Aussie Focus

Hamilton leads way as GC Aussies impress at Paris-Nice

Lucas Hamilton led the way for the Australian in the general classification battle, but many will be happy with their overall performances after the conclusion of Paris-Nice.

79th Paris - Nice 2021 - Stage 8, Lucas Hamilton, Team BikeExchange

Lucas Hamilton of Team BikeExchange with Ben O'Connor of AG2R-Citroen looming behind on Stage 8 of Paris-Nice Source: Getty

Lucas Hamilton (Team BikeExchange) - 4th overall, 41 seconds down.

The 25-year-old from Ararat was ever-present, even during the toughest moments of the 2021 edition of Paris-Nice and also produced a solid time trial on a mostly flat course to finish in fourth overall. He was sixth coming into the final stage, but Roglic's dramatic drop and a bonus second from an intermediate sprint vaulted him up to fourth overall.

Hamilton has had limited opportunities throughout his career to ride for himself, but this edition of Paris-Nice has proved that he's a rider that should be considered among the favourites any time the road tilts upwards.

“I am really satisfied, I think it has been a good week," said Hamilton. This is my first race as the team’s sole GC leader and the boys really helped me a lot.

“Today it is obviously very disappointing for Roglic to lose yellow like that but for us to come out with fourth on GC and a couple of good stage results and a day in yellow; we are happy.

“When you finish fourth it means there’s always room for improvement and of course you look back, but I have a lot of racing ahead, there’s a big season coming up and so I’m looking forward to it.”

Hamilton is scheduled to ride the Volta a Catalunya also shown on SBS VICELAND, with the broadcast to commence on the night of Monday, March 22.

Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) - 7th overall, 1.18 down

Haig battled through illness on the last few days of racing to produce a commendable position in the top-10. The Australian climber lacked that little bit of a kick at the conclusion of the major stages to finish with the absolute best, but he's working his way into the season well after more a team-focused role at the UAE Tour.

Sports Director for Bahrain-Victorious Neil Stephens was pleased with the overall team performance on the final stage and overall at Paris-Nice.

"We had the unfortunate position that Jack Haig was feeling unwell over the last two stages, he really suffered today and was able to hang on," said Stephens. "At the end of the day, we gave the stage a crack with Dylan finishing fourth. We are also happy to see Jack move up overall into 7th but also with Gino (Mader) moving up into the top 10 in the GC."

Ben O'Connor (AG2R-Citroen) 12th overall, 1.44 down

O'Connor is coming into the 2021 season with more expectations on his shoulders after his purple patch of form at the Giro d'Italia last year where he won a stage. His results at Tour Alpes Maritimes du Var and Tour de la Provence were promising and he showed that he's not far off the best with his performance here. 

He didn't enter as the leader for AG2R-Citroen, that was the ultimately disappointing Bob Jungels, but O'Connor was given a role that allowed him to go for his own results alongside French climber Aurélien Paret-Peintre. 

Whether he remains a GC rider or goes back to more of the stage-hunting role that brought him to prominence remains to be seen, but there was certainly plenty to like about his Paris-Nice showing.

Jai Hindley (Team DSM) 18th overall, 2.36 down

Team DSM have an all-for-one, one-for-all sort of mentality to their team, with multiple different options that they'll back depending on who's faring or feeling the best. 

It was obvious early in the race that Tiesj Benoot was flying about and very keen to race aggressively, so Hindley slipped into more of a support role to aid his Dutch teammates' GC ambitions. That saw him lose time out the back a few times as he moved to position or ride on the front for Benoot, and he lost some time that he wouldn't have otherwise. 

He was 25th on the first summit finish, but then bounced back with a much more impressive showing for tenth on Stage 7 where he put in an important few turns for Benoot. Paris-Nice was his first race of 2021and like Hamilton, he'll be returning to SBS screens at the Volta a Catalunya.

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4 min read
Published 15 March 2021 at 1:07pm
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS