By Michael Stevens, Special to VeloNews
Young New South Wales rider David McPartland (Team Australia) celebrated the signing of a new professional contract by winning the second stage of the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under in emphatic fashion Wednesday.
And the victory, over Dutchman Alain Van Katwijk (Bankgiroloterij) and South Australian Patrick Jonker (UniSA), was enough to catapult the 23-year-old from Albury into the leader’s yellow jersey.
A last-minute replacement for top international Scott Sunderland, McPartland’s best domestic performance before yesterday was winning the national under 23 category in the 2002 Australian Open event. But he forged a strong reputation riding in Italy with the national under 23 squad and two weeks ago secured a new contract with division two Italian team Tenax.
He was quick to join Jonker who made the initial break early into the 157km stage between Norwood and Kapunda, and together with Van Katwijk, the trio defied the peloton to chase them down.
Well clear with a gap of 6:20 over the only serious climb of the stage at Checker Hill, the three still had a 2:40 edge10km from the finish, and although a chasing group of 38 was finishing like a road train, they still had a 1:41 advantage when they crossed the line.
This means that McPartland now leads by 3 seconds over Jonker in the general classification with Van Katwijk at 5 seconds and opening stage winner Robbie McEwen, just pipped by sprint rival Baden Cooke in the bunch sprint for fourth, next at 1:51 off the pace.
Riding for Team Australia, McPartland said he was at the front of the bunch when Jonker made his move and went straight across to him.
“I never thought it would last all day, but with Checker Hill being so early, I thought if I get over that in a good group we’ll stay away all day, and we certainly stayed away but it was a lot smaller group than I imagined,” he said. “I came in as an opportunist as a late replacement for Scott Sunderland, and if I can keep this (yellow jersey) for a couple of days I’ll be more than happy.”
Jonker, 34, a Tour de France veteran with a 12th placing to his credit, has declared this as his swansong tour and is determined to go out in a blaze of glory.
He said his chances of winning the overall would be determined by how well he recovered overnight.
“I thought today I might as well hurt myself for the last time; it hurt a lot,” Jonker said. “Go down in a blaze, eh, as they say, whether there’s glory or not we’ll see at the end.”
The tour continues with a 150km stage between Goolwa and Victor Harbor on Wednesday.
Stage 2 – January 21: Norwood to Kapunda, 157 km
1. David McPartland (Aus) Team Australia 3:43:12
2. Alain Van Katwijk (Nl) Bankgiroloterij 0:01
3. Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 1:41
4. Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
5. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
6. Antonio Fisher Murillo (Bra) Domina Vacanze
7. Allan Davis (Aus) Team Australia
8. Massimiliano Gentili (I) Domina Vacanze
9. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r Prevoyance
10. Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSAJacob’s Creek General classification after stage 2
1. David McPartland (Aus) Team Australia 4:45:21
2. Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 0:03
3. Alain Van Katwijk (Nl) Bankgiroloterij 0:05
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 1:51SA Lotteries Sprints classification
1. David McPartland (Aus) Team AustraliaLaubman & Pank King of the Mountain classification
1. Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) BankgiroloterijShare the Road U23 rider classification
1. Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Insurance Cycling TeamCentury 21 Most aggressive rider
1. Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA