Damien Howson of Team Orica-Scott has won the Jayco Herald Sun tour, describing the Kinglake course as “tough but a great challenge.” Whilst previous winner of both the Herald Sun Tour and Tour de France, Chris Froome, got in front within three kilometres on the final lap Froome just couldn’t catch Howson, later stating that “It [Kinglake] wasn’t as hard as Arthur’s Seat, but it was still a good day out and a good session out here, which is just as important,” with Froome finishing in sixth place overall.
“We hit them with everything we had today and they defended it really well,” said Froome of tour winner Howson and his Orica-Scott team.
Despite rain showers prior to and right on start of the race at 12:30pm it remained a rather humid 20 degrees throughout the day with occasional showers.
Race organisers placed sawdust at many corners, such as the Glenburn Rd-Kinglake Rd intersection to prevent accidents.
Kinglake has never held an event of this size. As host to the final (fourth) stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s premier cycling race, Kinglake was transformed on Sunday with local and international media coverage and an estimated crowd of 5,000 people.
People were waving flags, ringing ‘cow bells’ with local children on their pushbikes emulating the riders and waving to television cameras, showcasing Kinglake to the world.
Kinglake businesses were overwhelmed with customers with the Kinglake Pub needing 25 staff just to cope with spectators and VIP’s and it being nearly impossible to move in Kinglake’s main street.
Some Kinglake residents were not impressed with Sundays’ road closures and minor inconveniences.
“From a community devastated by Black Saturday it’s great to see how the community has recovered and we (Kinglake residents) look forward now to moving on.”
“(We) Hope to get it (the tour) back next year.”
“With hats off to GTR Events for doing such a fantastic job at such short notice and congratulations to all the winners and competitors today,” Kinglake ward councillor Leigh Dunscombe said.
It is anticipated that Kinglake will again host the fourth and final stage of the tour again in 2018.
Text & Images ©COPYRIGHT 2017 Kinglake Ranges News.
Article first published in The Local Paper, February 8, 2017.