Stannard sprints to sixth at Australian Criterium ChampionshipFri 4 Jan 2019
Starting his first full neo-pro season with Mitchelton-SCOTT in 2019, Robert Stannard has put in a solid performance to finish sixth at the Australian Criterium Championship in Ballarat this evening.
As a sole representative for the Australian WorldTour outfit, Stannard picked his moments wisely to go on the attack, before settling in to contest the final sprint won by Brenton Jones.
Riders began early in attempt to break away from the main bunch and Stannard contributed with a move of his own but it was short lived as the local outfits with numbers controlled the raced well.
Despite a number of strong moves bigger teams represented going throughout the 40-lap race with, there was always someone unhappy with the composition and they were continuously chased down before the pending bunch sprint seemed obvious in the final half a dozen laps.
After a long, more than two-lap lead-out from the Bridgestone team, their sprinter was just pipped on the line by Brenton Jones who claim the title.
With no teammates to assist, Stannard positioned himself well by surfing the back of rivals trains heading into the final corner before launching a sprint of his own to finish in sixth place.
Robert Stannard – Sixth Place:
“It was a solid race tonight, really aggressive until about five laps to go.
“I knew it would be difficult to have any sort of control in the race seeing as I was alone, so I had to be smart and a small move later on was what I was watching for, but nothing was allowed to get away, there wasn't enough power in the attacks.
“Once the bigger teams got their sprint trains organised with about six or seven laps to go, I decided to find a good wheel and sprint. My legs felt good seeing as it was my first race this season, now I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do Sunday.”
1. Brenton Jones 1:01:13
2. Tristan Ward ST
3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) ST
6. Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.