• Chris Hamilton at the Santos Tour Down Under. (Cor Vos/Sunweb-Giant)Source: Cor Vos/Sunweb-Giant
Making the step up to the UCI WorldTour is far from easy, but Australian neo-pro Chris Hamilton (Sunweb-Giant) was able to contribute in his first race for the squad that gave him his chance at the top level.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Central
25 Jan 2017 - 11:49 AM  UPDATED 25 Jan 2017 - 11:56 AM

The Sunweb rider attacked midway up Willunga Hill on the first ascent of the storied climb quickly getting an advantage and looking around to see if anyone was coming to join him. 

He then combined with Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) to build up a small advantage before the pace of the peloton increased over the top of the climb and he was swept up by the bunch.

The tactics of the move didn’t end up working, with the other teams looking to protect their contenders and position them coming into the final climb. Hamilton spoke after the race about the attack and his first World Tour race with his new team.

“We wanted to make it hard on the first lap and see if we could cause a reaction. It would have been good for our guy Wilco (Kelderman) to make the race harder," Hamilton said.

"The best chance for him was to have it be really hard both laps, it didn’t quite cause the reaction we were after but you can only try.

“I definitely didn’t want to go alone, it was never going to be as effective. I had some company but would have been good to have more.”

Young Aussie NRS rider Chris Hamilton off to the WorldTour
Current under 23 Australian Road Race Champion Chris Hamilton has inked a three-year deal with Giant-Alpecin and will join fellow Aussie Michael Matthews at the WorldTour team from 2017.

Hamilton has only had limited experience on the road, coming over late from mountain biking and then suffering a nasty crash with a car in mid-2016, which wiped him out for a large portion of the season. 

He has shown that he barely missed a beat so far, but was annoyed that he was caught out when a number of teams decided to push the pace on the wind-exposed back half of the Willunga circuit.

“I would have liked to be able to do more in the final lap, we weren’t expecting it to go into the gutter on the final lap and I wasn’t quite as alert as I should have been and unfortunately I wasn’t there to help Wilco in the end which I was quite disappointed in myself actually," he said.

Knowledgeable observers of the sport have very good things to say about Hamilton and his potential to excel but the transition to the World Tour can find weaknesses that weren’t apparent before. Hamilton has the luxury of a

Hamilton has the luxury of a three-year contract to work his way into a stable career in the sport, a rarity in cycling and a sign of the confidence that Sunweb have in the Victorian youngster.

“The team’s been really good to me, it’s a good group of guys. I guess I’m still finding my feet in the peloton so far. It’s a different style of racing from what I’m used to, but you can’t let things like that get in the way of a job.”

On what he needs to learn to compete at this level, Hamilton is open about the fact that he has a lot of developing left to do.

“It’s quite a list, I’ll give you that. There’s a few things I need to work on personally and definitely a bit of racecraft.”  

Typically regarded as a climber with versatile qualities, there will be a lot of eyes trained on Hamilton from back in Australia to see how he progresses as a rider.