• Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton Scott) has won the 2018 Herald Sun Tour (Con Chronis/Getty)Source: Con Chronis/Getty
Sam Crome (Bennelong SwissWellness) has won the final stage of the 2018 Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Kinglake with Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton Scott) claiming overall victory.
By
Cycling Central

4 Feb 2018 - 3:58 PM  UPDATED 4 Feb 2018 - 5:29 PM

Riding in his first Herald Sun Tour, Crome displayed the nous of the world class riders he dared to challenge, taking the inside line after the final bend in Kinglake to outsprint Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton Scott) and Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo). 

"I'm just over the moon," Crome said. "I wasn't sure how I was feeling in that last lap but once we hit the final climb, I saw Mitchelton Scott just control it. I thought it was going to play in my favour because the course suits me."

Crome, who would ultimately finish seventh overall, drove to the line in a reduced group of around 16 riders. 

"I sort of have a kick on me so I waited and waited and just backed myself to win from there from the small group. I was going to follow Guerreiro because I know how fast he is, but at one kilometre to go, it was argy bargy for his wheel then Cam Meyer took a flyer and I had to fight Guerreiro to hold it. 

"I wanted the inside line out of the corner, but once I came out of the corner, I just had to go. Lucky Cam went, I didn't think I'd get around him but I did.

"This is my first Jayco Herald Sun Tour. You grow up and the race used to come through Bendigo and you wanted to watch it, so I am ecstatic to get a win.

"I came here wanting to ride general classification, but lost time in the cross winds on stage one. I fought back yesterday and now to get a stage win just tops it off.”

It was a fruitful tour for Bennelong SwissWellness, Crome's team also bagging the young rider's jersey with Dylan Sunderland and Steele von Hoff the points classification. 

The finale to the KOM classification proved a bit more of a thriller with Nathan Earle (Israel Cycling Academy) up for a fight in the breakaway with the overnight polka dots wearer Brad Evans (Mobius BridgeLane). After valiantly bridging to the break, Evans lost contact before the second KOM, his team mate Angus Lyons unable to prevent Earle from earning the maximum points and the overall KOM jersey.  

Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2018 celebrations

A first-time Colombian winner

With his overall victory, Chaves became the first Colombian winner of the Herald Sun Tour since its creation in 1952. 

“It was a tough day,” Chaves said. “This was the last chance for everyone. We raced from the beginning until the end. Congratulations to everyone, the level of racing here in Australia is just unbelievable.”

Chaves was joined on the podium by teammates Meyer and Damien Howson, the overall top three from the same team also a Herald Sun Tour first. 

How the final stage unfolded 

After a plethora of early attacks in the opening lap, Mads Pedersen (Trek Segafredo), Nathan Earle (Israel Cycling Academy), Hamish Schreurs (Israel Cycling Academy), Martijn Budding (Roompot Nederlandse Loterij), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport), Joe Cooper (Bennelong SwissWellness), Cyrus Monk (Drapac EF), Michael Vink (Brisbane Conti), Matt Ross (KordaMentha Real Estate), Angus Lyons (Mobius-BridgeLane) formed the substantial break of the day but never really gained more than a two minute advantage. 

The make-up of the break and the gap changed slightly throughout the stage until Pedersen rocketed off the front group with one lap to go. Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) who had managed bridge to the leaders soon joined him, as did Monk. 

But the approaching peloton soon made the catch, the reduced group of 16 that contested the finish splintering off after the final climb of the 152km stage.