The Australian Under 23 National Team got off to a perfect start winning the opening team time trial before Jai Hindley (WA) sprinted to second on the afternoon road stage at Toscana Terra di Ciclismo Eroica, Friday April 28.
After blitzing the early morning team time trial by nearly 30 seconds on their nearest rivals the team controlled the afternoon road stage with Hindley claiming second from a two rider break and Robert Stannard (NSW) finishing fifth.
With one stage remaining the team holds the top three spots on the general classification. Hindley sits in the leaders jersey with Stannard and Lucas Hamilton (VIC) sitting second and third 26 and 36 seconds back respectively. While Hindley has a 51 second lead on his closest rival in fourth.
“I think I speak for all the boys when I say we were super happy and relieved to get a win especially in the TTT,” Hindley said of the first win for the team in 2017 following five podium finishes.
The last team to start the team time trial at just after 10AM the Under 23 National Team stopped the clock in 20 minutes and 14 seconds for the 14.6 kilometre course. 25 seconds clear of Unieuro Trevigiana-Hemus 1896 with Team Colpack a further 14 seconds back.
With the decisive point on the afternoon 125km stage between Cinigiano and Civitella Marittima coming in the final third of the stage, the team was happy to control the race heading to the crucial five kilometre climb with 25 kilometres remaining. With sections reaching 20 percent the climb was the perfect launching pad for an attack.
“Sam [Jenner] and Harry [Sweeny] were riding the front pretty much all day and gave Lucas, Michael, Rob and I a prefect run into the last climb,” Hindley explained.
“The climb itself was pretty brutal and ripped what was left of the front group apart. I ended up following an attack towards the top and the Euro champ bridged before the KOM and that ended up being the move.”
Riders will tackle a tough 147.5 kilometre stage between Foiano della Chiana and Buonconvento on Saturday with nearly 50 kilometres of strada bianca (white dirt roads).
“The strada bianca sectors are fun but super unpredictable. We’re using awesome equipment so that really helps. We’re sitting top three on GC, which shows how strong everyone is riding. So hopefully we can maintain the positions after tomorrow’s stage.”
Stage 1a (TTT)
1 Australian Under 23 National Team
2 Unieuro Trevigiana-Hemus 1896 +25
3 Team Copack +39
2 Jai Hindley +0
5 Robert Stannard +26
13 Lucas Hamilton +36
24 Michael Storer +3:21
29 Harry Sweeny +5:43
37 Sam Jenner +9:11
General Classification after Stage 1b
1 Jai Hindley
2 Robert Stannard +26
3 Lucas Hamilton +36
16 Michael Storer + 3:21
27 Harry Sweeny +6:25
33 Sam Jenner +9:40