Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig triumphs in Tour Down Under Stage 2, seizes GC lead

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of FDJ-SUEZ emerged as the triumphant winner of the second stage of the 2024 Women’s Tour Down Under. Her victory in Stirling’s uphill sprint finish was achieved over Soraya Paladin of Canyon-SRAM, who finished second, and Sofia Bertizzolo of UAE Team ADQ, who took third place. Ludwig’s win also placed her in the overall race lead.

Stage one victor Ally Wollaston from AG Insurance-Soudal found the final ascent challenging, losing ground and relinquishing the leader’s jersey to Uttrup Ludwig. Bertizzolo now sits in second place, trailing by only two seconds, while Ruby Roseman-Gannon of Liv AlUla Jayco is a further second behind in third.

Uttrup Ludwig and her team had to adapt their strategy on the fly due to Grace Brown not feeling her best, but the change of plans proved successful. Uttrup Ludwig expressed her delight at winning in Australia, her boyfriend’s home country, and the significance of securing an early-season victory.

The stage, the longest in the history of the women’s Tour Down Under, covered 104.2 kilometres from Glenelg to Stirling, presenting a challenging route with multiple small peaks. Katia Ragusa of Human Powered Health led over Cherry Gardens Hill, defending her Queen of the Mountain jersey and positioning herself to claim the QoM title at the race’s conclusion.

The battle for general classification honours heated up at the intermediate sprints in Meadows, with Dominika Wlodarczyk of UAE Team ADQ taking maximum points and bonus seconds. The race, with its high pace and strategic attacks, left the GC tightly contested as it heads towards a decisive final stage on Willunga Hill.

Emily Watts, racing for the Australia national team, made a bold move with 16km to go, but her lead was neutralised in the closing kilometres. The final climb saw AG Insurance-Soudal controlling the front in support of Wollaston and their GC hopeful Sarah Gigante. Uttrup Ludwig, remained patient before launching her winning move with 150 metres remaining, outpacing Paladin and Bertizzolo on a climb that perfectly suited her strengths. With the overall lead now in her possession, Uttrup Ludwig is set for a gripping battle up Willunga Hill in the race’s final stage.

Meanwhile, AG Insurance – Soudal showcased their strength with a solid team performance throughout the demanding stage, despite Wollaston losing the leader’s jersey. The team’s strategy focused on protecting both Wollaston and Gigante, leading to a promising ninth-place finish for Gigante and positioning her well for the overall classification battle on the final stage.

2024 Women’s Tour Down Under Stage 2 result

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