• Froome then daylight at Arthurs Seat (Kathryn Watt)Source: Kathryn Watt
Chris Froome (Sky) asserted his dominance in cycling with a solo break on the final climb of the last stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, a decisive move that saw him win the stage, the general classification and the King of the Mountains jersey.
Cycling Central

7 Feb 2016 - 5:02 PM  UPDATED 8 Feb 2016 - 9:03 AM

The reigning Tour de France champion claimed the fourth and final stage at Arthurs Seat on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula and took the lead from Sky team-mate Peter Kennaugh.

The result caps an ideal start to the season for the Kenyan-born Brit, who treated the race as much more than a training ride.

He and Kennaugh dominated the tour, with Froome letting his team-mate win stage two and take the overall lead. Froome started today’s final stage trailing Kennaugh overall by 13 seconds.

Today's 122km stage ended with three circuits of the steep three kilometre climb at Arthurs Seat and the summit finish.

Froome accelerated over the first two ascents of Arthurs Seat to take maximum points in the King of the Mountains competition, which he won as well.

When New Zealander Joe Cooper (Avanti IsoWhey Sport) attacked after the second climb, Froome went with him. They built up a lead of around 20 seconds by the foot of the last climb, when Froome predictably dropped Cooper.

Froome went on to convincingly win the stage, beating Australian Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE) by 17 seconds. Fellow Australian Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) finished third, another four seconds behind.

Kennaugh was the big loser on the stage, finishing seventh, a position that saw him drop from first to second overall, with a final deficit of 29 seconds to his team-mate.

Froome said immediately after the stage that Kennaugh had told him via team radio that once he went clear with Cooper, he should go for the win.

"It's an amazing feeling,” said Froome, after the race. “I put in a lot of hard yards this winter, which obviously hasn't been easy with a new family starting and everything back home. A massive thank you to my family for giving me the support I need to do this job.

"Also a massive thank you to the team. They gave me the all clear today, second time up Arthurs Seat. There was a little bit of an attack and I went for the King of the Mountain points and sat on the Avanti rider who attacked. The guys behind said ‘you're in a perfect place to win the stage, go for it Froomey.’

Froome was quick to pay tribute to the dissapointed Kennaugh who led for much of the race. "He's an amazing rider," said Froome. "He's started the season off really well, winning Cadel's race. He had a good day today but he also gave me the all clear from behind. Massive thanks to Pete for doing that."

Before heading onto the podium Kennaugh admitted there were mixed emotions after coming so close to winning, but pointed to a superb overall result for the team.

"It was 120km of pretty much flat-out racing all the way," said the Manxman.

"It was tough and hot out there. I'm a bit gutted not to win. Froomey won and he was the strongest probably throughout the race anyway so he deserves the win.

"From a team perspective it worked out perfectly. Once Froomey got the King of the Mountains, which was our aim, he sat on (Cooper) and we just sat behind at 30 or 40 seconds to make sure he didn't take over my second on GC. Then I just protected my position all the way to the finish."

This is the first time Froome has won the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and is his first appearance at the race since 2008.