Video: on-board highlights as Chris Froome gets 2017 season underway at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race - Road Cycling UK

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Video: on-board highlights as Chris Froome gets 2017 season underway at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Nikias Arndt sprints to victory; Team Sky's Luke Rowe finishes fifth

Chris Froome got his 2017 season underway at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, with the furious pace of the racing – as shown in Velon’s on-board video highlights – helping the Team Sky man rediscover his racing legs ahead of this week’s Herald Sun Tour.

Froome’s first UCI WorldTour race of the season – one of the ten new events added to cycling’s top tier for 2017 – will serve as preparation for the 31-year-old defending his title in the five-stage Herald Sun Tour, which starts on Wednesday (February 1).

And the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race offered the perfect chance to get the legs spinning, as Velon’s video show, with a frantic pace set on the undulating final circuits.

Team Sky – who won the race last year with then British champion Pete Kennaugh – were among the teams looking to animate the race early on, and again on the Challambra climb.

Their efforts could not prevent a large group heading to the finish line together, however, with Luke Rowe and Sergio Henao in the front split – Froome was in the second group, just behind.

And Rowe admitted he was frustrated to have finished fifth after racing ‘full gas’, with Team Sunweb’s Nikias Arndt sprinting to victory ahead of Australians Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and Cameron Meyer (Korda Mentha-Australia).

“It’s quite frustrating, the 26-year-old Welshman told “I think I pretty much rode the perfect race and was in the right place at the right time.

“Everything went to plan and then in the sprint it was a cross-headwind from the left. I banked on Jay McCarthy and stayed on his wheel but we didn’t come into the finish as fast as I’d have hoped.

“I felt I could have got a better result but that’s bike racing. No excuses. I think I hit my max heart-rate on each of the three climbs on the last lap. I was literally hanging on by the skin of my teeth.”

Rowe’s fifth place mirrored that achieved by fellow Brit Emma Pooley in the women’s race the previous day, too.

Pooley, racing for Holden Cycling, attacked on the final lap but Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten – who hit the headlines after a sickening crash at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – went on to claim victory from the five-rider front group.

Nikias Ardnt sprinted to victory, with Team Skys Luke Rowe finishing fifth (pic – Cor Vos/Team Sunweb)

Froome, meanwhile, will now turn his attention to defending the Herald Sun Tour title he won 12 months ago, with he and Rowe among eight Brits on the startline.

Team-mate Ian Stannard also rides for Team Sky, while JLT-Condor’s seven-rider line-up includes Bay Crits winner Ian Bibby and Steve Lampier, who finished sixth overall at the New Zealand Cycle Classic.

Ed Bradbury, James Gullen and Ali Slater will also ride for JLT-Condor, while their former Irish rider Conor Dunne is in Aqua Blue Sport’s line-up.

Froome’s biggest rival for overall honours looks set to be Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), however, as the two go wheel-to-wheel in a stage race for the first time since finishing second and third at last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2017: result

1) Nikias Arndt (GER) – Team Sunweb – 4.19.15hrs
2) Simon Gerrans (AUS) – Orica-Scott – ST
3) Cameron Meyer (AUS) – Korda Mentha Real Estate Australia
4) Jhonatan Restrepo (COL) – Katusha-Alpecin
5) Luke Rowe (GBR) – Team Sky
6) Petr Vakoc (CZE) – QuickStep Floors
7) Nathan Haas (AUS) – Dimension Data
8) Gianluca Brambilla (ITA) – QuickStep Floors
9) Jay McCarthy (AUS) – Bora-hansgrohe
10) Paul Martens (GER) – LottoNL-Jumbo
Selected others
29) James Shaw (GBR) – Lotto-Soudal +37”
49) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +43”


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