Hepburn fourth, Chaves remains in mix after Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue

Wed 1 Feb 2017

Australia’s oldest stage race and the final race of the Australian season, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, got underway this evening with a 2.1km prologue in the centre of Melbourne. 

Former Australian time trial champion Michael Hepburn was the fastest finisher for ORICA-SCOTT, finishing in a time of 2:34.43. The effort was good enough for fourth place, two seconds behind stage winner and yellow jersey bearer Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky).

General classification hopeful Esteban Chaves stopped the clock in 2:43:11 to limit the time loss to his climbing rivals, including Chris Froome (Team Sky) who finished four seconds faster.

“Michael had a really good ride tonight,” sport director Matt Wilson said. “With such a short course, it really is a matter of seconds and he had a good hit out off no specific preparation.”

“We are also really happy with Esteban’s ride. We know Froome is a strong time triallist so to only lose four seconds means we are well and truly still in the mix.

“It’s all about tomorrow now.” 

How it happened:

Two-time Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Simon Gerrans led ORICA-SCOTT as the first rider down the ramp. His time of 2:40.10 was enough for 28th place, 11seconds off the pace.

Van Poppel followed immediately behind, posting a course record and the fastest time. He remained in the hot seat for the rest of the evening.

Former under-23 world time trial champion Damien Howson was the next rider to beat Gerrans’ time for ORICA-SCOTT, finishing in 2:38.47 for 19th place.

New Zealand’s Sam Bewley bettered the time again for 13th in 2:37.09 before Hepburn finished as the penultimate rider of the evening to take fourth as the team's top performer.