Continuing their season of great results, the next generation of Australians posted another one-two result at the Tour de l'Avenir with Michael Hepburn and Rohan Dennis posting the top two times in the prologue time trial on Sunday. Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands was third.
Aided by a tailwind, Hepburn set a winning time of 0:07:13 for an average speed of 54km/h with Dennis just four seconds back – streaks ahead of Dumoulin, 18 seconds in arrears of Hepburn.The other members of the Australian team finished solidly with Richard Lang, Jay McCarthy (+ 32sec), Pat Lane (+ 36sec) and Thomas Palmer (+ 49sec).
"Big congrats to Dirty Dennis on 2nd and the rest of the Aussie boys with great rides! Hope this is a good enough present Dad!" said Hepburn post-race on his Twitter feed, with his win falling on Father's Day.
The result almost mirrored that of the Olympia's Tour in May where Australia also went one-two, although Australian under 23 time trial champion Luke Durbridge pipped Hepburn by a meagre few tenths of a second.
The following month, Hepburn took out the second stage of the Tour of Norway and then combined with Jayco-AIS teammates to win the 22km team time trial of the Thüringen-Rundfahrt. Hepburn is also a member of Australia's world champion team pursuit squad which won gold at the UCI Track World Championships in March.
Hepburn's win on Sunday in the "race of the future" gives the Queenslander the lead in both the overall and sprint classifications and given Australia a 59 second lead in the team standings. They are racing under the guidance of Neil Stephens at the French race.
The Tour de l'Avenir continues on Monday with a 160km opening road stage from Yutz to Lunéville.