Adelaide: Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan surged past defending Tour Down Under champion Daryl Impey to win the second stage and seize the overall race lead on Wednesday.
Ewan, a three-time stage winner in last year’s Tour de France, mastered the uphill finish in Stirling to claim the 135.8km second stage - the first to run through the fire-ravaged district of Adelaide Hills - for his Belgium team Lotto Soudal.
South Africa’s Impey, chasing a third straight TDU title for Mitchelton-Scott, hung on for second and was boosted by a six-second time bonus with Australia’s Cofidis rider Nathan Haas third.
Team UAE Emirates Jasper Philipsen was second on Stage 1.
The stage, which went through some of the areas badly affected by the recent bushfires where properties were destroyed and a person was killed, was marred by a crash in the final two kilometres that took down Elia Viviani (Cofidis), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), among others.
“I banged my knee a bit, but all okay,” Porte said of the pile-up.
“The guys were awesome, really impressive today, and that bids well for tomorrow. I am really happy to see where we’re at and riding so well as a team.”