Damien Howson of Orica-Scott has cemented his overall lead to be crowned winner of the 2017 Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Kinglake in Victoria.
Better known for his role as dogged domestique for higher profile teammates such as Esteban Chaves, the 24yo South Australian emerged victorious as overall champion of the 64th edition of Australia’s oldest stage race.
With former winners including luminaries such as Tour de France victors Chris Froome and Brad Wiggins, others such as Russell Mockridge, John Trevorrow and Simon Gerrans’ names are etched on the Sun Tour honour role.
“I’m really happy to join that list of guys and to get my first win only a couple of days ago to continue all the way through and keep the yellow jersey on the final day,” said an elated Howson after the presentation.
“It’s my first overall win ever,” he added. “It’s also nice to break into new territory for myself.”
Defending champion and Team Sky leader Chris Froome paid tribute to Howson’s determination and performance.
“Damien Howson was really strong. He rode a great stage on Falls Creek and has defended the jersey really well. Chapeau,” said Froomie.
Stannard Wins Final Stage
With a reputation as a classics specialist and already earmarked as a top contender for this year’s Paris-Roubaix, it was Team Sky’s Ian Stannard who won the fourth and final stage of the 2017 Sun Tour.
“We’ve come here and wanted to have some fun and some good racing,” said Stannard after the win.
“That’s what it’s been about and it’s worked well for us,” he added.
Commenting on Stannards performance, Chris Froome praised his teammate’s strength.
“He’s an absolute beast of a rider,” Froome said. “That’s the thing about Ian. He’s so versatile. He’s 85 kilos or something but still wins on top of a climb. It’s scary.”
Jayco Herald Sun Tour – Stage 4 Results
1. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) 2:52:44
2. Aaron Gate (Aqua Blue Sport) ST
3. Taco Van der Hoorn (RNL) ST
Jayco Herald Sun Tour – General Classification
1. Damien Howson (ORICA-SCOTT) 15:25:13
2. Jai Hindley (Korda Mentha Australia) +0:38
3. Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky) +0:53