Geraint Thomas wins stage two at Tour Down Under to move into race lead
Geraint Thomas took victory on stage two at the Tour Down Under to move into the race lead.
Last Updated: 24/01/13 10:56am
The Team Sky Brit delivered a stinging attack on the decisive Corkscrew Hill climb, bursting over the top and onto the fast descent into the finish in Rostrevor.
Despite being joined by three fellow attackers, Thomas kept his cool as the quartet held off a group of pursuers in a tense chase to the line.
Biding his time in the sprint the Welshman put in an explosive dig to lead home Javier Moreno (Movistar) and Ben Hermans (RadioShack-Leopard), opening up clear daylight at the line to move into the race lead and take the ochre jersey.
All eyes were on the new climb which looked set to break the status quo of the sprinters and so it proved, with the peloton split to pieces after just two stages.
A relatively short test at just 116.5km, the second day kicked off from Mt Barker and again the peloton saw a flurry of early attacks.
When the dust had settled four riders found themselves clear, Calvin Watson (Uni-SA), William Clarke (Argos-Shimano), Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Christopher Juul Jensen (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) making up the day's four-man break.
A number of teams including Team Sky and Bernhard Eisel looked to keep a watching brief on the front, the peloton not allowing the move much rope after pegging it at 2:20.
Clarke was the last man to be swept up with 17km to go as the pace shot up in the bunch, positioning crucial for the overall contenders on the run into the 2.4km, 9% climb at Corkscew Hill.
Overnight race leader Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) made his intentions clear ahead of the steep ramps by pace-setting on the front of the bunch, safe in the knowledge he would be forced to relinquish his race lead due to the testing terrain.
Thomas hit out as the road began to ramp up, heading over the top of the climb first to take the points before burying himself on the descent.
A group of 11 riders in pursuit could not catch the four men up ahead and Thomas used his track background to make things look easy in the sprint.
"I'm really happy with that," admitted Thomas after the stage.
"I've worked hard since the Olympics trying to lose the track weight and I've got some good kilometres in over the winter. I wanted to start this year strong. I knew I had decent form but you never know how well everyone else is going.
To get the win is a massive bonus for all the hard work over the winter."