Huon-Genesys have won the opening stage team time trial up Mt Wellington in Hobart, Tasmania, on Sunday. Coming into the day as favourites, the pressure was on the hometown team and they delivered to take the stage by nearly two minutes ahead of Drapac Cycling with CharterMason rounding out the podium in third.
Jai Crawford was first to cross the line for the team to take the yellow jersey with teammates Jack Haig, Joseph Cooper and Nathan Earle in tow.
“It’s a Mount Wellington team time trial, so it’s all about pain really,” explained Crawford.”It’s fantastic [to win on home soil], it’s one of the highlights of my career for sure.
“I don’t get to race a lot at home, I’ve been on the podium of races all over the world but it’s a special moment to wear the yellow jersey on my home tour in front of my parents, brother and sister.”
Drapac Cycling finished with Will Walker, Robbie Hucker, Floris Goesinnen and Bernie Sulzberger all on even time and within striking distance with seven gruelling days still to be raced.
“We were pretty realistic – Genesys have been the standout team all year long,” said Walker. “I was thinking we’d lose about two minutes, so 1.48 is really good, considering last year we lost a little bit more and we still won the tour overall.”
“I think we went out a little bit too hard and were slightly inconsistent at times, but that’s what everyone does and I think the result was pretty good.”
Jack Haig will wear the white jersey for best young rider but it is unlikely the team will focus specifically on defending the young rider title given the importance of winning yellow at the end of the eight day race.
The tour continues tomorrow with a tough 120km stage from New Norfolk to Strathgordon. It was on this stage last year, in a near identical position with the top five GC positions filled, that the Huon-Genesys team lost their overall lead. And with this in mind, the racing tomorrow should prove fruitful as the tour is far from over, a fact that Crawford remains wary of.
“In a time trial you’ve got to give it everything, there’s no holding back really,” added Crawford. “It [1.48] is a big time gap for us to have, yet we had more last year and ended up losing the lead at the next stage. I think we’ve learnt from last year and we’ll get it right tomorrow.”