17 Jan 2019

Cycling: Tour down Under lead no fluke for Bevin

9:56 am on 17 January 2019

Patrick Bevin is up for the fight as the New Zealand cyclist takes on the heavy hitters at the Tour Down Under.

His stunning win in stage two was his first at WorldTour level and it also gave him the overall lead going into Thursday.

But the CCC Team rider will face an immediate test of his ability to hold that lead in the next tough stage from Lobethal to Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills.

The 146.2km stretch features six laps of a tough finishing circuit.

Patrick Bevin

Patrick Bevin Photo: Photosport

If the main players decide to push the pace, it will break up the peloton.

Australian star Richie Porte, defending champion Daryl Impey, Wout Poels and Michael Woods remain the riders to beat.

But Bevin was also in the day-one breakaway and his overall lead is no accident.

"You never really know how you are until the flag drops," he said.

"But I'm feeling great and I don't think you accidentally waltz into those sorts of results.

"I've got to keep my head down and work it - it's going to be really hard.

"Coming into this race, it was a goal to fight for that."

It is a particularly hard route for the Tour this year, but the two-time New Zealand time trial champion worked hard on the discipline through the off- season.

That has given Bevin a lot of the strength he will need to stay at the front of the race when inevitably the peloton breaks up.

Apart from the Uraidla loop, the Corkscrew climb near the end of stage four and the Willunga summit finish in Sunday's sixth and final stage are major obstacles.