Luke Rowe admits Herald Sun Tour stage win was a ‘long time coming’

Welshman seals second pro win of his career - four-and-a-half years after the first; Irishman Conor Dunne second

Team Sky’s Luke Rowe admitted victory on stage two of the Herald Sun Tour had been a long time coming, with the second pro win of his career coming four-and-a-half years after his first.

Welshman Rowe, 26, was the last man standing from a ten-man break which had gone clear after 20km of racing, accelerating away from what remained of the move and soloing to victory.

It marked a first success since winning the first stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain, and long-serving domestique Rowe was pleased to have seized his opportunity for individual glory.

“It’s been a while, it’s been an ongoing joke,” he admitted to “I haven’t won anything for a long time.

“I kind of forgot how to do it all so it’s nice to get the hands in the air.”

Rowe also revealed the plan to attack had been hatched the night before, and the decision paying dividends with Sky’s second victory in three days after Danny van Poppel’s prologue triumph.

Speaking post-race, he added: “It’s kind of surreal putting your hands in the air again and going through the winning motions when you spend most of your time working for others.

“When you get half an opportunity you’ve got to take it and that’s exactly what I did today.”

Behind Rowe, Irish rider Conor Dunne was celebrating Aqua Blue Sport’s first ever podium finish as he held on for second place, 33 seconds behind Rowe.

The front group of ten had been whittled down, with Rowe, Dunne and JLT-Condor’s Steve Lampier all still in the mix before the Team Sky man attacked.

Dunne, who had only just returned to the group after suffering a puncture, could not follow Rowe’s wheel but did launch a counter-attack in response.

Ultimately, despite Dunne’s recovery, the Welshman could not be stopped from claiming the stage win – the third British victory of the season, following Jon Mould and Dan McLay’s triumphs in New Zealand and Mallorca respectively.

Irishman Conor Dunne finished second, earning Aqua Blue Sport’s first ever podium finish (pic – Niki Sorensen)

Chris Froome remains 1’12” behind race leader Damien Howson (Orica-Scott), meanwhile, despite the Australian having to chase back on to the peloton after a late puncture.

Stage three is expected to end in a bunch sprint, which leaves the undulating stage four circuit at Kinglake for defending champion Froome and his fellow GC men to dethrone Howson.

Herald Sun Tour 2017: stage two – result

1) Luke Rowe (GBR) – Team Sky – 4.08.23hrs
2) Conor Dunne (IRL) – Aqua Blue Sport +33”
3) Tanner Putt (USA) – UnitedHealthCare +56”
4) Robbie Hucker (AUS) – IsoWhey Sports-SwissWellness Team +57”
5) Steve Lampier (GBR) – JLT-Condor – ST
6) Cameron Meyer (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +1.12
7) Martijn Tusveld (NED) – Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij +1.17
8) Janier Acevedo (COL) – UnitedHealthCare – ST
9) Ian Bibby (GBR) – JLT-Condor
10) Lucas Hamilton (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia

General classification

1) Damien Howson (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 8.46.12hrs
2) Jai Hindley (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +38”
3) Kenny Elissonde (FRA) – Team Sky +53”
4) Cameron Meyer (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +1.08
5) Michael Storer (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +1.10
6) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +1.12
7) Lucas Hamilton (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +1.13
8) Nathan Earle (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia +1.15
9) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott – ST
10) Timothy Roe (AUS) – IsoWhey Sports Swiss Wellness Team +1.17
11) Ian Bibby (GBR) – JLT-Condor +1.26


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