Leigh Howard's tenure with Orica-GreenEDGE ended quietly, but the Australian sprinter appears to be back to his best after recording a win at the Clásica de Almería in Spain for his new WorldTour team, IAM Cycling.
Howard showed signs of improved form and motivation during the Australian summer of cycling, with a second place finish behind Sky's Peter Kennaugh at a terrific editon of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Overnight he broke through for an early season victory at the windswept Clasica Almeria ahead of Katusha's Alexey Tsatevich and IAM team-mate Aleksejs Saramotins.
The chaos of the race played into Howard's hands as the original 184km was neutralised for the first 15km. then the peloton, concerned for its safety in the gale force winds stopped after 35km. Organisers then decided to run an abbreviated event with six laps of a 3.5km circuit deciding the outcome.