MELBOURNE – Queensland cyclist Jordan Kerby last night made the most of a late entry into the Jayco Herald Sun Tour by starting the race off in style for himself and a brand-new team.
Kerby won the 4.7km time trial to start the tour around Victoria, rewarding Suzuki-Bontrager for allowing him to join its team for the race.
The 20-year-old, who competes in Europe, had rung the team asking if they had a spare spot for the race as he thought it would be an ideal way to start the year.
“At the last minute, I called up (team manager) John Forrest from Suzuki-Bontrager and said ‘hey, mate, have you got any spots?’.
“He gave me a gig and I’m very happy to repay him for that. It’s a race I really wanted to do as I think it’s a good lead-up for the road nationals (later this month).”
Kerby, from Hervey Bay, relished the bayside time trial course at Williamstown – in parts, not unlike the picturesque Queensland coastal area where he grew up.
A world junior champion on the track, Kerby had to suffer through a long wait as 78 of the 108-strong field set off for their laps after him.
But one by one, they failed to get close to his 5min 25.01sec time.
“The hot seat’s not a great place when there’s 70 riders to go, but you’ve got to chill out, take a few breaths and see who’s going to beat you and who’s going to not beat you,” he said.
Kerby beat New Zealander Joe Cooper (5:26.48) for the yellow jersey.
But poised ominously ahead of today’s stage from Sunbury to Bendigo are Jayco Australia team riders Simon Gerrans, Simon Clarke and defending Tour champ Nathan Haas.
Best of the central Victorian stars in the tour are Darren Lapthorne -16.28; and Lachlan Norris -19.61.
First-time competitors in the tour, Bendigo’s Robbie Hucker and Heathcote’s Shaun McCarthy start today’s leg 26 and 45 seconds adrift of the man in the yellow.
Horsham’s Mark O’Brien, racing for Drapac, is 67th.
Meanwhile, the final round in the Mitchelton Winery-backed Bay Cycling criterium series was raced yesterday at Williamstown
Bikebug team rider Caleb Ewan, 18, took out the three-race series by finishing fifth in the finale behind Orica-GreenEDGE’s Mitch Docker, who was the sprint king for the series.
Another of the stars for Orica-GreenEDGE, Melissa Hoskins achieved back-to-back Bay Classic titles.
Bendigo’s Peta Mullens, racing for Anytime Fitness Trek, was runner-up. – AAP