Dion Smith of Mitchelton-SCOTT led the charge for New Zealand on the final day of racing at the Herald Sun Tour, finishing second in stage 5 of the race, with Alex Frame of Trek-Segafredo 4th and Tom Scully of EF Education-First 5th.
The final stage of the 2019 Herald Sun Tour took the field on 22 laps of a circuit of just over 4km; totalling 89.1km. With no KOM points on offer around the circuit the jersey was just about a formality with Christian Knees only needing to finish to ensure victory.
A breakaway of six riders – which became eight – lit up much of the race with Trek-Segafredo’s Ryan Mullen, Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Damien Howson, EF Education-First’s Jimmy Whelan and Mitch Docker, St George Continental’s Ryan Cavanagh, Alistair Donohue of Pro Racing Sunshine Coast and Jesse Ewart of Sapura. Mullen and Docker were the late additions to the move, that tried valiantly to keep the peloton at bay; a bunch that was led by Team Sky and EvoPro Racing.
Ryan Mullen attacked repeatedly in the closing laps, but to no avail as the break were onto him every time; but so too, more importantly, were the bunch. Team Sky led the catch to the break with less than 1 lap (4km) to go. From there it was all about the big bunch sprint that saw a mixture of riders, purer sprinters vs punchier sprinters, line up for their chance at a last day stage win.
New Zealanders were well positioned in the fight for the line with Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Robert Stannard initially looking like the protected rider but then playing lead out man for teammate Dion Smith; with Sam Bewley also supporting. Alex Frame was also very well positioned behind his Trek-Segafredo teammates as the finish approached and so too Scully.
But in the sprint for the line it was Dion Smith who came closest to challenging Team Sky’s Kristoffer Halvorsen who powered away to the stage win; Sky’s second of the tour. Dion Smith finished third ahead of Brenton Jones of Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia; with Alex Frame and Tom Scully 4th and 5th respectively. Hayden McCormick of Team BridgeLane also slotted into the top 20; finishing 17th and one place ahead of Richie Porte.
Overall the race belonged to Team Sky’s Dylan van Baarle, who claimed the overall crown by 24 seconds from Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Nick Schultz at 24 seconds; with Michael Woods third at 1.52mins.
Daniel Whitehouse was the highest placed Brit/Kiwi in 12th place at 5.27mins, with Dion Smith 17th at 8.55mins and Hayden McCormick just outside the top 20 in 21st place.
|Rank||Last Name||First Name||Country||Team||Result|
|2||SMITH||Dion||NZL||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||01:55:56|
|4||FRAME||Alex||NZL||TREK – SEGAFREDO||01:55:56|
|5||SCULLY||Tom||NZL||EF Education First||01:55:56|
|6||SCHULTZ||Nicholas||AUS||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||01:55:56|
|8||WOODS||Michael||CAN||EF Education First||01:55:56|
|9||VAN BAARLE||Dylan||NED||TEAM SKY||01:55:56|
|10||YATES||Theodore||AUS||Drapac Cannondale Holistic development team||01:55:56|
|16||PANTANO GOMEZ||Jarlinson||COL||TREK – SEGAFREDO||01:56:00|
|18||PORTE||Richie||AUS||TREK – SEGAFREDO||01:56:00|
|20||HAMILTON||Lucas||AUS||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||01:56:00|