Primoz Roglic of Adria Mobil won the second stage of the Tour d’Azerbaijan, after a long break. He outsprinted his break companion Will Clarke (Drapac) for the victory. Rafael Andriato of Neri Sottoli led the chase group across the finish line nine seconds later for third place. Clarke, who had finished 25th on the first stage, took over the race lead.
Roglic and Clark jumped from the first group on the day’s second climb, after about 114 km. They built up a lead of up to nearly three minutes – not much, but they managed to stay away until the end. Numerous attacks out of the chase group were never able to make their mark.
It was a hard mountain stage, with heavy winds in the first part tearing the peloton into multiple groups. The climbs included steep ascents, tight curves and sometimes narrow roads.
The field had broken into three groups by the time the action started. Roglic was the first to go, with Clarke giving chase. The two then took the remaining mountains and intermediate sprint, working well together. They managed to hang on to their narrow margin until the end in Ismayilli, after 186.5 difficult kilometers.
Roglic, who was a ski jumper before becoming a pro cyclist, was surprised by his success. “At first I stayed behind in the second group, then we caught the first group at the feeding zone. Then went in front with Clarke on the descent leading up to the category one climb. And then I won the mountain points and the stage.”
Clarke called it “another really hard day. The first 40 kms were pretty relaxed, then things started happening. I found myself in the front group again. At about 115 kms I attacked with Roglic, we got a bit of a gap, gave full gas on the descent and then opened a bigger gap. We worked well together.“
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Stage 2 results
1. Primož Roglič (SLO) Adria Mobil
2. William Clarke (AUS) Drapac Professional Cycling
3. Rafael Andriato De Mattas (BRA) Neri Sottoli