Having finished third at last year's Jayco Herald Sun Tour prologue, a new shorter 2.1-km course along Melbourne's Southbank proved beneficial to Will Clarke (Drapac) as he won his first race of the year in front of over 20,000 spectators on a balmy evening in the Victorian capital. Clarke's teammate Brenton Jones had earlier set the fastest time only to be unseated by Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge).
Out on course, Clarke set the fastest time at the half-way point and when he crossed the line with a time of 2:35.53 minutes, he has taken the race lead by a single second.
"I've been thinking about it for 12 months so I've had some time to go over it and think about where I could make up a bit of ground. So, as always in a short prologue, it’s always close and just under a second to Caleb. It’s just about driving it as hard as you can the whole time," Clarke said.
"The start is a bit different so I went over it four of five times just to get it in my mind how to take the corners. It's a bit different at race pace but you still get an idea of how to take it."
When pressed on where he won the race, Clarke explained.
"Not in the corners because Caleb is such a fast guy through the corners so I knew I had to go as fast as I could through the corners and then just power through the straights," he said.
"I knew Caleb would be right up there," he said of the main threat to victory. "It's only a two-and-a half minute effort and he’s one of the up and coming sprinters so to ride a good prologue you normally have to be a good combination of fast and not bad at time trialling."
With Drapac fielding Sam Spokes and Lachlan Norris as GC hopefuls, Clarke explained the team will be aiming for more success across the week in both the sprints and overall.
"I'm probably not the GC rider for Drapac but we have some strong climbers and BJ [Jones] can sprint so hopefully I can help him out on the sprint stages and maybe I can look for a breakaway for myself," Clarke said.