Towering trees, snaking singletrack and great grapes all contributed to the perfect conditions riders were treated to on today's 57km stage from Hamelin Bay to Xanadu Winery.
We love coming back to Hamelin Bay for the stage two- the natural beauty this area has to offer is on another level. The bay’s picturesque reefs, untouched white beaches and Peppermint trees are a visual delight.
The bay is also known for its friendly stingrays. Some riders were lucky enough to witness these intriguing creatures next to the boat ramp, feeding on scraps left by fishermen.
‘It’ll probably go off right from the start,’ said Reece Tucknott when asked about how today would pan out at the front of the field. Spot on Reece!
For the elite men, the day began with Chris Hamilton teasing an attack on the road rollout, before Trek’s Michael Potter launched up the first climb in a series of race-animating moves that had the fans frothing.
The rest of the race was all about the lead group of seven, who drove the race at a frenetic pace.
Early attacking from Potter kept himself and teammate Brendan Johnston together, whilst the ever-consistent Torq team surprised no one with Tasman Nankervis and Hamilton also in the lead group.
As the stage rolled into the snaking driveway past Xanadu Winery’s vineyards, Potter launched another ambitious attack. His valiant effort ended well short of the line with Kyle Ward pedal-mashing himself into pole position.
Eventually however, it was some wily racing from race leader Cam Ivory, who timed his move perfectly to take the win and retain the yellow jersey. A great comeback from Johnston, who was struggling earlier landed him second place, with Hamilton in third.
The elite women’s race was no less exciting. For the majority of the stage Peta Mullens and Samara Sheppard were neck and neck, with Jenny Blair also in the mix. On the tough ascent out of Contos Beach the determination of Mullens and Sheppard was plain to see- it was stage racing at its finest.
Like the men before them, the race came down to an exciting sprint finish. Mullens moved early, but held a long sprint over Sheppard, showcasing her power yet again. Jenny Blair rolled in just behind- the women’s race is thrilling and we can’t wait for more!
The singletrack in Boranup forest is one of the highlights of the stage. Soft, tacky black soil means riders can trust the traction, and local Cape to Cape legend Michael Brookes from Bootleg Brewery had gone through the snaking lines with a rake and a leaf blower beforehand. Does it get any better?
Adding to the stoke levels, the local trail builders have been hard at work this year, adding more raw, flowing singletrack throughout the stage. From the whoops and hollers, it appeared riders appreciated the hard work. Today’s stage was an almost perfect mix of prime singletrack, scenic fire roads with high speed descents interspersed with the odd road section for riders to throw down some fuel.
In the mens masters, Jon Gregg continued his utter dominance, rolling in with the second elite group and retaining a healthy lead in his category.
In the womens masters, Marie-Claude Baars also retained her lead with another strong ride.
Riders were elated to lie down on the grass outside the Xanadu Winery after the tough stage today, but for the elite men and women the day isn’t finished yet with the Sundown Shootout this afternoon.
There’s been talk traded amongst the top riders about who’ll take the cake on the technical Sundown Shootout course in front of a huge crowd- keep an eye out tonight for all the action!
1. Peta Mullens – 02:14:08
2. Samara Sheppard – 02:14:11
3. Jenny Blair – 02:14:48
4. Briony Mattocks – 02:19:04
5. Jo Bennett – 02:19:04
1. Cameron Ivory – 02:00:19
2. Brendan Johnston – 02:00:20
3. Chris Hamilton – 02:00:20
4. Tasman Nankervis – 02:00:20
5. Craig Cooke – 02:00:22
For a full list of results, click here!