Sun Tour: Big Shake up on Stage 2


Nathan Haas grabs Garmin-Sharp second stage win and moves into yellow whilst Brits miss the move with Handley best in 43rd

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Garmin-Sharp continued to flex its collective muscle on the roads of Victoria, as former race champion Nathan Haas held off all-comers in a long, uphill bunch sprint to claim stage one of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Ballarat. After Kiwi teammate Jack Bauer snared the Jayco Herald Sun Yellow Jersey for the American WorldTour outfit in Wednesday evening’s city centre prologue, Haas assumed the leaders mantle with his powerful display up Sturt Street.

For the 2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion, the stage win was his first as a professional in Garmin-Sharp colours, and a victory he said he owed to confidence gained from his strong Tour Down Under performance two weeks ago. “I know that my form’s good now and confidence comes with that,” 24-year-old Haas said. “So [the Tour Down Under] was a nice litmus test for this race, which really is to me probably my most favourite race in the world.”

While buoyed by the victory, Haas revealed his role across the closing stages of the race had been to deliver teammate and national criterion champion Steele Von Hoff to the line. “He was going to take my wheel through that final section, and one of the fantastic things about Steel is that he really thinks about the bigger picture in the sprint.”

“Obviously he saw the door open for me and he didn’t get on it so he left the gap and then I went.”

Crossing in front of Orica-GreenEDGE’s powerhouse sprinter Matthew Goss and Drapac Professional Cycling’s fast-man Jonathan Cantwell in the bunch sprint, Haas earned a ten second time bonus and subsequently now holds a seven second advantage at the top of the general classification standings.

Haas heads teammate Bauer, with prologue podium finisher William Clarke of Drapac Porsche a further two seconds adrift. Orica-GreenEDGE’s Simon Gerrans moved into the race top-ten, now placed ninth overall and 13 seconds behind race leader Haas, after finishing eighth on the opening road stage into Ballarat.

It was an emotional Haas that spoke after the stage victory, confident his team had the arsenal to defend the jersey right through until the final stage on Arthur’s Seat. “I’ve got a lot of confidence at the moment that I can do it, and I’ve got even more confidence that the team’s going to give me the opportunity to keep doing it,” Haas said. “We’re here to win this race and it really suits us to the ground.”

Earlier in the stage, it was a three man breakaway that made the early escape from the peloton on the outskirts of Geelong, with Thomas Hamilton (Jayco Australian U23 National Team), Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Nathan Elliott (African Wildlife Safaris Cycling) gaining as much as three minutes 26 second advantage over the main field.

After looking shaky at stages, the break held together to the top of the first Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain climb, a category one ascent up Glenmore Hill. Hamilton claimed maximum points on the climb, leading Bettiol and Elliott across the summit with 47 kilometres remaining in the stage and a diminishing two minutes 33 second advantage over the peloton.

Hitting maximum grades of 27 percent, the brutal climb wreaked havoc in the peloton, forcing the field to fracture. A group of 15 riders emerged at the front, giving chase to the three-man group up the road. Orica-GreenEDGE flexed their muscle, with five of their six riders – including race favourite Gerrans – amongst the aggressors in the chase.

Damien Howson was the sole rider from the Australian WorldTour outfit unable to join the chase. Eventual stage winner Haas and Garmin-Sharp teammates Von Hoff and Bauer were also in the chase group.

Reeling in the breakaway on the descent of Glenmore Hill, the now lead group of 18 established a 32 second buffer over the peloton, before the bulk of riders came back together again over the top of the second Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain climb, the category four Mount Egerton, and would power on across the remaining 28 kilometres to the finish line in Ballarat.

For their efforts in the breakaway, Hamilton earned the Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain Jersey, while Bettiol claimed the Subaru Orange Most Aggressive Jersey.

Haas added the Chain Reaction Cycles Green Sprinters Jersey to his haul from the stage, while 20-year-old Harry Carpenter of the Jayco Australian U23 National Team moved into the State Government of Victoria White Under 23 Jersey after finishing 28th on the stage, and moving to 14th overall.

Best of the British riders was Richard Handley who finished 2.26 down in 43rd place.

1 HAAS Nathan Garmin Sharp 03:04:12
2 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE @ st
3 CANTWELL Jonathan Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
4 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
5 VAN DER PLOEG Neil Avanti Cycling Team @ st
6 SHAW Patrick KordaMentha Team Australia @ st
7 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale @ st
8 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ st
9 BEVIN Patrick New Zealand @ st
10 GIACOPPO Anthony Avanti Cycling Team @ st

19 LAPTHORNE Darren Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
22 ANDERSON Jack Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
23 NORRIS Lachlan Drapac Professional Cycling @ st
38 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp @ st

43 HANDLEY Richard Rapha Condor JLT 02:26
46 CARTHY Hugh Rapha Condor JLT @ st
49 DAVIES Scott Great Britain @ 6.46
60 CUMING Michael Rapha Condor JLT @ st
67 WITMITZ Sam Team Budget Forklifts @ 9.47
72 LAWLESS Christopher Great Britain @ st
73 MOSES Thomas Rapha Condor JLT @ st
74 ENGLISH Felix Rapha Condor JLT @ st
75 BURTON Germain Great Britain @ st
76 SCULLY Thomas New Zealand @ st
81 ROGERS Rico OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team 14:29
84 WOOD Olivier Great Britain @ st
86 LATHAM Christopher Great Britain @ st
92 OPIE Christopher Rapha Condor JLT @ st
95 RAGAN Jacob Great Britain 17:54

1 Nathan HAAS GRS 3:07:05
2 Jack BAUER GRS 0:07
3 William CLARKE DPC 0:09
4 Matthew GOSS OGE same time
5 Steele VON HOFF GRS 0:11
6 Simon CLARKE OGE 0:12
8 Jonathon CANTWELL DPC st
9 Simon GERRANS OGE 0:13
10 Anthony GIACOPPO APC st


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