Oceania Champion Lucas Hamilton (VIC) continued his early season form to finish second at the G.P. Palio del Recioto, his fourth podium finish in a row on Tuesday, April 18th.
The race has long been a successful one for the Australian Under 23 National Team as they claimed a podium finish for the fourth time in five years. Following Caleb Ewan’s victory in 2013 and Rob Power and Jack Haig finishing second in 2014 and 2015.
“It is my fourth podium in a row and I’m really happy with where I’m at but the team we have is the reason we get these results and that’s including the staff and I’m really thankful for all their help,” said Hamilton crediting the team with the result.
Hamilton’s climbing ability was again on display as the 21-year-old attacked from a 22 rider break with eventual winner Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) on the tough finishing circuit with the duo powering away from a strong chase group to contest race honours.
It was the second time Hamilton and Powless have battled for the win with the American holding off a late surge by Hamilton on the final stage of the Tour de l’Avenir last year.
“It was a really tough circuit today and being on the front foot was the only way to race it. Jai and myself got in the early group and we rode well together to hold the lead.
“With the weather changing it was even more reason to be out the front with some really technical roads on the circuit.
“On the final circuit it was a longer climb and myself and Powless escaped the lead group and rode well together to the finish. The team again all participated in the result in a big way,” Hamilton added as he again threw praise on his teammates for their support is setting up the result.
“Jai really put the pressure on early on the final climb and had great legs all day. The final descent was tricky but with a handy lead myself and Powless didn’t take any silly risks and made it safely to the finish line.”
In contrast to Monday at the Giro del Belvedere where a break couldn’t get away, a strong 22 rider group that included Hamilton and Jai Hindley (WA) formed in the opening hour of racing. The group included two riders from Axeon Hagens Berman and three from BMC Development Team, giving the move the right make up to succeed.
Quickly establishing an advantage of one minute and 45 seconds as the race covered the six laps of the opening 18.2 kilometre circuit that included the short Colle Masua climb. With the wet conditions thinning out the peloton only 40 riders remained in the chase group as the race approached the tough finishing circuit.
As the leading group stormed towards Marano and Santa Cristina and the crucial 10 kilometre climb Hamilton and Powless made their move. Quickly distancing what remained of the early break. Over the top of the climb with their eye on the finishing line they held a one minute advantage on Tadej Pogacar (ROG – Ljubljana) and a further 30 seconds on a 10 rider group including Hindley and Michael Storer (WA).
With the run to the finish in Negrar all downhill there was no catching Hamilton and Powless, with Powless managing to outsprint Hamilton for the win. Pogacar was caught on the descent leaving the Storer and Hindley group to battle for the final podium spot, with Storer just missing out on a podium appearance in fourth with Hindley 10th.
The Australian Under 23 National Team continues their season at the Trofeo Città di San Vendemiano on Sunday.