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Gigante punched clear midway through the race and stayed away for 40 kilometers to take the stage and the GC lead. The 20-year-old is a member of the U.S.-based Tibco-SVB squad but riding as part of the composite Garmin-Australia team for this week’s domestic event in Adelaide.
Having attacked from the pack on the Hawthorn climb, Gigante bridged to the break and rode away from the escape duo to win by nearly two minutes.
“I’m exhausted but it was so much fun,” Gigante said. “I couldn’t believe that I’d be able to get away solo on the climb … and there was no one from Team BikeExchange [following], so when I crested with just the two riders from the breakaway, I thought it was so exciting. The reason I love cycling is I love going hard, so that was my logical solution.”
— Santos Tour Down Under 🚴🚴♀️ (@tourdownunder) January 22, 2021
In the men’s race Luke Plapp, also riding for Garmin-Austalia, accelerated away from a small lead group with around 10km to go and held off the chasers to secure a narrow victory in Lobethal.
Plapp, 20, said that having the support of WorldTour riders in the Garmin-Australia team helped him save his bullets for the final.
“That was pretty unreal. I had my eyes set on that,” Plapp said. “I didn’t have to do a turn all day. The boys looked after me. I was just glad to be able to finish it off.”
Luke Durbridge retains his GC lead in the men’s race, with a 2:10 margin over Plapp.
“Plapp did an amazing effort with around 200 meters to go of that climb, and we were there but couldn’t do anything about it,” Durbridge said after the race. “I think he knows that climb and that descent, so it was an impressive, so chapeau to him. But yeah, we kept the jersey and we’re fine, so another day.”
The GC of the four-day race will likely come down to the stage Saturday, which finishes atop Old Willunga Hill.
Be sure to check out all the other “Aussie Week” content we have on VeloNews.com this week as part of a celebration of all-things Australian cycling.
Santos Festival of Cycling – Stage 2 – Men’s:
1. Luke Plapp (Australia)
2. Tim Roe (Cervelo-Tonsley Village)
3. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange)
Santos Festival of Cycling – GC after Stage 2 – Men’s:
1. Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) 5:13:33
2. Luke Plapp (Australia) +02:10
3. Raphael Freiensten (InForm Insight TM Make) +02:28
Santos Festival of Cycling – Stage 2 – Women’s:
1. Sarah Gigante (Australia) 2:29:06
2. Georgia Baker (Australia) +01:54
3. Peta Mullens (Roxsolt LIV Sram) +01:54
Santos Festival of Cycling – GC aft Stage 2 – Women’s:
1. Sarah Gigante (Australia) 4:47:24
2. Peta Mullens (Roxsolt LIV Sram) +01:53
3. Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast) +01:57