Michael Hepburn's time in the Tour de l'Avenir's leader's jersey may have been short-lived, but at least he was able to hand it on to a teammate. New leader Rohan Dennis, who was second behind Hepburn in yesterday's prologue time trial, managed to make it into the winning break and now has a handy lead of 22 seconds in the general classification.
The two Australians, who will sit in the top two positions of the Tour de l'Avenir standings for the second consecutive day, can thank a dogged performance by their countrymen Richard Lang and Jay McCarthy for keeping the race under control. The exhausted duo came to the finish 105th and 106th respectively, more than five minutes behind stage winner Moreno Hofland.
Reflecting on the day, Hepburn was quick to praise the work of the two, who he also rides with at Jayco-AIS.
"Really nice to wear yellow in todays stage of l'Avenir. Thanks to all the boys for their effort all day. Jay and Rich rode ALL day!", said Hepburn via Twitter. "[I have nothing but] respect for the Aussie boys for their ride [today]."
The sacrifice shown by Lang and McCarthy is an encouraging sign for the upcoming world championships, where much of the same team will be gunning to defend Michael Matthews' (Rabobank) under 23 title.