Fifth place for Jack Haig in stage one of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.Thu 4 Feb 2016
ORICA-GreenEDGE completed the day with a fifth place finish from Victoria's Jack Haig. Peter Kennaugh (SKY) took the victory ahead of team mate Chris Froome (SKY) as the duo escaped on the final climb of the day.
"It was a stage that we really needed to win to be in better contention to win the tour," said sport director Matt Wilson. "The guys really gave it a shot, Damien Howson was in a great move and could have stayed away. Unfortunately he got caught with less than 500m to go."
Wilson continued with a positive outlook for the coming days.
"Tomorrow's another day, we'll see what happens. There's still plenty more opportunities and I think on Sunday anything can happen."
Howson found himself in a chase group of three riders over the top of the category one climb. However after the decent they lost one companion and the gap to the duo appeared too big to bridge.
"In the final there was only two of us chasing and then we got caught, so it was a lot of effort for nothing in the end," Howson said. "I should still be up there on the general classification (27 seconds down) and there's still some time."
Haig, not usually recognised for his sprinting ability, was pleased as he managed to salvage a minor placing from the bunch kick to reward the team's efforts for the day.
"I think we caught Damien with only a few hundred meters to go. I managed to follow some wheels in the sprint and finish third in the kick."
How it happened:
Riders set off with their legs and lungs warmed up after yesterday evening's prologue. The riders faced a lumpy 126km loop which included two main climbs.
After only six kilometres of racing a breakaway of six riders established itself which included; Kristian House (One Pro Cycling), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo – Vini Fantini), Nicholas Katsonis (State of Matter / MAAP), Alistair Slater (JLT – Condor), Craig Evers (Data#3 Cisco Racing Team p/b Scody) and Ben Hill (Attaque Team Gusto).
Together they rode out to a comfortable advantage, hovering around the three minute 30 second mark for a lengthy period of time.
The current race leaders Drapac Professional Cycling set the pace at the head of the peloton keeping the break within striking distance, never allowing them to gain more than a four minute lead.
As the peloton advanced towards the main and final climb of the day, Team Sky took up the majority of work to bring the group back. With 29km to go the peloton was all back together and the race for the stage was on.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked and his team mate Kennaugh jumped across as the duo led over the summit of the climb. Quickly, a chase group formed with ORICA-GreenEDGE's Howson.
Coming into the final kilometres Howson and one other where swallowed up by a chase bunch with less than 500m to go.
Haig claimed fifth spot with Christian Meier coming in tenth.
Tomorrow's stage is 144km and will head from Yarra Glen to Moa.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour Results:
1. Peter Kennaugh (SKY) 3:01:47
2. Chris Froome (SKY) +st
3. Dion Smith (ONE) + 0:17
5. Jack Haig (OGE) +0:17
General classification after stage 1:
1. Peter Kennaugh (SKY) 3:04:16
2. Chris Froome (SKY) +0:07
3. Dion Smith (ONE) +0:23
6. Damien Howson (OGE) +0:27