Oceania Champion Lucas Hamilton (VIC) claimed his second podium in as many races with third place at the Under Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Saturday April 15.
Hamilton’s third place finish was Australia’s first in the history of the race and one he was particularly pleased with following a confusing finish.
“Coming into the sprint on the velodrome we got caught up in the chasing group that just entered the velodrome so the sprint was really confusing but I’m happy to finish on the podium,” 21-year-old Hamilton explained.
“After a couple of tough climbs I was part of a lead group of four that worked well together to the finish.With the bunch only 30 seconds behind we didn’t have much room for movement so every climb was a really quick tempo and with head wind majority of the time no one attacked.”
The podium finish was set up as Hamilton made a decisive move with Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal U23), James Knox (Wiggins) and William Barta (Axeon Hagens Berman) over the top of the penultimate climb, the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, with around 25 kilometres remaining.
While never gaining much more than 30 seconds the quartet worked well together storming over the Côte d’Ans as they raced towards the velodrome finish in Ans.
The Victorian was again full of praise for Australian National Under 23 team with at least one rider in all major moves from the start.
“The team were really impressive today and put themselves in all potential winning moves and with the weather changing all day they helped me a lot to keep warm and look after myself. Everyone in the team was really strong.”
Following a number of early skirmishes Sam Jenner (NSW) and Michael Storer (WA) were part of a 12 rider group. Initially looking promising they quickly established a lead just shy of one and a half minutes with 60 kilometres raced. The strength of the break forced the peloton in to action with the gap tumbling and absorbed 15 kilometres later.
Herald Sun Tour podium finished Jai Hindley (WA) was the next rider to find himself at the front of the race with Sean MacKinnon (An Post-ChainReaction) and under 23 Tour of Flanders winner Edward Dunbar. Working well together the trio built a maximum advantage of one minute and 20 seconds with 70 kilometres of the 178-kilometre race to go.
A concerted chase in what remained of a rapidly thinning out peloton lead by the BMC Development Team absorbed the leaders as they summitted the Côte de La Redoute with 30 kilometres remaining. It was here Hamilton swung in to action making the crucial selection.
The Under 23 Australian National Team returns to Italy for back to back races on Monday and Tuesday the Giro del Belvedere and G.P. Palio del Recioto on Tuesday back in Italy.
Australia has tasted success at both races in the past, with Caleb Ewan winning the G.P. Palio del Recioto in 2013 and Robert Power finishing second a year later. With Mitchell Mulhern a podium finisher at the Giro del Belvedere.
“We have a couple of one day races coming up that suit us and we are looking forward to it so hopefully we can step a couple steps up on the podium,” Hamilton added.
Australian Under 23 National Team Results
3 Lucas Hamilton
20 Robert Stannard +34
24 Jai Hindley +34
38 Michael Storer +2:52
80 Samuel Jenner +9:54
DNF Harry Sweeny