Patrick Bevin has become the first New Zealand cyclist to win a stage on the World Tour in nearly eight years, stunning a field of world-class sprinters to take stage two of the Tour Down Under in Australia this afternoon.

Bevin beat out three-time world champion Peter Sagan, Australian star Caleb Ewan and the best sprinter in the world, Elia Viviani, leaving them all in his wake to take a superb victory, which now gives him the overall lead and the ochre jersey.

The fact that Bevin has broken New Zealand's World Tour stage victory drought isn't a surprise - Jesse Sergent was the last Kiwi stage winner in 2011 at the Eneco Tour - but his success was expected to come in a time trial, where he excels, as opposed to a sprint finish.

The 27-year-old came into the Tour Down Under as a chance for a good overall result, having finished in the top 10 in 2016, and being installed as leader for his newly formed CCC team. However, few were tipping him to win a bunch sprint against the world's best, even in a finish which suited his characteristics.


That finish - featuring a slightly uphill kick to the line - created a hectic finale, with a crash in the final kilometre leaving a small group of about 20 riders to contest the bunch sprint. However, the big names were still all there, with onlookers waiting for Viviani to repeat his incredibly powerful victory from stage one.

But, as Luis Leon Sanchez tried to take a flier from distance, Bevin struck, coming around the outside of the favourites, catching them unaware, and then showing phenomenal strength to outsprint Ewan to the line.

Bevin said the nature of the finishing straight played into his hands.

"I think on a finish like that I can play my cards pretty well. I haven't come here and hid any form, I was out there yesterday taking time bonuses.

"I don't think saying 'Hey, I'm going to win stage two' was ever on the cards, but with the hard, draggy finish, I got to pick a pretty good line and once Sanchez was off the front in the final it gave me a perfect springboard and I just went long and put my head down."

Bevin now launches into the lead of the race, after yesterday taking five bonus seconds in the breakaway, holding a five second lead over Viviani, and a 15 second advantage over his main rivals for the overall title.

While there are some tough climbs to come, they are all fairly short, punchy efforts - similar to climbs where Bevin has shown the ability to stick with the leaders in the past, and his 15 second buffer could prove extremely handy as the race progresses.

And, if he can't keep the pace, New Zealand could still have a shot at a top result via George Bennett, who avoided the sprinting chaos to finish 17th on the stage, to sit 23rd overall, 15 seconds behind Bevin.


Bevin, who also won the New Zealand national time trial championship earlier this month, has some big goals for 2019, which will include a trip to the Tour de France and a shot at the world time trial championships - if all goes to plan.

So far, it's fair to say everything is going perfectly to plan for the new star of New Zealand cycling.