The penultimate stage of the 2019 Jayco Herald Sun Tour has seen the might of Team SKY and Mitchelton-SCOTT dominate, as riders battled the heat and 4 climbs of the famous Arthurs Seat.
Surviving from the day’s early breakaway, Australian Nicholas SCHULTZ (Mitchelton-SCOTT) claimed his first professional victory.
“A lot of it is down to right time right place, the whole team was strong, we put the GC teams under the pump right from kilometre zero. I was the lucky one to sneak into the right moves that were sort of given a bit of leeway, it was a perfect scenario. Sky had numbers they also had Van Baarl up there who was ahead of me on GC, so they just drilled it until Dylan and I went with two laps to go from there it was all out… I just had to go as deep as I could to the line to get the stage win.”
“I think at the bottom of the climb we were both at our limit, he pulled harder than me on the flat part of the circuit or the descent, I had an inkling that we were both at our limit and I think also with his GC ambitions in mind it suited him for me to ride as hard as I could up the climb as well, so it just all worked out well.”
And on the 24 year old’s breakthrough pro win.
“It means the world, I’ve been kicking around for two years on a smaller pro-conti outfit, great experience but I can’t thank Gerry and the team at Mitchelton-SCOTT enough for the opportunity to be here first of all. Until you’re part of a structure that allows a win like that it’s a bit harder in the smaller teams.”
Dutch national time trial champion Dylan VAN BAARLE crossed the line just behind breakaway companion Schultz to claim second place as well as the Jayco Herald Sun leader’s jersey, pushing himself to the limit and collapsing to the ground after the line in sheer exhaustion. He will ride in yellow tomorrow.
Van Baarle, who has fought back from breaking his pelvis in a crash at Vuelta a España last year, heads into the final stage of the Tour with a 24 second advantage to Shultz.
“That was not really the plan that I was in the break. The plan was that myself, Christian (Knees) and Luke (Rowe) were there but then I saw that EF was really suffering to close the gap on the big group then I saw Christian and Luke going and then I thought, this is the right moment.”
“Nick did an amazing last climb, he went from the bottom to the finish, at 150 to go I thought he was dying but then he kept going … at the end I was totally empty.”
“This morning there were still two stages left so you never know what’s going to happen, if you don’t try, even if Michael (Woods) and Richie (Porte) are the best climbers in the world, you have to try and that’s what we did.”
Australian Chris Harper (Team Bridgelane) came in for third place on the stage, 1 minute 45 seconds in arrears.
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour will finish tomorrow at The Botanic Gardens, with the Gumbuya World Stage 5 – 22 laps of a 4.05km course around the gardens and Anderson St hill. Our Tour winner will be crowned at post-race presentation.