Chris Froome starts season with Herald Sun Tour win

British champion Peter Kennaugh second overall after Froome wins final stage

Chris Froome ensured his 2016 season started with victory, after bursting clear of the peloton on the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour to bag the overall win.

Froome started the day second overall, with Team Sky team-mate and stage one winner Peter Kennaugh – who won the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race a week earlier – in the leader’s jersey.

But after sealing the King of the Mountains title with a series of attacks on Arthurs Seat, Froome found himself with a gap alongside Joseph Cooper (Avanti-IsoWhey) and was given the all-clear to go for the stage win himself.

Kennaugh finished the day in seventh place to ensure a Team Sky one-two overall, while on the same day Wout Poels secured overall victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana to cap a brilliant week for the British WorldTour team.

Froome has now won his first race of the season in each of the last four seasons and was delighted to see his winter training pay dividends immediately.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “I put in a lot of hard yards this winter, which obviously hasn’t been easy with a new family starting and everything back home. A massive thank you to my family for giving me the support I need to do this job.

“Also a massive thank you to the team. They gave me the all clear today, second time up Arthurs Seat.

“There was a little bit of an attack and I went for the King of the Mountain points and sat on the Avanti rider who attacked. The guys behind said ‘you’re in a perfect place to win the stage, go for it Froomey’.”

The result means Team Sky already have eight victories to their name in 2015 – level with Etixx-QuickStep, for whom Marcel Kittel won the Dubai Tour.

Froome is now expected to ride Paris-Nice in March and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya as he ups his preparations for his Tour de France defence in July.

Herald Sun Tour 2016: final general classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 12.53.00hrs
2) Peter Kennaugh (GBR) – Team Sky +29”
3) Damien Howson (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE +1.01
4) Jack Bobridge (AUS) – Trek-Segafredo +1.04
5) Jack Haig (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE +1.14
6) Jonathan Clarke (AUS) – UnitedHealthCare +1.15
7) Robbie Hucker (AUS) – Avanti-IsoWhey +1.20
8) Chris Hamilton (AUS) – Australia +1.23
9) Anthony Giacoppo (AUS) – Avanti-IsoWhey +1.32
10) Dion Smith (NZL) – ONE Pro Cycling – ST

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