Dane takes lead after cycling tour's first stage

VICTORY SALUTE: Lasse Norman Hansen celebrates victory in a sprint to the line in Warrnambool. Pictures: Con Chronis
VICTORY SALUTE: Lasse Norman Hansen celebrates victory in a sprint to the line in Warrnambool. Pictures: Con Chronis

Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen will wear the yellow jersey to Buninyong in the Herald Sun Tour on Friday.

The Dane took the lead of the tour by taking out stage one from Colac to Warrnambool on Thursday.

He survived a difficult cross-tail wind, which broke up the main field, to take the honours in the final sprint.

Hansen faces the prospect of dealing with similar conditions in Friday’s 198.6-kilometre second stage from Warrnambool to Buninyong, with the last 10km on the testing Mt Buninyong circuit.

Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) has a nine-second lead over Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott), with Steele von Hoff (Bennelong SwissWellness) one second further back.

Von Hoff and Meyer finished second and third in Warrnambool.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy started the day in the lead after taking out a prologue in Melbourne on Wednesday.

However, he lost ground in the windy conditions and sits 30th – 90 seconds off the pace.

Liam White (Drapac Education First) leads the Ballarat contingent.

He is 1:51 down in 56th position, while his younger brother Nick (Olivers Real Food) is just five seconds away in 68th spot.

Angus Lyons (Mobius Bridgelane) is 2:09 down and Ararat’s Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) 1:38 down in 36th.

Norman Hansen said the cross-winds made it really hard.

“As you can see we only had nine guys in the final,” said Hansen, who won gold on the track at the 2012 London Olympics.

“It was really good racing and all about race instinct in the end.”

“I’m super stoked,” he said.

“The whole team did an amazing job.They stayed together in the cross-winds and when it finally split I had Larry (Warbasse) with me the whole time.

“In the final it was just good racing, attacks left and right the whole time and it came down to a really good fast sprint,” Norman Hansen said.

Friday’s stage starts in Warrnambool at 9.50am and is expected to finish in Warrenheip Street in Buninyong about 3pm.

A tour village, with activities and entertainment for spectators, will open in a Da Souza Park at 1.30pm and operate until the end of the stage.

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

TOP 10

Lasse Norman Hansen

Cameron Meyer +9sec

Steele Von Hoff +10

Cameron Bayly +14

Tom Stuart +15

Damien Howson +16

Koen de Kort st

Jeroen Meijers +18

Ruben Guerreiro +22

Mads Pedersen +33