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Rising star Isaac Del Toro wins Tour Down Under second stage at Lobethal

Isaac Del Toro is overall leader after winning the second stage of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.

Isaac Del Toro is overall leader after winning the second stage of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday. Photo: Getty

Mexico’s rising cycling star Isaac Del Toro has made an immediate mark at the Tour Down Under, winning stage two and taking the overall lead.

The 20-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider timed his solo attack perfectly on Wednesday, charging clear inside the last kilometre at Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills.

Del Toro held off the fast-finishing peloton and is the second-youngest stage winner in Santos Tour history, only 21 days older than Australian cycling great Michael Rogers when he won in 2000.

He is also the first Mexican stage winner at the Tour.

“It’s crazy … I was thinking that (his attack) and the team gave me the opportunity and I take it,” the softly-spoken Mexican said.

“I try to enjoy today, that’s all. It’s too much for me.”

Del Toro won last year’s Tour de l’Avenir in France, a major predictor of future stars in road cycling.

Del Toro leads New Zealander Corbin Strong (Israel-Premier Tech), who was second at Lobethal, by two seconds.

Australian sprint ace Caleb Ewan showed signs of life in the 141.6-kilometre stage from suburban Norwood by finishing fifth, while his Jayco AlUla Luke Plapp animated the closing kilometres of the stage.

Plapp, the three-time Australian national road race champion, ignited the race on the final climb, attacking with 8.6 kilometres left.

Ecuador’s Jhonatan Narvaez, who won the pre-race criterium on Saturday night, went with him with the Australian eventually shutting their move down because he knew his fellow attacker would probably beat him in a two-man sprint.

They were caught with about 6 kilometres left as much of the peloton regrouped from the damage that Plapp and Narvaez had caused.

But stage-one winner and overnight race leader Sam Welsford (BORA-Hansgrohe) was in a group that lost touch with the peloton.

Luke Burns (Australian national team) and Dutch rider Jardi Christiaan van der Lee (EF Education-Easypost) were the day’s breakaway, going clear early.

But they were kept on a tight leash and caught with about 20 kilometres left.

Just as the break was reeled in, Ewan dropped back for a bike change.

Ewan had shown signs of improved form in the second intermediate sprint with the two leaders taking the main points, he won the tussle for third place and one bonus point.

Ewan finished fourth in Tuesday’s opening stage after being hampered by ill health in the days before the Tour.

The weather was much milder than Tuesday’s furnace conditions in the Barossa.

-AAP
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