Ben Swift Wins Stage 2 of 2011 Tour Down Under for Team Sky

News & Results

01/19/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Ben Swift (Team Sky) wins stage 2 of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Ben Swift (Team Sky) wins stage 2 of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Ben Swift Wins Stage 2 of 2011 Tour Down Under for Team Sky

Team Sky's Ben Swift won the second stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under earlier today, avoiding three crashes in the final three miles that dropped overnight leader Matthew Goss and sprinting star Mark Cavendish.

Team Sky's Ben Swift won the second stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under earlier today, avoiding three crashes in the final three miles that dropped overnight leader Matthew Goss and sprinting star Mark Cavendish.

Cavendish, riding for the U.S.-based Team HTC-HighRoad, suffered a serious cut above his right eye, deep lacerations and abrasions to his shoulder, side and knee but said he plans to start the race's third stage Thursday.

Goss, also racing for Team HTC-Highroad, recovered from his fall to finish in the peleton. He still gave up the overall lead to fellow Aussie Robbie McEwen, who was second in the stage.

Commenting on his win, Swift told Roadcycling.com "It's the biggest win of my career, without a doubt, but it all It felt a bit unreal to be honest because our plan changed three times in the final four kilometres. Fortunately we were all able to think on our feet though and everything turned out brilliantly."

Swift continued "The plan today had been for everyone to ride for CJ but when he crashed we kept our lead-out going because Greg Henderson was there."

"We were right on the front in the final kilometer with Mathew Hayman leading the way, me in second and Geraint Thomas on my wheel, but I got the call from G with around 600m to go that Greg had dropped back and it would be me who was going for it," Swift added and concluded "He hopped on Hayman's wheel and I got on G's and they took me right up until about 200m to go and then I just went for it. McEwen got a bit of a jump on me at first but that gave me something to run at and thankfully I was able to pull away at the end there.

Graeme Brown of Australia was third in the chaotic finish, ahead of Romain Feillu of France and Jurgens Roelandts of Belgium. Lance Armstrong, who finished 81st in the opening stage, was 42nd and credited with the same time as the winner to remain 60th overall among 133 riders.

Armstrong has said this will be his final race outside of the United States.

McEwen, Armstrong's RadioShack teammate, leads the overall standings ahead of Goss and Swift, who share his accumulated time of 6 hours, 44 minutes, 42 seconds. Defending champion Andre Greipel, who was second overnight, fell back to fourth overall, 4 seconds behind McEwen.

The 91-mile second stage from Tailem Bend to Mannum in the Murray River region of South Australia was relatively uneventful until the last few miles, when Cavendish and Goss fell.

More riders came down when they skidded on gravel on a corner about two miles from the finish, and a large group among the peleton crashed in a frantic final sprint.

McEwen avoided the worst of the carnage to take over the tour leader's ochre jersey.

"I'm very happy; I have the jersey through consistency," McEwen commented and added "Unfortunately guys crashed - that also influenced things. I'm sure otherwise, Greipel and Matt Goss would have

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