he was unable to start, the team’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa, said that fortunately Bevin’s condition is quite common and he was able to be treated.
“Losing Paddy Bevin before the race started was a big blow but it gives everyone a bit more of a free role,” said Rosskopf after taking the KOM lead. “One of the big goals is still to support Simon Geschke for the overall, and Szymon Sajnok for some sprints. He is a young guy, but he was up there today, looking good on the last lap. They’re both riding really well.”
Geschke, who finished 11th on Stage 2, is the team’s top rider in the general classification. He sits 19th overall, 10 seconds behind race leader Caleb Ewan, with four stages left.
The Tour Down Under continues Thursday with Stage 3 and will finish Sunday with the decisive Willunga Hill stage.