In the men's it was Austrian Marco HALLER (Katusha Sport) who held onto the Lexus of Blackburn Yellow leaders jersey, finishing in fourth position behind stage winner Caleb EWAN (Lotto Soudal). Haller also took out the Gatorade sprint green jersey and Katusha won the teams title. Haller is the third international to take the crown.
Haller - "I'm relieved. It was a hard series. Happy to have it done, thanks to my team, thanks to Katusha Sport and Pushy’s. Super cool week, absolutely brilliant. To kick the new year off in style."
"We obviously didn’t want to take any risks, we were expecting Caleb to strike again so I wanted to make sure I finished within the ranks. I kept an eye on Raphael, I also had one eye on the green. I tried to cover everything a little bit but in the end I think it worked out."
"It’s super cool [to be on the honour roll], next year my name will also be there, people will think about me. Maybe I’ll be back next year to defend – you never know. Definitely proud I did it. I wasn’t even expecting to win one. As I said I had no idea where my shape was so maybe this was an advantage on the first day because I wasn’t on the radar for some guys."
The pace was forced early with Luke DURBRIDGE (Lexus of Blackburn) and Alex DOWSETT (Katusha Sport) relentless at the front, decimating the peloton and denying attacks. Roger KLUGE (Lotto Soudal) again did the heavy lifting for team mate Ewan and chased down all the breaks.
Brenton JONES (Lexus of Blackburn) finished second on the stage. The 2014 champion surprised Ewan by jumping on the penultimate corner, but Ewan had the firepower to get past again and claim the stage win. Heinrich Haussler (MS All Stars) was third on the day.