Will Clarke claims prologue time trial at the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour

by Matt de Neef

MELBOURNE (CT) – Will Clarke (Drapac) has won the prologue time trial at the 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour, completing the technical 2.1km course in the heart of Melbourne with a time of 2:35.53 (48.8km/h average).

Clarke, who finished third on a similar course in last year’s Sun Tour prologue, was joined on the podium by Orica-GreenEdge rising star Caleb Ewan (2:36.42, second place) and Clarke’s teammate Brenton Jones (2:36.85, third place).

Jones spent much of the evening in the hot seat after beating the time of Orica-GreenEdge’s Sam Bewley, who made the early running with a time of 2:37.19 — fast enough for the New Zealander to finish fourth.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour defending champion Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) was the last of the 93 starters to take to the course, finishing in seventh place two seconds behind his victorious namesake.

For Will Clarke, the improvement over last year came at least partially from a better start.

“Last year I nearly crashed in the first corner so that probably cost me half a second or so,” Clarke said. “But this year there weren’t too many errors — maybe one corner I maybe went in a little over-geared, but everything went pretty smooth.”

The 2.1km course, which began at Melbourne’s Federation Square and ended on Southbank after a number of tight corners, featured a different start to last year’s event. Clarke made sure to recon it carefully.

“The start’s a bit different so I probably went over it about four or five times, just to get [in my mind] how to take the corners.”

The win puts Clarke into the overall lead ahead of tomorrow’s stage 1, but the Tasmanian breakaway specialist doesn’t harbour ambitions of winning the race overall.

“I’m probably not the GC rider for Drapac but we’ve got some strong climbers and BJ (Brenton Jones) for the sprints,” Clarke said. “Hopefully I can help [Jones] out there in the sprint stages and maybe even look for a breakaway for myself.”

The 2015 Jayco Herald Sun Tour features five days of racing: this evening’s prologue time trial and four road stages. Tomorrow’s stage 1 takes the riders 156.9km from Mount Macedon to Bendigo with two categorised climbs along the way: Mount Macedon itself, and Mount Alexander.

Race results

[rrresults format=’full’ id= 150829]

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