Race report

Jai Hindley battles to stage two win atop Falls Creek

Jayco Herald Sun Tour

The second day of racing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour saw the peloton faced with the first summit finish of the race; the almost 30 kilometre long climb of Falls Creek.

Rolling out from the start town of Beechworth, Alberto Dainese looked resplendent in the race leader’s jersey after his and the team’s success on the opening stage. It didn’t take long for the break of the day to form with a strong group of seven riders escaping the peloton. Quickly building up their advantage, the gap grew to over three minutes before the team came to the front and started to chase along with some of the other GC contenders’ teams.

On the lower slopes of Falls Creek the remnants of the breakaway were caught and the pace continued to ramp up as the kilometres ticked by. The team were well represented with Jai Hindley, Michael Storer, Florian Stork and Robert Power all in the reduced peloton as the stage entered the final ten kilometres.

With the peloton on the limit, Stork came to the front of the bunch and increased the pace and reduced the bunch even further. After a strong effort, Stork swung off and Storer took over and continued to put the hurt on. As the head of the race passed three kilometres to go, it was just Hindley and Power left in a group of five before the attacks began to fly.

In an incredibly tactical battle, no-one was able to escape on the run-in to the line and the day was decided in a three-up sprint. Hindley was able to come off the wheels as he delivered a good kick, surging home across the finish line, claiming his first win for the team.

As a result, Hindley moves into the lead of the race ahead of tomorrow’s stage. The great team performance was rounded off with Storer finishing in fifth and Power holding on for tenth place; both occupying the same positions on GC.

“The guys did a super job on the climb today, they set it up perfectly,” beamed Hindley after the stage. “It was pretty touch and go at the finish, hats off to Damian and Seb, they were super strong and I just couldn’t shake them. I saw the 300 metres to go sign and I probably went a bit early but I then backed off. Seb then went and I could follow and come round him at the line. I’m just stoked to finish off all the hard work the guys did today. I trained really hard for the Aussie summer and I was a bit disappointed with my own personal results at the Tour Down Under, so I was really motivated to get some good results here.” 

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts continued: “We had to take control of the race today with Alberto being in the yellow jersey. With the big 30 kilometre climb to the line it was going to be impossible for Alberto to keep the jersey but we wanted to do our best to keep it in the team, so we set the climb up for Jai and Rob. The guys came really well into the final climb and we were able to put some pressure on with Florian and Michael. We saw some of the other teams started to show some weaknesses after that. Jai was feeling really good and he went on the attack in the final. He went to the line with a few other guys but he had the best legs and could take the sprint. Two wins in two days for us; we couldn’t have started the Jayco Herald Sun Tour any better.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 HINDLEY Jai Team Sunweb 3:06:29 14
2 HOWSON Damien Mitchelton-Scott ,, 5
3 BERWICK Sebastian St George Continental Cycling Team ,, 3
5 STORER Michael Team Sunweb 0:37 -
10 POWER Robert Team Sunweb 1:09 -
13 STORK Florian Team Sunweb 1:55 -
58 DAINESE Alberto Team Sunweb 19:27 -
60 KANTER Max Team Sunweb ,, -
74 KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn Team Sunweb 22:16 -