Docker second as Howson retains lead into crucial final day at Jayco Herald Sun TourSat 4 Feb 2017
Victorian Mitch Docker has finished second on stage three of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour as Queen stage winner Damien Howson successfully retained the yellow jersey for another day.
A messy finish saw two crashes on the closing kilometers but, despite a fall to Colombian Esteban Chaves, the full ORICA-SCOTT team finished the stage without injury.
Howson goes into tomorrow's crucial final stage with a 38second buffer to his nearest competitor Jai Hindley (Korda Mentha Australia), and 53seconds to Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky).
"Another nervous day," Howson said. "The sprinters had their chance today and of course everyone was fighting and jostling for position in the final five kilometres. It made for some dangerous and exciting racing but I am happy to get through unscathed."
"Once again the team were fabulous. They supported me all through the day and I didn’t have to ever go too hard. They were always sheltering me and that's the amazing team that I have around me."
"Hopefully the success continues tomorrow and I will have this jersey to keep.”
Tomorrow’s final stage features four laps around Kinglake, with each citcuit including a nine kilometre climb. With bad weather and rain predicted, Howson is aware of the final challenge ahead.
"As soon as I crossed the finish line on Falls Creek, Kinglake was the one stage that I knew would be the biggest challenge and I am still aware of that,” he said.
How it happened:
Today’s third stage from Benalla to Mitchelton Winery set off in warm conditions and was touted as the only real chance for the sprinters in this year’s Tour.
Nine riders formed the day’s breakaway and ORICA-SCOTT controlled their advantage at under five minutes all day.
As the stage approached it’s conclusion, Team Sky contributed to the chase in support of their sprinter Danny van Poppel.
Nerves set in ahead of the technical finish and two crashes occurred, taking out a few of the sprint contenders.
Travis McCabe (United Healthcare) avoided the carnage to claim the stage ahead of Docker and Leigh Howard (Aqua Blue Sport).
Jayco Herald Sun Tour - Stage 3 Results:
1. Travis McCabe (United Healthcare) 3:46:00
2. Mitch Docker (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
3. Leigh Howards (Aqua Blue Sport) ST
Jayco Herald Sun Tour - General Classification after stage 3:
1. Damien Howson (ORICA-SCOTT) 12:32:12
2. Jai Hindley (Korda Mentha Australia) +0:38
3. Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky) +0:53