22 Jan 2021

Luke Plapp comes from behind to take out BikeExchange Stage 2



BikeExchange’s Luke Durbridge never appeared to be in any danger of losing the Santos Festival of Cycling’s Santos Leader’s Jersey as a track star emerged to take out the stage at Lobethal on Friday.

Team Garmin-Australia’s 20-year-old reigning National Under 23 Time Trial Champion Luke Plapp claimed an exciting win on the BikeExchange Stage 2 from Birdwood to Lobethal. 

He owed his glorious victory to an admiral performance by the team’s captain, two-time Santos Tour Down Under champion Richie Porte.

The Tasmanian took on domestique duties as fellow WorldTour rider, SA’s Chris Harper, made a bold charge to stay at the front of the race for most of the afternoon, buoyed by all Croweaters in the Cervelo-Tonsley Village team.

“It was awesome to be able to do it for the boys and to have Richie (Porte) in the team and Jimmy Whelan with their guidance and they were the ones going back for (drink) bottles, I just couldn’t believe it,’’ Plapp said.

“We’re the track riders and they’re the WorldTour pros and they were getting bottles for us.”

“It’s a perfect start to the year and hopefully we can keep going until the Olympics.”

Porte will have his chance to shine on Saturday in the Be Safe Be Seen Stage 3: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill where he has owned the King of the Mountain six consecutive times at the Santos Tour Down Under. But Durbridge may have other ideas.

The reigning national time trial champion gave his WorldTour BikeExchange teammates a huge compliment for charging at the breakaway which was led by Harper - also a member of UCI WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma.

Harper made the move to attack alongside Velofit Australia’s Josh Wilson and it became evident near Golding Wines, just outside of Lobethal.

Wilson, a Tasmanian native who had trained with Porte before the pair made their way to South Australia to race, was in the good leaders’ company.    

CCS Cycling’s Brendon Johnston and Cycle House’s Cyrus Monk joined the lead group which at one point had brought Durbridge’s lead back to 1 min: 25 sec.

He now holds a 2 minute, 10 second over second placed Plapp.

"We didn't expect anyone to gift it to us, (the GC) we probably didn’t want a strong breakaway up the road as it was,’’ Durbridge said.

“Chris Harper is a world class rider and especially in January, he’s the world’s strongest man. 

“But the boys got in there and got it done with some help from Garmin-Australia but we obviously didn't know they had a little secret up their sleeve with Luke Plapp on that climb. 

“We didn't expect him to go as hard as he did…it was an impressive ride and we’re just happy that we held the (leader’s) jersey.”

Incredibly the SA team now has two riders in the top five standings overall with Tim Roe - a former WorldTour rider for BMC - sitting fifth and Harper is fourth, 2 min: 33 secs behind Durbridge after a great team day.  



Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange


Owner: Owner: Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange


Owner: Luke Plapp - Garmin-Australia


Owner: Luke Plapp - Garmin-Australia


Owner: Chris Harper


  1. Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange) 5h13:53  
  2. Luke Plapp (Garmin-Australia) +2:10 
  3. Raphael Freienesten (Inform TM Insight Make) +2:28 
  4. Chris Harper (Cervelo Tonsley Village) +2:33 
  5. Tim Roe (Cervelo Tonsley Village) +2:51


The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour

UCI WorldTourUCI Women's WorldTour