photo credits @Jayco Herald Sun Tour
The race record was shattered today during the opening prologue of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, after Team Sky’s Dutch powerhouse Danny van Poppel broke the previous course record of 2:32:56 set by Brenton Jones (JLT Condor) last year, with a scorching performance of 2:34.27 with an average speed of 49.6km/h along the 2.1 kilometer course.
Today’s victory came as a great consolation for van Poppel, after only achieving modest results during last month’s Tour Down Under during his debut with Team Sky.
“I was focused to win it and nothing else,” said van Poppel. “I’ve done it and I’m really happy because you’re always searching for the first victory of the team and for myself and I’m happy that I did it.”
Van Poppel’s win will force Team Sky to defend the lead as soon as the starting gun fires in Wangaratta tomorrow and the sprinter admitted that his time in the yellow jersey will only be brief with the stage set up for the climbers.
“It’s good but I hope I can give it to Chris tomorrow,” van Poppel said. “It will be nice if tomorrow is a nice day for Chris and the team so we’ll go full for him…”
It was another close call for Jones, having finished third in the Prologue in 2015. The Australian rider refused to be drawn on whether he was cursed, instead looking for positives in the result.
“Maybe you could say that but I think it’s great consistency as well,” he said. “I’m not regretting anything. I rode a good race. Danny was really fast today; he’s a WorldTour rider so there’s no disappointment in coming second.
“It was great to see my teammate Alex in third as well.
“It’s a great course… I’m happy.”
Defending Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Chris Froome was the last man of the 104 riders out of the start house in Federation Square, the bustling crowd cheering the three-time Tour de France winner on. Froome was pleased to arrive at the finish line at Queensbridge Square with his teammate on the top of the podium.
“It’s a great start for the team, with Danny winning – that’s giving us a lot of confidence going into the week ahead,” he said. “He did a great ride.”
Froome admitted that the course was no easier second time around.
“It’s definitely a bit of a lung buster – you just have two minutes to get everything out,” he said. “It’s not really my kind of course, but it’s great to kick the week off.”
Top 25 Finishers
1 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky 0:02:32
2 Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor 0:00:01
3 Alex Frame (NZl) JLT Condor
4 Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:00:02
5 Leigh Howard (Aus) Aqua Blue Sport 0:00:03
6 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness
7 Jesse Kerrison (Aus) IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness
8 Ian Bibby (GBr) JLT Condor 0:00:04
9 Travis McCabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
10 Cameron Bayly (Aus) IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness
11 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
12 Joseph Cooper (NZl) IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness
13 Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-Scott 0:00:05
14 Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport
15 Ayden Toovey (Aus) NSW Institute of Sport 0:00:06
16 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky
17 Robbie Hucker (Aus) IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness
18 Cameron Meyer (Aus) KordaMentha Real Estate Australian National Team
19 Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott
20 Brad Evans (NZl) Drapac–Pat’s Veg
21 Jacob Kauffmann (Aus) NSW Institute of Sport
22 Greg Henderson (NZl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:07
23 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
24 Darcy Ellerm-Norton (NZl) St George Continental Cycling Team
25 Lachlan Norris (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
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