Stannard fifth and best young rider on stage one of Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Wed 30 Jan 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT neo-pro Robert Stannard sprinted to fifth to claim the best young rider jersey on the opening stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour at Phillip Island.

After a tense start, where former race winner Damien Howson ride himself into a dangerous group early, racing settled down before finishing in a bunch sprint on the Moto GP circuit.

Frantic start:
A slight increase in wind from the women’s racing earlier in the day, saw a frantic start to men’s racing as teams tried to see what damage they could cause on the open Phillip Island circuit.

A large and dangerous group, that included Howson, broke off the front and quickly gained a one-minute advantage before Trek-Segafredo reacted to the threat and began to shut it down. 

Steady through the middle:
With the danger of the large group eliminated, racing calmed down as groups of two and three riders spent time off the front for the majority of the remainder of racing.

Trek-Segafredo maintained responsibility at the front of the bunch until the closing laps, when they were joined by the sprint teams.

Final sprint:
As the riders received the one-lap-to-go bell, racing was back together and headed for a bunch sprint. 

EF Education First claimed first spoils courtesy of Daniel McClay, with Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) and Wouter Wippert (OVO Pro Cycling). Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Stannard finished fifth to claim the best young rider. 

With no major splits in the bunch, all the major overall contenders finished on bunch time, including Lucas Hamilton.

Robert Stannard:
“That was my first time on the Moto GP course. It was pretty windy and it made for pretty hectic racing because everyone is fresh for the race, and there were always teams trying to get to the front.

“We held a really good position the whole race, keeping Lucas out of trouble and I always had a good position and good wheel to sit on either Dion (Smith) or one of the other guys. 

“We got to the front near the start of the last lap and pretty much rode the front from there. Team Sky came around over the top of the climb with three guys and we sat on their wheel.  I was fifth wheel going into the sprint, but a few guys came around really fast from the back in the end so I hadn’t quite timed it right, but we’ll try again in the coming days.”

Jayco Herald Sun Tour – Stage 1 Results:
1. Daniel McClay (EF Education First) 2:16:58
2. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) ST
3. Wouter Wippert (EVO Pro Cycling) ST
5. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Jayco Herald Sun Tour – General Classification after stage 1:
1. Daniel McClay (EF Education First) 2:16:58
2. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) +0:04
3. Wouter Wippert (EVO Pro Cycling) +0:06
6. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10 

Photo courtesy of Con Chronis.