(CNN) -- Lance Armstrong briefly showed at the front of the field but it was Australia's Allan Davis who took the second stage and overall lead in the Tour Down Under on Wednesday.
Armstrong leads a group of his Astana teammates during Wednesday's second stage.
Armstrong was up early to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama and once the racing started on the 145 kilometers from Hahndorf to Stirling decided to take part in a late attack.
"I was following Michael Rogers and a few other guys," Armstrong was quoted on the offical race Web site www.thetourdownunder.com.
"It was probably not the smartest thing we could have done tactically. Nonetheless it was fun to be out the front of a race again,"
The attack came to nothing and as the field split on the run-in to the finish the 37-year-old American found himself in the main group which came in 13 seconds down.
"I felt pretty good. It's going to take a while to adapt to race speed, I've said that since the day I got here. I think today proved that," added Armstrong.
Quickstep star Davis, who has raced in all 11 editions of the Tour Down Under, took first place in a time of three hours 46 minutes and 25 seconds, getting the better of Rabobank's Graeme Brown with Switzerland's Martin Elmiger (AG2R - Mondiale) in third place, two seconds back.
First day winner and defending champion Andrei Greipel (Team Columbia) finished four seconds behind and lost the race lead to Davis.
"You know the jersey is a bonus on top of that and it's the first time for me in eleven years to have the jersey so it's very special," said Davis.
Thursday's third stage sees the race head from the Adelaide suburb of Unley out along the Fleurieu Peninsula to Victor Harbor on a 136 kilometer leg.