• Lucas Hamilton on the attack in the Tour Down Under that initially brought him to the world's attention (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The final stage of the Tour de l'Avenir saw Lucas Hamilton shrug off the illness which had hampered him in the early stages of the Tour, returning to form to finish second on the stage just nine seconds behind solo winner Neilson Powless (United States), who had been part of the early breakaway. Jai Hindley and Michael Storer both moved up the General Classification and Hamilton also took the King of the Mountains jersey as well in a superb final stage for the Australian youth squad.
Cycling Central

Cycling Australia
28 Aug 2016 - 1:01 PM 

It has been a very good return at the Tour de l'Avenir for the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy team, with the young team full of first year participants in the academy setup presenting themselves well in superb company at the always tough race.

Lucas Hamilton became the first Australian to win any classification at the Tour de l'Avenir, winning the mountains jersey after jumping clear from the peloton in the final kilometres and nearly making up the minute's lead that lone leader Neilson Powless had with a powerful surge that even unhitched overall race winner David Gaudu (France).

The points earned on the Col de la Croix-de-Fer, a climb used often in the Tour de France, combined with those earned during his stage six breakaway saw him claim the jersey by four points.

West Australian duo Jai Hindley and Michael Storer climbed the rankings on GC figuratively and literally, rising from 6th to 5th and 10th to 7th respectively.

Consistent riding by the entire team across the eight stage race earned them the overall team classification victory, another first for Australia.

As it happened

Early in the day a three rider group consisting of sixth place overall Egan Bernal (Colombia), Daniel Martinez (Colombia) and Neilson Powless (United States) formed on the La Toussuire-Les Sybelles ascent with the group gaining a maximum advantage of three minutes.

With Bernal a real danger to race leader David Gaudu, moivng into the position of virtual leader on the road the French team put the pressure on, stringing out a reduced peloton on the descent and bringing the advantage down to under two minutes quickly.

As the GC group hit the official start of the Col de la Croix-de-Fer with 13 kilometres remaining the gap had fallen to a minute and 12 seconds. Jai Hindley, Michael Storer and Lucas Hamilton were all well positioned in the select 14-rider group that was left chasing the group of three.

Early on the climb Bernal lost contact removing the general classification threat of the break, before Powless's pace was too much for Martinez to follow leaving the American solo with seven kilometres to ride.

An acceleration by Hamilton split the select group, leaving seven riders Hamilton, Storer, Gaudu and Leo Vincent (France), Edward Ravasi (Italy), Adrien Costa (United States) and Alex Aranuru (Spain).

A big attack by Hamilton left him and Gaudu chasing the Powless inside the final two kilometres quickly dropping the gap from just under a minute's advantage to 20 seconds by the flamme rouge and only a slim nine seconds lead on the line.

Lucas Hamilton has long been considered a top talent on the Australian scene, performing well in the National Road Series last year, particularly in the National Capital Tour and the Tour of Tasmania then backing it up with a 2nd in the nationals road race behind new Giant-Alpecin signing and namesake Chris Hamilton. 

Lucas Hamilton mixes it with the big boys of the peloton
The UniSA team always has different ambitions going into each edition of the Tour Down Under, with almost an entirely different squad of riders taking it up to World Tour opposition and Lucas Hamilton is one of those riders.
Chris Hamilton wins national under 23 road title
Chris Hamilton (Avanti IsoWhey Sports) won the Mars Cycling Australia under 23 national championship in a tight sprint finish.

He then showed that he could back that up on the world stage, attacking on the final ascent of Old Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under. He was considered a potential winner of the Tour de l'Avenir before falling sick and losing 20 minutes on a stage, but has rebounded well to show his true ability. 

David Gaudu maintained his top position on the general classification with Edward Ravasi and Adrien Costa rounding out the podium in the race which in the past has seen winners of the ilk of Bauke Mollema, Nairo Quintana, Esteban Chaves, Warren Barguil, Ruben Fernandez and Miguel Angel Lopez. 

Whilst good performances don't necessarily guarantee that a rider will be good at World Tour level, they are normally a very good indicator of a young rider's potential.