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Team Sky cap cycling Tour domination

Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen won the last stage of the Herald Sun Tour as fellow Team Sky rider Dylan van Baarle claimed the overall title.

Team Sky cap cycling Tour domination

Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen won the last stage of the Herald Sun Tour as fellow Team Sky rider Dylan van Baarle claimed the overall title.

Team Sky's domination of the Herald Sun Tour shows that if 2019 is their swan song, they plan to go out swinging.

Cycling's most powerful team capped their Australian trip with Norwegian Kristoffer Halvorsen winning the last stage.


Dutch strong man Dylan van Baarle claimed the overall title, having no trouble protecting his 24-second overall lead in Sunday's 89.1km circuit race at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

Owain Doull also won stage three, Pavel Sivakov took out the young rider category and Christian Knees topped the hill climb classification.

Sky will end its title sponsorship at the end of the season and team principal Dave Brailsford is hunting for a new backer to keep his powerful outfit together.

Australian Brett Lancaster, the team director for this trip, said their performances over the last week were the ideal way to start an uncertain year.

"It just shows we're ready to move on," Lancaster said.

"If the sponsors are watching, we haven't changed and we stick to the plan like always and then execute it.

"The boys are happy and it just shows with results."

After Saturday's stunning stage at Arthurs Seat, where van Baarle and Australian Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) turned the Tour on its head, Sunday was much more predictable.

An eight-rider break stayed away until the last of the 22 laps and Halvorsen was too strong in the bunch sprint.

The win is also reinforcement for van Baarle that an off-season of hard work has paid off, after he suffered a broken pelvis at last September's Vuelta a Espana.

"They were tough months, but I'm happy that I've come back maybe stronger than I was at the Vuelta," he said.

Like Lancaster, van Baarle is upbeat about the season ahead.

"We don't change anything," he said.

"We keep with the same as last year and the years before - we try to have an even better season than last year."

If Sky were the big winners, it became a frustrating Tour for Australian star Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and his Canadian rival Michael Woods (EF Education First).

Woods led Porte by four seconds overall going into stage four, but the Australian was struggling with a cold and also unwilling to work for the Canadian.

As the main bunch faltered, van Baarle and Schultz stayed clear and the 24-year-old Australian claimed his first professional win.

The Dutchman was just behind him and collapsed at the Arthurs Seat finish.

Woods finished the Tour third overall and Porte was fifth.

AAP


AAP




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