Human Powered Health continued to build on its success at the Santos Tour Down Under on stage 2 with Nina Buijsman sprinting to third place at the end of a punchy stage where the GC favorites came to the fore.
New Zealander Henrietta Christie also remained in contention during an attacking finale over Mount Lofty, sprinting to 11th and climbing into the youth leader’s jersey in the process.
In a dramatic finale on the run into Uraidla, the front group fractured under the pressure of an attack from Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) and an intense chase from the Jayco-UlAlu team.
With Buijsman and Christie making the elite selection, Spratt was then caught inside the final kilometer. Having weaved her way to the front of the group, Buijsman struck out for the finish line, crossing over behind stage winner and new race leader Alexandra Manly (Jayco-UlAla) and Georgia Williams (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB).
“I’m happy to have another podium,” the Dutch rider said afterward having taken third place in the races criterium curtain raiser, the Schwalbe Classic two days prior. “I tried but couldn’t go with Spratt so for me it was about following the wheels and waiting for the sprint. I went fourth through the last corner and tried to compete with the fast girls,” she added, having spent time in the gym over the winter to improve her finish at the end of a harder race.
Buijsman was followed over the line by Christie whose position in the sprint made sure of the young rider’s jersey, her biggest achievement to date, in this, her first Women’s WorldTour podium.
“It’s a pinch-yourself moment. It feels and sounds surreal so this will take some time to process,” Christie beamed after coming off the podium. “The team’s on a roll here so we’re hoping to keep the good times going and motivation high.”
A worthy reward for putting in the early work chasing down moves, the entire team rallied around Buijsman for the stage.
“The girls helped me a lot at the beginning of the race,” Buijsman said. “I just had to follow their wheels, which feels really confident and easy, so I could focus on the important points and finale.”
Christie, who revealed her preparations prior to the race, is clearly benefitting from the time over December when she prioritized her movement, fuelling, recovery, and mindset. The 20-year-old also had a unique way of self-motivation over Mount Lofty.
“I had the Wahoo map on the computer and I had alerts on,” she explains. “It would say things like only 800 metes left and the percent I was at. That was a game changer because I could look down and be motivated to push and stay with the lead group.”
Elsewhere, having been victorious in a superb sprint victory on day one, Pole Daria Pikulik spent stage two in the ochre leader’s jersey.
“I’m really happy that I could ride in this jersey today, it’s a great feeling,” Pikulik said. “I tried my best to keep it but the climb today was too tough for me, but everybody was looking at me so it was such a motivating experience.”
Although second in the points classification to Manly, Pikulik will wear the blue jersey tomorrow due to Australians’ ochre overall jersey superseding it.
The stage 2 result places Buijsman in 8th place, 16 seconds behind the race leader before tomorrow’s thrilling race finale parcours.
“I like to climb and I like hard races, so tomorrow will be even better for me,” Buijsman explained. “It’s also super nice to have the confidence from these last races.”
A 93.2km stage from Adelaide to Campbeltown, The race will come down to the 2.4km long at 9.1% Corkscrew Road climb that tops out 7.5km from the finish line.
“I’m going to go out and defend the jersey tomorrow,” Christie added. “We’re also going to try and move Nina up on GC so I’m excited to see what we can pull off tomorrow.”
Santos Tour Down Under stage 2 result
1 MANLY Alexandra – Team Jayco AlUla 2:23:33
2 WILLIAMS Georgia – EF Education-TIBCO-SVB ”
3 BUIJSMAN Nina – Human Powered Health ”
4 DE FRANCESCO Danielle – Zaad Cycling Team ”
5 BROWN Grace – FDJ – SUEZ ”
6 FRAIN Nicole – UniSA-Australia ”
7 DUVAL Eugénie – FDJ – SUEZ ”
8 SMITH Abi – EF Education-TIBCO-SVB ”
9 NOSKOVÁ Nikola – Zaaf Cycling Team ”
10 SPRATT Amanda – Trek – Segafredo ”
11 CHRISTIE Henrietta – Human Powered Health ”
Young rider’s classification standings
1 CHRISTIE Henrietta – Human Powered Health 5:26:40
2 SMITH Abi – EF Education-TIBCO-SVB ”
3 WYLLIE Ella – New Zealand ”
4 WOLLASTON Ally – New Zealand 1:32
5 SCHMID Kaiai – Human Powered Health ”
General classification after two stages
1 MANLY Alexandra – Team Jayco AlUla 5:26:20
2 WILLIAMS Georgia – EF Education-TIBCO-SVB 0:08
3 BROWN Grace – FDJ – SUEZ ”
4 ROSEMAN-GANNON Ruby – Team Jayco AlUla 0:13
5 SPRATT Amanda – Trek – Segafredo 0:14
6 FRAIN Nicole – UniSA-Australia ”
7 ADEGEEST Loes – FDJ – SUEZ ”
8 DOEBEL-HICKOK Krista – EF Education-TIBCO-SVB ”
9 BUIJSMAN Nina – Human Powered Health 0:16
10 DE FRANCESCO Danielle – Zaad Cycling Team 0:20