• Sky's Dylan van Baarle with the trophy now bearing only the second Dutch rider to win the race in Herald Sun Tour history (Con Chronis)Source: Con Chronis
Sky had a plan for the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour and nailed it by race end, with Kristoffer Halvorsen taking the sprint win and Dylan van Baarle easily holding on for overall victory.
Cycling Central

3 Feb 2019 - 3:52 PM  UPDATED 3 Feb 2019 - 5:13 PM

Sky's strategy was torn from the page of Racing 101, forcing a courageous six-rider break to ride under a cloud of inevitablity on the 90km circuitous stage in Melbourne's Botanic Gardens. 

Despite 22 ascents of the Anderson Street climb in 38C heat, the Sky controlled peloton comfortably cleaned up the remains of the break by the final lap and with 200m to go, Owain Doull dropped off Halvorsen to deliver the stage win.

The Norwegian said Sky was never worried about the break.   

"Because we have Luke (Rowe), and Kneesy (Christian Knees) they know exactly what to do they are strong," Halvorsen said after the stage. 

"Rowe, he knows everything and we just need to follow him and and we are in the best place in the peloton at the right time. He's really good. The team they were really good."

Van Baarle's 24-second overall lead was equally untroubled. 

"Of course you think about (winning) but then the plan comes together and it's super super nice," said only the second Dutchman to win the prestigious Australian race.  

"I'm really happy I could win here. Thanks to all the team they did a really really good job today and also with Kris for winning the stage.

"It's been a really nice trip down here to Australia and I'm happy that we finish it off this way. 

"It's a really nice race and I really enjoy it here and I'm looking forward to coming back."

Sky allowed James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling), Alistair Donohoe (ACA), Ryan Cavanagh (St. George), Damian Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Jesse Ewart and Ben Dyball (both Sapura) away early, holding onto the reins at one minute. 

At around 30 kilometres to go, Whelan's team mate Mitch Docker bridged across from the bunch with Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo), but the Irishman's horsepower up the climb shelled out the mulleted moustachio with 13kms to go and Cavanagh a lap later. 

Despite the last-ditch impressive efforts of Whelan and Donohoe - backing up from his impressive fourth place on the Arthur's Seat stage yesterday and earnng today's most aggressive rider - the catch was made by the final lap.

Sky also leaves Australia with the Herald Sun Tour's KOM and young rider classifications on the backs of Knees and Pavel Sivakov.

But the WorldTour juggernaut didn't take all the chocolates. Ayden Toovey (BridgeLane) fended off today's stage winner for the sprint competition. 

Schultz wins on Arthurs Seat as van Baarle takes Herald Sun Tour lead
An audacious attack by Team Sky quickly turned into a real threat for the general classification and by the summit finish became one of the most successful examples of how to turn a race on its head.