A Team Sky rider won the Jayco Herald Sun Tour Korda Mentha Real Estate prologue to lead the race into the first stage but it was Danny van Poppel and not Chris Froome.
Cycling Central

Jayco Herald Sun Tour
1 Feb 2017 - 8:45 PM  UPDATED 2 Feb 2017 - 7:32 AM

The Dutchman bettered Australian Will Clarke’s record set in 2016 of 2:34.27, blasting through the course at 49.6km/h to set a new best time of 2:32.56. Brenton Jones (JLT Condor) was runner-up, one second back with teammate Alex Frame third just a tenth of a second in areas.

The win came as sweet relief for van Poppel, having twice finished on the minor placings at the Tour Down Under last month in his debut for Team Sky.

“I was focused to win it and nothing else,” the 23-year-old said. “I’ve done it and I’m really happy because you’re always searching for the first victory of the team and for myself and I’m happy that I did it.”

Van Poppel’s win will force Team Sky to defend the lead as soon as the starting gun fires in Wangaratta tomorrow and the sprinter admitted that his time in the yellow jersey will only be brief with the stage set up for the climbers.

“It’s good but I hope I can give it to Chris tomorrow,” van Poppel said. “It will be nice if tomorrow is a nice day for Chris and the team so we’ll go full for him…”

It was another close call for Jones, having finished third in the Prologue in 2015. The Victorian refused to be drawn on whether he was cursed, instead looking for positives in the result.

“Maybe you could say that but I think it’s great consistency as well,” he said. “I’m not regretting anything. I rode a good race. Danny was really fast today; he’s a WorldTour rider so there’s no disappointment in coming second.

“It was great to see my teammate Alex in third as well. It’s a great course... I’m happy.”

Defending Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Chris Froome was the last man of the 104 riders out of the start house in Federation Square, the bustling crowd cheering the three-time Tour de France winner on. Froome was pleased to arrive at the finish line at Queensbridge Square with his teammate on the top of the podium.

"It's a great start for the team, with Danny winning - that's giving us a lot of confidence going into the week ahead,” he said. "He did a great ride.”

Froome admitted that the course was no easier second time around.

"It's definitely a bit of a lung buster - you just have two minutes to get everything out,” he said. "It's not really my kind of course, but it's great to kick the week off.”