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by Shane Stokes
February 2, 2018
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WARRNAMBOOL, Australia (CT) – Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) summed it up best: “I don’t know if you can explain what happened out there – it was definitely chaotic in the last 30 kilometres.” Steele von Hoff (Bennelong-SwissWellness) painted a similar picture: “I looked down at my Garmin: we had about 40k’s to go. Looked down again: five k’s to go.”
What began as a rather sedate stage 1 of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour ended in truly exhilarating fashion. There were echelons, there were splits, there were crashes, and there were more splits. There was the yellow jersey losing time, there were other GC contenders making up time, and to cap it all there was a nail-biting sprint from nine riders to decide the stage.
Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) would win that particular battle, snagging victory ahead of von Hoff and Meyer. In doing so he’d also move into the overall lead.
There’d been plenty of talk of crosswinds at the start of the stage. A stiff breeze from the south-east meant action was likely when the race hit the famous Great Ocean Road and swung west along the coast towards Warrnambool. It didn’t unfold exactly like that, but unfold it certainly did.
“We thought when we hit the Great Ocean Road the first time, 80km in, that echelons would form. But it didn’t,” Meyer said. “It was a bit of tailwind and it wasn’t till about 30k out that it split. And when it split then … yeah – riders everywhere.”
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