Ali Slater sprinted to 6th on the final hilly stage of the 2017 Herald Sun Tour.
The performance added another top ten finish to JLT Condor’s campaign which included podium visits for Brenton Jones, Alex Frame. Plus a combativity jersey for Steve Lampier who also produced a top 5 finish on stage 2.
“This edition was probably one of the hardest in recent years. The parcours and level of competition really set it apart and our riders featured in the moves and top ten each day as well as hold their positions on the GC.”
Stage three was marred by two large crashes at 3km and 1.5km to go taking down Alex Frame and Brenton Jones, who was a favourite to win the stage. Edmund Bradbury was also affected by the crash. “Luckily there are no broken bones, but its frustrating for Brenton as he really felt he could take the stage win. The boys have deep cuts and it meant an awkward night of sleep before the final day.” explained John Herety.
Watch highlights of all five days of the Herald Sun Tour on Australian channel, SBS. International viewers can rewatch on Eurosport Player.
The final day
Sunday’s final stage passed through the town of Kinglake four times, each time ascending the steep road to the finish. Ali Slater was part of a twelve rider group that went away early,with relentless ascents splintering the group and shrinking their 3 minute lead to just 15 seconds by the time the escapees reached the final lap of the circuit.
Behind the breakaway, Froome and his team mates attacked the yellow jersey in an attempt to drop Damien Howson from what reminded of the bunch. As attacks were fired one after the other JLT Condor’s Ian Bibby remained alert, following wheels to stay in contact with Froome and protect his overall GC position.
On the final ascension into Kinglake the breakaway fractured once more and had only an 11 second advantage. Team Sky’s Ian Stannard sprinted from the break to take the win with Ali Slater crossing the line in 6th.
In the end, Team Sky’s efforts to unseat the yellow jersey tore apart the race but never managed to lift Chris Froome from 6th place overall. Froome finished 1 minute 12 seconds in arrears with Ian Bibby taking 11th on GC at 1 minute 21 second.
“It was a good race, the new profiles and courses make the Sun Tour more about climbing this year and Ian and Edmund were riding well in the GC group and able to go with moves each day.”
“Steve showed great performances on stage one and two, representing the team in the breakaway.”
– John Herety
Eleven riders from the team will spend one more week training in Australia before returning to Britain to build up for stage races in March.
“It has been a hard race but a great week of racing and a fantastic 6 weeks in Australia. We’ve all worked well together and we take home the yellow jersey from the Bay Classic too”
– Ian Bibby