Article submitted by twitter user @cyclingbolar

Crosswinds split the race on stage 1 which saw Aqua Blue’s Lasse Norman Hansen take a surprising win out-sprinting stage favourite Steele Von Hoff.

Stage 2 should be a different story. The race should all stay together until the climb up Mt Buninyong. With 5km to the finish, a sole attacker will struggle to make it unless joined by one or two other riders and then they could keep the peloton at bay, but it is looking like a reduced sprint finish.

The climb should be ridden fast enough to limit the attacks and keep the stronger sprinters in the bunch, but the sprint to the line could be chaotic like today’s stage.

It’s hard determining who the favourite is for the stage. We’ll look at the reduced bunch sprint option.

Steele Von Hoff (Bennelong Swiss-Wellness) should be able to last the climb, as should Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport). Koen de Kort (Trek-Segafredo) should also survive the climb and team mate Alex Frame. Mads Pedersen is probably the better bet for Trek though. Was caught in the crosswinds today, shouldn’t be dropped on the climb. Zakkari Dempster (Israel Cycling Academy) should also survive the climb and has a good kick. Ryan Thomas (Brisbane Continental Team) can also survive this and sprint for victory.

Let’s now look at the late attack options. Mitchelton-Scott had Damien Howson and Cameron Meyer at the front end of the stage today. Howson made a solo attack for the line and Meyer finished in third. With no sprinter, expect one of them to attack. Meyer is the best option as he has good history on this climb.

We should also look at the riders that made the front split today because they are obviously riding strong. Cameron Bayly (Bennelong Swiss Wellness) will probably try and set Von Hoff up for the win so will be required to bring it back. Thomas Stewart (JLT Condor) was in the front group today and has a kick, but not fast enough for the other riders mentioned. He will probably try a solo attack, as could his team-mate Ian Bibby.

Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) also made the front group today. He should definitely attack. Looking at the options so far, Trek and Mitchelton Scott should have a huge hand to play in this stage.

Other riders that could attack are Pat Lane (Australian Team), Nathan Earle (Israel Cycling Academy), Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue).

This stage is insanely tough to call, probably why there’s no odds for it from Crownbet for the stage, but they have the overall up.

In the end though, I think a late attack will get it, whether it’s from the climb or after the climb and it will be Meyer taking victory.

  1. Cameron Meyer
  2. Steele Von Hoff
  3. Lasse Norman Hansen

As for the overall, we’ll look how that shapes after two stages.

As mentioned above, Crownbet have a market up.

Esteban Chaves is now $3.25. He opened at $1.55 before the race, but after being 46 seconds down now, it’s hard to see him winning the race as if he should climb away from everyone on Saturday, it’s not a hard enough climb to get a good sized gap. The likelihood of him winning is low. Instead look towards defending champion Damien Howson ($2.75) as the deserved favourite with Cameron Meyer ($10) also an option. They are in the prime position having two riders up there to win overall.

Lasse Norman Hansen is leading GC, but he won’t win this race. Cameron Meyer holds the virtual climbing lead with Damien Howson 7 seconds behind him. There is a rider, however, 5 seconds behind Meyer who can climb and could be a good chance to win this race overall – Swiss Bennelong-Wellness’ Cameron Bayly ($13). 2nd overall at last year’s Tour de Langkawi, he can’t be underestimated.

Next on my virtual GC is Jeroen Meijers ($13). He is 9 seconds behind Meyer and 2 from Howson and 4 from Bayly. One second behind Meijers is Trek’s Ruben Guerreiro ($5).

Then we go back to Chris Harper (No odds given), whom is 31 seconds behind Meyer. Then Larry Warbasse ($34) 4 seconds back and Chaves 2 seconds behind him with Pat Lane (No odds given) in between the pair as another decent climber.

Anything can change tomorrow with time bonuses and potential solo wins, but the riders within 11 seconds of Meyer are in the box seat to win this race. It’s wide open.