On the opening road stage of Herald Sun Tour, Froome was splitting the peloton to pieces up the Mt St Leonard climb with teammate Peter Kennaugh the only rider capable of following his wheel.
The duo arrived at the finish line in Healesville, where the stage had started 126.1km previously, with Kennaugh enjoying his second win in a week following his solo success at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and moving into the overall race lead.
“I am really happy, that’s the first real big hit out I’ve had this season and I was really happy with my feelings and I think it’s a really great start to the season for me,” Froome said following the podium celebrations where he collected the king of the mountains jersey.
Having set his Team Sky teammates to pace setting duties on the front of the peloton leading into the 8.3km Mt St Leonard climb, once the day’s six-man breakaway was reeled in on the lower slopes, Froome then attacked in familiar fashion to ride off the front of the peloton. With Kennaugh bridging over to his teammate, the duo then worked together for the run in to the line with Froome assisting the British national champion to the stage and yellow jersey double.
Froome explained in his post-race comments that Sky’s tactics played out to perfection as he thanked his teammate’s for their efforts, singling out Kennaugh for all of his previous work in contributing to victories.
“It was a good day for us out there. The climb wasn’t super selective on paper and I think a lot of people were expecting it to come back to a bunch sprint but we don’t really have any sprinters here so we thought, well we don’t really have many opportunities here so let’s just give it everything we’ve got and the guys did a fantastic job setting it up,” he said.
Herald Sun Tour 2016 – stage 1 results (Healesville – Healesville):
General classification after stage 1:
- Peter Kennaugh (Sky) 3:04:16
- Chris Froome (Sky) +07”
- Dion Smith (ONE) +23”
- Robbie Hucker (Avanti IsoWhey) +25”
- Joseph Cooper (Avanti IsoWhey) +26”
- Damien Howson (Orica GreenEDGE) +27”
- Anthony Giacopo (Avanti IsoWhey) ,,
- Jack Bobridge (Trek-Segafredo) +28”
- Nathan Earle (Drapac) ,,
- Chris Hamilton (Australia) ,,
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Australia Chris Froome climb dion smith Healesville herald sun tour ONE Peter kennaugh Sky