Stirling solo victory for Clarke

Tasmanian Will Clarke of the Uni-SA team won the second stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in a remarkable solo finish.

I was dying in the last 10 kilometres ... It's amazing that a breakaway rider can stay away for so long. It's sort of my speciality to keep going.

He finished 1min 02sec ahead of the bunch led home by 2011 stage winner and fellow Australian Michael Matthews (Rabobank) with newly crowned Australian road race champion Simon Gerrans (GreenEDGE) in third place.

"This is unbelievable really," said Clarke. "This is the biggest win of my career. It's my first win in the WorldTour. I knew my form was good."

The victory also netted Clarke also the lead in the mountains and points classification.

BMC's Martin Kohler took the overall race lead and now heads Stage 1 winner Andre Greipel, of Lotto-Belisol, by two seconds. Matthews second place moves him up to third overall at four seconds.

Kohler started the day only four seconds off the lead and took both of the day's intermediate sprints to collect the maximum six bonus seconds.

"It is very cool," said Kohler. "We had this little funny plan this morning, just go for it, and I am close on the GC (overall) and I tried again and the first attack was the successful one.

"It was a little bit surprising and if no-one was following - why not (attack)?

"It means a lot, because it is my first leader's jersey and it is one of my favourite days here in Australia, but it is early in the season, so for sure it's good to be already in good shape, but I know it's going to be hard for the next stage which is a longer stage, with an uphill finish, which is different and more tough than other years.

"It's going to be really hard for me to defend the jersey because I think the last two days I have lost a little bit of energy."

The 148km stage from Lobethal turned out to be an eventful one as Clarke and Kohler immediately struck out on their own for the break of the day.

The pair worked to a gap of 11 minutes before Kohler dropped back after collecting the bonus seconds he needed and Clarke was left to do the work on his own, with 80km to go.

"He probably thought it was not worth keeping going but the peloton gave me more time and I thought 'you guys have to chase me hard to catch me'," said Clarke.

"I was dying in the last 10 kilometres. "[Team Manager] Dave [Sanders] was telling me to go for GC but… It's amazing that a breakaway rider can stay away for so long. It's sort of my speciality to keep going."

Clarke was the first to enter the Stirling circuit and he did so with a big lead of more than 11min 30sec.

Movistar was very animated as it headed to the finish throwing both Angel Madrazo and Javier Moreno up the road in an effort to shake up the race.

However their respective leads were never greater than 55 seconds and both riders were brought back by the peloton.

Clarke went into the final lap with GreenEDGE, Rabobank, Movistar and Euskaltel Euskadi taking turns driving the peloton, but the chase fell short as the Uni-SA rider held on for a stunning solo victory.

Stage 2: 148km, Lobethal - Stirling.

1 William Clarke (Aus) UNI SA - Australia 3:58:35
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 0:01:02
3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEDGE
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
6 Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
9 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda

General classification:

1 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC 8:33:05
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 0:00:02
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 0:00:04
4 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEDGE 0:00:08
5 Rohan Dennis (Aus) UNI SA - Australia 0:00:09
6 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha 0:00:10
7 Xavier Florencio Cabrè (Spa) Katusha 0:00:12
8 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
9 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
10 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank

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