The 31-year-old finished strongly despite illness and a minor collision between his sprint rivals to finish behind winner Nathan Haas (Garmin Sharp) and Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge). Cantwell said that his experience in Ballarat certainly paid dividends on Thursday.
“It’s always good when you know the course and you always know what it’s going to be like,” he said. “It makes a massive difference.”
All six members of the Drapac squad finished in the front group of 38 riders, which finished 15 seconds ahead of the second group on the road. According to Directeur Sportif Agostino Giramondo, “It shows that we’ve got the depth in our squad.”
“We all rode really well,” explained Lachie Norris, one of Drapac’s General Classification contenders, who opened his KOM tally by claiming third place over the second climb of the day. “When GreenEdge tried to make the move on top of the KOM we had three guys there straight away and then Lappers and … Jack and Jordan came across just after that so it was a really good ride by everyone. I think it puts us in a good position for the week.”
Will Clarke, who played a role in splitting the bunch after the first KOM, maintains third place on GC (+9s) with Cantwell next best in eighth (+12s). Jordan Kerby’s prospects in the Under-23 classification also improved with his ride today, moving into second place just one second behind Harry Carpenter (03:07:19).
Directeur Sportif Agostino Giramondo explained that he was “very happy” with the Stage 1 result.
“Today I thought the break was going to go and we had three in the break which was good for us – we had Lachie there and Cantwell to finish it off,” he explained. “Unfortunately it came back with about 25km to go which meant then we had six riders in the leading group which is better for us.”
Clarke was the first rider to come into the finishing straight after a technical kilometre and a half through the back streets of Ballarat. That set up the lead out for Cantwell.
“Coming into the sprint I knew I had to be on Matt Goss or Steele Von Hoff,” Cantwell explained. “With about 250m to go as I’m sort of about to step up to the right – Von Hoff and Gossy collected each other. Steele pulled his foot and almost threw me over the barriers so I lost a lot of, all my momentum, so all I could do was just hold the wheel and hold my position.”
Cantwell, grateful to recover as well as he did, was still satisfied with his result.
“Second day in a row, second time on the podium, Drapac’s happy,” he said.
To hear more from Jonathan Cantwell and Lachie Norris, check in with Drapac’s Soundcloud account.
Drapac results snapshot –
1. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp 03:04:12
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:00
16. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
19. Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
21. Will Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
22. Jack Anderson (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
23. Lachie Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp 03:07:05
3. Will Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:09
8. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:12
13. Lachie Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:0:14
16. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:15
23. Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:17
30. Jack Anderson (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:20
1. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp 10pts
4. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) 6
1. Thomas Hamilton (Aus) Jayco Australian U23 National Team 24pts
6. Lachie Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 2
1. Harry Carpenter (Aus) Jayco Australian U23 National Team 0:03:07:19
2. Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling +0:00:01
1. Garmin Sharp 09:21:44
2. Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:10
Jack Anderson and Darren Lapthorne remain watchful in the peloton © Mark Gunter