LONDON Olympian Alex Edmondson clinched victory on stage two of the Tour of Tasmania in Strathgordon after the 19-year-old was a part of a breakaway for most of the challenging 120km race. A noted sprinter and reigning world champion on the track, Edmondson took out the stage ahead of William Walker and Luke Parker while Tasmanian Nathan Earle claimed the yellow jersey off the back of his team’s stage one victory on Sunday.
“I don’t know how I did that,” Edmondson said. “Coming to the finish on the last climb we got caught and I thought that was it, so I went to the back of the bunch, but somehow I found some fresh legs. The boys gave me an awesome lead out to the end,” the South Australian said.
Racing through stunning Derwent Valley scenery, Edmondson was part of an early breakaway that led for 110km until the tail end of the stage from New Norfolk to Strathgordon. Despite building a seven-minute lead over the peloton midrace, the breakaway riders were unable to maintain their position and found themselves caught as the race reached Lake Pedder.
Despite the setback, Edmondson surged forward in the final bunch sprint to take out the stage. “I didn’t really know what I was doing at the start, I just wanted to get out of there, so I made that little break and the boys rode pretty well,” he said. “That was lucky because I lost a bit of time yesterday, meaning I could just sit on the back of the break and save my legs.”
“The gap went out ridiculously fast. We all considered what was going on back there, but we just thought Huon-Genesys were controlling it and [must have been] confident their climbers could hit it over the climbs. We ended up blowing it in the end, it was a long breakaway,” Edmonson said.
Malcolm Rudolph was alongside Edmondson in the early breakaway and held strong as other riders were dropped throughout the difficult stage. With 25km to go, Rudolph launched a solo attack and built a two-minute lead as the remainder of the breakaway was swallowed by the roaring peloton. The Queenslander pushed hard with the finish line approaching, but was caught just four kilometres from the line.
“I didn’t quite hold on but I had a good day out,” Rudolph said post-race. “We thought we had to get a guy in the move and hopefully it would stay away and we’d get a stage win. It wasn’t to be, but we all had a go,” he said.
Nathan Earle now leads the tour after finishing ahead of teammate Jai Crawford to take the leader’s yellow jersey, however the pair remain on equal first-place time. Earle now sits one minute 43 seconds ahead of his nearest non-teammate competitor. “The boys rode really well today and they’re all looking really strong,” Earle said. “It wasn’t really the plan for me to take yellow today, but we’re in it now and we’ll try to defend it.”
The Caterpillar Tour of Tasmania continues tomorrow with a 104km road race from Hamilton to Lake St Clair.