Three time Tour de France winner, Chris Froome lines up for his first race of 2017 this week, The Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
JLT Condor will look to capitalise on good form following race wins at the Mitchelton Bay Classic and NZ Classic in their first showing against World Tour opposition.
Described as “one of the toughest courses in the history of the race,” the five day race begins with a crowd pleasing prologue in Melbourne before heading out of the metropolitan areas for a hilly romp across the state of Victoria.
Chris Froome will attempt to defend his Herald Sun Tour title as he begins his stage race build up to the Tour de France.
Once again the race starts on Wednesday 1st February with a 2.1km prologue along the banks of the Yarra River in downtown Melbourne. Stage 1 from Wangaratta to the summit finish of Falls Creek, is sure to see the first major shake-up in the overall standings and play a pivotal role in deciding the 2017 winner. Squeezed in between the two climbing days is a tough stage 2, a 165.6km jaunt from Mount Beauty to Beechworth, and a day for the sprinters that takes the peloton from Benalla to Mitchelton Winery. The final day features four ascents through the Kinglake National Park and another summit finish.
John Herety highlighted that sprinter, Brenton Jones has ear marked the prologue for a good performance and the flat and fast stage three.
The 2017 parcours which will feature the challenging summit finish to Falls Creek resort on stage 1. The climb will certainly break up the general classification, look for strong performances from Ian Bibby and Steve Lampier.
Stage 2 from Mount Beauty to Beechworth traverses roads made famous by bushrangers, including the likes of Ned Kelly, on a day that is suited to a bunch sprint but complicated with the inclusion of the late Stanley climb.
“On paper stage two from Mt Beauty to Beechworth is a sprinters day but the 2nd category climb 15km before the finish will reduce the bunch. It could be a day for one of our other riders like Ian Bibby who can punch over the climbs.” – John Herety
“Stage three is for the pure fast men.”
Brenton Jones is well supported by Alex Frame, who is in good form following two sprint wins at the New Zealand Classic. Look out for the Australian rider, Jones who has previously finished third in the prologue of the race.
Climbers Edmund Bradbury and Mitchelton Bay Classic winner, Ian Bibby will be keen to test their legs after a month of training in Bendigo on the a tough final day circuit around Kinglake to the north of Melbourne. The new circuit in Kinglake features four ascents of the Glenburn Road Climb rather than the traditional summit finish of Arthurs Seat.
2017 Jayco Herald Sun Tour
Prologue, Wednesday, February 1: Melbourne, 2.1km
Stage 1, Thursday, February 2: Wangaratta – Falls Creek, 169.9km
Stage 2, Friday, February 3: Mt Beauty – Beechworth, 165.9km
Stage 3, Saturday, February 4: Benalla – Mitchelton Winery, 165.6km
Stage 4, Sunday, February 5: Kinglake Loop, 121km
Watch the racing
Watch the concluding stage live on SBS and Eurosport Australia from 1300-1600 on AEDT SBS Viceland and Eurosport Australia E1 (Channel 511)
Australian TV Highlights – all times shown at Australian Eastern Time
SBS Cycling Central
2nd Feb – Prologue 1700 – 1730
3-5th Feb – Stage highlights 1630-1730
Eurosport Australia (Channel 511)
2nd Feb – Prologue 1000-1100
2nd Feb – Stage 1 2200-2300
3rd Feb – Stage 2 2230-2330
4th Feb – Stage 3 2230-2330
6th Feb – Stage 4 2200-2300
UK Televised Highlights – all time shown as GMT
British Eurosport 2 has daily highlights of all the racing action.
Prologue – Wednesday 1 Feb – 2.00pm-2.30pm
Stage – 1 Thursday 2 Feb – 3.30pm-4.30pm
Stage – 2 Fri 3 Feb – 3.30pm-4.30pm
Stage – 3 Sat 4 Feb – 12.30pm -1.30pm
Stage – 4 Sun 5 Feb – 11.15am-12.00pm
Follow the race
An evening prologue across the street of the south bank are always a crowd pleaser.
Racing begins at 6.16pm (local time) with the final rider, Chris Froome leaving the start ramp just after 7pm (local time).
For those in the northern hemisphere the prologue will begin on Wednesday 1st February at 7.15am concluding at 8.30am.
All other stages of the race will begin at 10.30am (local time) stages will finish between 2.30-3pm (3-3.30am GMT).
Watch the race highlights on Eurosport Australia on Channel 511
See the presentations live on SBS’s Cycling Central.