Cycling: Haas dominates Sturt Street finish to take Sun Tour's yellow jersey

NATHAN Haas has sprinted himself into the Herald Sun Tour yellow jersey with a blistering ride in today's opening stage from Geelong to Ballarat.

The 24-year-old, riding for Garmin Sharp, outclassed champion sprinter Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) and dark horse Jonathan Cantwell (Drapac) as well as 30 others in a bunch sprint up Sturt Street after negotiating 116 kilometres of bitter winds and cruel climbs.

Haas won in a time of 3hrs04mins and now holds a seven-second lead over prologue time-trial winner Jack Bauer in the general classification standings, with Drapac's William Clarke and Goss a further two seconds back in third.

The win means Garmin Sharp is now two-from-two for stages at this year's Tour, while Haas will now target a second overall Sun Tour victory after winning the race in 2011.

"This is the race where it all started for me," Haas said.

"Today is a bigger day for me than just taking yellow - it's my first win as a professional with team Garmin - so it's a big day for me."

Nathan Haas celebrates his victory in stage one of the Sun Tour.

Nathan Haas celebrates his victory in stage one of the Sun Tour.

Ballarat's Pat Shaw put in a superb ride to finish in sixth position on the stage, while South Australian Harry Carpenter took the overall lead in the under-23 category.

Cannondale's Alberto Bettiol will now put on the most aggressive rider jersey, while Haas has taken up ownership of the sprinters jersey in addition to overall honours.