Stannard wins final stage thriller

05 Feb 2017

Stannard wins final stage thriller

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Ian Stannard ensured Team Sky finished the Herald Sun Tour on a high with a rousing final stage victory.

The Brit had pushed on up the road as part of a large breakaway, and after ticking off laps on an undulating course around Kinglake, he attacked following the final climb.
With none of his rivals able to follow Stannard was able to open up a gap in the final kilometre, with enough left in the tank to cross the line and win by just under a bike-length.
Team Sky threw everything at the stage, with Chris Froome, Kenny Elissonde, Luke Rowe and Sebastian Henao all on the attack in the closing stages.
Elissonde was able to finish in the chasing pack to make sure of third place overall, 53 seconds back on overall victor Damien Howson (Orica-Scott). Froome got some extremely useful racing kilometres in his legs too on the way to sixth.
A consistent week, including three stage victories, ensured Team Sky also wrapped up the team classification in Victoria.
Ian Stannard

Ian Stannard

We've come here and we wanted to have some fun and some good racing. That's what it's been about and it's worked well for us.
After the stage Stannard described the tactical balancing act: "I knew the guys wanted to spice it up behind and I wasn't quite sure how I felt. I had a big day chasing for that last 30km yesterday and I went pretty deep. 
"I didn't feel great early on but I came round toward the end of the race. I knew they wanted to come up so I thought I might as well see if I could play the game a bit and hang on."

Froome was quick to pay tribute to his team-mate Stannard, as well as the Australian public who have come in their droves to support the race.
"He's an absolute beast. An incredible rider. That's the thing about Ian. He's so versatile. He's 85 kilos or something but he wins on top of a climb. Scary!
"The atmosphere has been brilliant along the roadside and I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone for coming out and making the race as special as it is."
Elissonde happy with start

In only his second stage race with the team the Frenchman told that he's enjoying life so far as a Sky rider, and content with third place in Australia.

"It's nice, especially for me to learn how to race with the team. For sure we wanted to win the GC here, not necessarily with me but with Chris Froome. But I think I was able to show with third place the improvements I've made in the last few months riding with the team. 

"It's great to have a leader like Chris who allowed me to do this, and I really have the desire to repay him at the big races he's targeting.

"I really feel happy in the team. One month on the road helps you to get to know everyone. I can't wait to go to the next race and I know I still have a lot of improvements to make ahead of the European racing."
Stage four result:
1. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) 2:52:44
2. Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport) s.t.
3. Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij)
4. Benjamin Hill (Attaque Team Gusto)
5. Robbie Hucker (IsoWhey Sports SwissWellness)
Overall classification:
1. Damien Howson (Orica-Scott) 15:25:13
2. Jai Hindley (Australia) +38"
3. Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky) +53"
4. Cameron Meyer (Australia) +1:08"
5. Michael Storer (Australia) +1:10"
6. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +1:12"

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