Australian Damien Howson eclipses Chris Froome to win Herald Sun Tour

Briton Ian Stannard from Team Sky claims victory on the final stage in Kinglake in Victoria

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 5:12pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 February, 2017, 5:12pm

Young Australian Damien Howson upstaged international stars Chris Froome and Esteban Chaves on Sunday to win the overall Herald Sun Tour ahead of fellow countryman Jai Hindley.

Briton Ian Stannard from Team Sky crossed the line first on the 121 kilometre fourth and final stage in Kinglake in Victoria state, just ahead of New Zealander Aaron Gate from Aqua Blue Sport.

Howson from Orica-Scott, 24, and 20-year-old Hindley from the Australian National Team led the overall standings since stage one on Thursday ahead of third-placed Frenchman Kenny Elissonde from Team Sky.

“I’m really happy to join that list of guys,” Howson said. “It’s my first overall win ever. It’s also nice to break into new territory for myself.”

Defending champion and three-time Tour de France winner Froome from Team Sky hailed the South Australian’s efforts to become the overall winner of his country’s oldest stage race.

“Damien Howson was really strong,” said the 31-year-old Briton, who finished sixth in the overall.

“He rode a great stage on Falls Creek and has defended the jersey really well.”

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Colombian Chaves was ninth in the overall standings.

Froome’s teammate Stannard, 29, attacked following the final climb, opening up a gap that his rivals could not close to take the stage.

“I knew the guys wanted to spice it up behind,” Stannard said.

“I wasn’t sure how I felt. I had a big day chasing that last 30 kilometres yesterday, I went pretty deep and felt not great early and came around towards the end of the race.”

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Dutchman Taco Van Der Hoorn from Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij finished third on the final stage.

Stannard’s victory capped a successful few days for Team Sky, with Luke Rowe also winning stage two of the Tour on Friday.

“We’ve come here and wanted to have some fun and some good racing – that’s what it’s been about and it’s worked well for us,” Stannard said.