The 2020 men’s edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour had it all: thrilling racing, the emergence of a host of promising new talents, scenic surrounds, summits and city-centres. The general classification was hard fought, with WorldTour titans like Mitchelton-Scott and Sunweb mixing it up with future stars from local continental squads.
But after five stages, perhaps the abiding takeaway from this year’s men’s Sun Tour should be how solid the young race-winning Sunweb squad was. The German team held the race lead from start to finish – first with neo-pro sprinter Alberto Dainese, and then with dual-stage winner Jai Hindley who proved absolutely imposing whenever the road tilted up. The team held the points classification jersey for much of the race, claimed the KOM jersey with Hindley, and took out the teams classification to boot.
If you’re into written features, look no further than Matt de Neef’s
reporting from the race, which covered the main beats of each day’s racing and some fascinating side stories.
If you’re more visually-inclined, however, here’s a look back at the 2020 Sun(web) Tour through the lens of photographer Con Chronis.
Stage one: Nagambie to Shepparton
Mitch Docker gets some help at sign-on from his son Marlow.
The race rolled through the lush vines of Mitchelton Winery, Nagambie…
…and across Victoria’s sunbleached interior.
That’ll buff right out.
Hey, you know when you’re in a bike crash and that normal thing happens when your crank shears off?
Nick White came down hard in the same incident, broke a couple ribs, punctured his lung, and still rode about 80km to finish the stage. He was unable to take the start the following day, for obvious reasons.
Ryan Thomas (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast), Conor Murtagh (Oliver’s Real Food Racing), Team BridgeLane’s Ben Hill (Bridgelane), and Charles-Etienne Chretien (Aevolo) constituted the day’s break…
… before they were joined by Jesse Coyle (Nero Continental). The quintet built up a maximum lead of three minutes…
…and then Sunweb ramped up the tempo to bring it all back together for the sprint finish.
Italian sprinter Alberto Dainese rewarded his team’s efforts, taking his first victory as a WorldTour rider in his first race day for Sunweb. Stage two: Beechworth to Falls Creek
The peloton drops down Myrtleford-Stanley Road on the way from Beechworth to Falls Creek. (This descent is an absolute hoot, by the way, and you should totally check it out if you’re ever in the area.)
A wheely good day’s racing was in store.
Thanks to bushfire smoke, it was a hazy day in the high country.
The peloton enters a rare dropbear-free stretch of Victoria.
Aidan McNeil (Aevolo) and Kees Duyvesteyn (BridgeLane) suffered a race-ending crash.
Lachlan Morton (EF Pro Cycling) was an early animator on Falls Creek, spending some time off the front and ramping up the tension in the main field, which was gradually whittled down as the climb wore on.
At the summit of the 30km ascent, it was Jai Hindley that took the win, ahead of Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sebastian Berwick (St George Continental).
Hindley (centre) celebrates with an overrated soft drink and his teammates Michael Storer (left) and Rob Power (right).
2017 Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Damien Howson went deep on Falls Creek. Stage three: Bright to Wangaratta
Jai Hindley enjoying his first stage in yellow.
The peloton descends Tawonga Gap on the way from Bright to Wangaratta.
Seb Berwick wearing the best young rider classification jersey, rocking that inward-angled shifter thing.
In Wangaratta, 21-year-old Kaden Groves took the first pro win of his career ahead of former teammate (and stage one winner) Alberto Dainese.
Not a bad way to begin your first season in the big leagues. Stage four: Mansfield to Mount Buller
Sunweb controls the race from the front as the race heads to its final GC showdown on the slopes of Mount Buller.
New EF-Education First recruit Jonas Rutsch was a key animator in a move off the front …
… along with Ben Perry (Israel Start-up Nation), Aiden Toovey and Ben Hill (Bridgelane), Michael Rice (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast), Conor Murtagh (Oliver’s Real Food Racing), Ethan Batt (Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy) and David Williams (Kordamentha Australian National Team).
Simon Yates came into the Sun Tour as one of the favourites for the overall title, but was a little off his best and ended up riding in support of teammate Damien Howson.
James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) launched a promising move at around 3km remaining, but was caught by the winning move within the final kilometre. He’d have to settle for eighth on the stage.
Seb Berwick (St George; rear) was phenomenal through the entire race, lighting up this stage with an attack in the last gasps of the Mount Buller climb. Jai Hindley had his measure, taking another stage win and cementing the overall title; Berwick was an elated second on the stage.
Rounding out the podium for the day was a salt-crusted Jay Vine (Nero Continental). Stage five: Melbourne
The closing stage of the Sun Tour constituted 22 laps around the Botanical Gardens in the Melbourne CBD, which took the race past the Shrine of Remembrance.
Hindley sitting pretty between teammates.
James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling) had a decent Sun Tour. The second-year pro finished second in the KOM classification, wearing the jersey in lieu of race-leader Jai Hindley.
Kaden Groves fuels up for the sprint on the wheel of Hindley.
It was a Mitchelton-Scott one-two at stage’s end. Dion Smith celebrates behind Kaden Groves…
…who rounded out a great Sun Tour with a second stage win.
More like Sunwet, amiright?
The final podium – Jai Hindley in first, Seb Berwick in second, and Damien Howson in third. Berwick might still be figuring out this champagne cork thing, but based on his performance this week it seems inevitable that he’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
With three stage wins from five stages and having kept the yellow jersey in the team throughout the race, it was a more than successful campaign for Sunweb. Here they are, #creatingmemories with staged photos.
Jai Hindley takes the biggest win of his young career.