MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian domestique Damien Howson claimed victory in the Herald Sun Tour on Sunday, holding off a couple of attacks from three-times Tour de France champion Chris Froome over the fourth and final stage for his first overall race win.
The 24-year-old Orica-Scott rider, who won his first stage to open the race proper on Thursday, finished in the peleton 17 seconds behind Britain’s breakaway stage winner Ian Stannard after four laps of Kingslake.
“I really enjoy working with my team mates and that’s as much success as I need,” said Howson, who edged compatriot Jai Hindley by 38 seconds to top the general classification.
“But when the time comes, and you just get that little bit of glory, that’s why everyone rides a bike.”
Stannard’s Team Sky team mate and compatriot Froome had started the day needing to make up one minute, 12 seconds on Howson if he was to defend the title he won last year.
It never looked like happening on a course featuring little in the way of serious climbs, however, and he finished in sixth place with the same deficit.
”Tactically we made some very different choices this year,” Froome told reporters.
“It didn’t pay off for us, it went in Damien Howson’s favour and hat’s off to him, he’s ridden a really good race.”
Colombian Esteban Chaves, who also rides for Orica-Scott, finished ninth, three seconds behind Froome.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty