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by Mark Zalewski
February 4, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Rowe solos to stage 2 Sun Tour win, Howson retains yellow despite late puncture; Magnus Cort Nielsen wins sprint finish at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana; Calmejane wins Etoile de Bessèges stage, takes over lead; Two sides to every story: Grivko shares account of Dubai skirmish with Kittel that led to expulsion; Organisers shorten then cancel Dubai Tour stage over high winds; Brailsford responds to Cooke’s allegations; Cholet Pays de Loire race cancelled for 2017; Citing lack of team participation, Tour of Turkey seeks to postpone to fall; Is cycling globalisation spreading teams too thin?; Van der Poel eyeing mountain bike races again for 2017; Rossignol acquires Felt Bicycles; Die-in demonstration planned for British Treasury; Routes announced for 2018 Commonwealth Games road events; Backstage Pass: Jayco Herald Sun Tour, stages 1-3.
Two road stages of the 2017 Jayco Herald Sun Tour complete and two victories for riders usually consigned to working for others. A day after Damien Howson (Orica-Scott) won solo on Falls Creek to take the yellow jersey, Luke Rowe (Sky) took his own solo victory by attacking from the day-long breakaway. But the real drama on today’s stage 2 happened in what remained of the peloton in the final 20km, several minutes behind Rowe. While Rowe was riding away from his breakaway companions on the tough climb to Stanley, race leader Howson was in difficulty at the bottom of the climb, his progress halted by a front-wheel puncture. Howson took a wheel from his teammate Mitch Docker and was soon on his way, but the South Austalian had a considerable chase on his hands.
Somewhere around the time Howson punctured, defending champion Chris Froome (Sky) attacked solo out of the peloton. It’s not clear whether Froome attacked once he saw Howson was in difficulty, or if, as Froome suggests, he only realised later that Howson had flatted.
“We obviously wanted to shake things up on the general classification so we hit the climb hard,” Froome said. “Halfway up we heard that Howson had punctured but by then the race was in full swing and there was no stopping again.”
“Once I made it over the climb and Kenny and I … found ourselves in the front group from the rest of the peloton we just sat on the wheels; pretty much just tried to stay at the front,” Froome said. “Obviously it all came back together for the finish with the Orica guys bringing Howson back.”
Froome’s account differs to that of his teammate and stage winner, Luke Rowe. According to Rowe, Froome sat up when he heard Howson had flatted and his sports director told him to “stop riding”.
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