The first two days of the Hammer Series didn't quite go to plan for Orica-Scott with the Australian team finishing fourth and seventh and also losing sprinter Caleb Ewan due to a crash. However, the team was banking on a good performance in the 'Chase' team time trial event and duly delivered rising from seventh to third overall.
The quintet of Alexander Edmondson, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Mathew Hayman, and Roger Kluge represented Orica-Scott in the third and final day of racing with the strong track background of the riders paying dividends.
"I think it's been a really great event. Coming from a track background I really understand and enjoy this kind of racing, it's not about the first guy over the line it's about the team and accumulated points," Durbridge said. "That makes you calculate more in the actual race, which as a rider makes you think more and forces you to adapt. The concept is good and I think it's a great new event for cycling."
For sports director Matt Wilson, the 'chase' event was a pleasing experience seeing his riders rise to a new challenge and challenge for the victory.
"It was an awesome performance by the team today. They really stuck to the plan, obviously it was a very different kind of team time trial with all of those teams out there on the course, but we stuck to what we wanted to do and came very close," said Wilson.
Wilson added that having seen first hand the new race series, he is looking forward to future editions of the Velon backed event and having Orica-Scott challenge for the overall honours.
"For me we were the fastest team on the day, the guys really rode out of their skin in what was a fantastic event," he said. "To see two teams coming around that final corner and sprinting it out for the win has probably never been seen before in cycling and it's got a lot of potential to become a truly great event."
Orica-Scott riding to third place overall at the Hammer Series (TDW Sport)
Criterium du Dauphine peloton pays tribute to victims of London terror attack
The Criterium du Dauphine peloton awoke on Sunday morning to the news of the Saturday night London Bridge terror attack. In a mark of respect to the victims, the peloton, led my Team Sky, held a minute of silence on the start line in Saint-Etienne.
The riders removed their helmets on the start line to observe the minute of silence and pay homage to those killed and injured in the attack.
"Classy move by the @dauphine organisers letting us pay our respects to the London attack victims with a minute silence before the start," Sky's Luke Rowe tweeted.
Media type: Twitter
Media src: https://twitter.com/dauphine/status/871283129541152769
AG2R-La Mondiale on the attack at Criterium du Dauphine
A professional since 2013 with AG2R La Mondiale, Axel Domont is still searching for his first professional win. Second on stage eight at last year's Vuelta a España, Domont was in position to break his drought on the opening day of the Criterium du Dauphine.
Infiltrating the day's breakaway, Dumont and Thomas De Gendt were the last men standing as it became clear the stage honours and yellow jersey would be decided between the duo. De Gendt proved to have the strongest legs on the final circuit around Saint Etienne with Domont second across the line at 44 seconds.
"I've been a pro for five years now, and this is the second time that I have come this close after the Vuelta last year (stage 16) where I was beaten out for the stage victory," said Domont. " I finished second in a WorldTour race. I believed, I dreamed of the yellow jersey and the victory, and it is a little painful to have missed out.
"I cannot be satisfied with that. I wanted to win. But I also know I was not beaten by just anyone. On that last climb, Thomas De Gendt was asking me to help with the pace making. I tried to take a few pulls, but I was really just hanging on. I could have done no more."
Although the team missed out on the yellow jersey, a late surge from Pierre Latour to finish fourth ensured the 23-year-old took the best young riders jersey. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) pipped Latour on the line although the Frenchman showed he is in good condition and ready to support Romain Bardet across the week.
"Today I felt very strong, and the whole AG2R La Mondiale team was very good. We planned to have someone in the breakaway," said Latour. "On the first day of racing, it is always difficult to find a team that will take the race in hand. In the end, when I saw Ulissi go, I took the opportunity to follow him.We will see how the next few days unfold, but we are confident. Romain (Bardet) is fit, we have a great team. The Dauphiné is off to a good start."
Van der Poel cleans up at Boucles de la Mayenne
Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel is enjoying a purple patch of form culminating in overall Boucles de la Mayenne success. The 22-year-old was third in the prologue, second on stage 1 and closed out the race with back-to-back stage wins. The Beobank - Corendon rider also claimed the points and young rider jerseys.
"This arrival, deceptively flat, suited me like a glove. When I saw how hard the team was working for me, that gave me enormous motivation to finish it," said van der Poel of his final day stage win. "All was not entirely flawless today. In the last 500 meters, I lost the wheel of my teammates. I had to pull out all the stops to fill some holes to win."
Van der Poel's last month has included a mix of road and mountain bike racing. Eighth in the first Mountain bike World Cup round, Van der Poel then won stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour before placing second in the cross-country world cup to world champion Nino Schurter. A former 'cross world champion, van der Poel has added mountain biking to his race programme for the past year with his multi-discipline approach to cycling likely to continue throughout the 2018 season.
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