Ewan second in Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue repeatWed 3 Feb 2016
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour kicked off this evening with a 2.1km prologue around Melbourne city centre. Santos Tour Down Under stage winner Caleb Ewan finished second by only 0.8 of a second to last year's stage winner William Clarke (Drapac Professional Cycling).
The 21-year-old was the final rider of the day and the only rider left to try and knock Clarke off the top step, but couldn't quite overhaul his new course record time of two minutes 34.27seconds.
"It was down to less than a second in it again," expressed Ewan. "I left it all out there tonight and I still came up short. Will (Clarke) was obviously really strong today and I wasn't as strong so I got second, that's just how it is."
Sport director Matt Wilson praised the teams efforts today, in what came down to such a small margin in the end.
"It was the same as last year with three guys in the top ten. A really good effort from the boys, Damien Howson (8th) was a surprise ride.
"It's actually good going in to tomorrow's stage and to not have the lead. It takes the pressure off and there's a little more pressure on Drapac."
Wilson said the city-centre prologue was another success for the Australian cycling season.
"The crowd was huge in the city centre and the rain earlier on didn't seem to keep people away."
How it Happened
As the riders set off down the ramp from Federation Square, the rain threatened with dark clouds lurking over Melbourne.
Luckily the heavy clouds held off for a couple of hours and to the riders relief it was a dry run around the twisty streets of Melbourne's CBD. Crowds of people turned out to watch the riders navigate along the Yarra River, in what was a fast and furious opening to the tour.
Clarke took the best time in the first half of proceedings. He spent a lot of time in the hot seat and eventually it proved that no one could overcome him and his record time on the technical course.
New Zelander Sam Bewley had his moment in the hot seat, but as the race went on he dropped down to finish fifth, with ORICA-GreenEDGE rounding up the day with three riders in the top ten standings.
The team head in to tomorrow's 126.1km race in Headesville with Ewan in the best young rider jersey, just one second down on the general classification.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour Prologue Results:
1. William Clarke (DRP) 2:34:27
2. Caleb Ewan (OGE) +0.8
3. Neil Van Der Ploeg (AIW) +2