William Clarke blitzes short opening prologue of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia as British road race champion Peter Kennaugh places eighth and Chris Froome 27th
- Photos by Graham Watson

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William Clarke (Drapac Pro Cycling) won the opening prologue of the 2016 Jayco Herald Sun Tour on Wednesday, repeating his victory from last year and taking the early race lead.

Clarke completed the short 2.1-kilometre course in Melbourne in two minutes and 34 seconds. On-form sprinter Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) came in for second place, with Neil Van Der Ploeg (Avanti IsoWhey Sport) in third to make an all-Australian top three.

Fresh from his victory in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Sunday, British national road race champion Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) was the highest-placed British rider in eighth place.

Peter Kennaugh placed eighth in the prologue of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Peter Kennaugh placed eighth in the prologue of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

The short course suited sprinters and pursuiters more than time trial specialists, but Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) managed to minimise his losses by placing 27th, eight seconds adrift of Clarke.

Ewan goes into Thursday’s road stage as favourite for the victory, and to take over the general classification.

>>> Chris Froome seeking Herald Sun Tour win for Team Sky

Chris Froome before the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Chris Froome before the Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Result

Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2016, prologue: Melbourne to Melbourne, 2.1km
1. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling in 2-34.27
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1 sec
3. Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 2 secs
4. Robbie Hucker (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 3 secs
5. Joseph Cooper (NZl) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 4 secs
6. Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-GreenEdge at 5 secs
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8=. Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8=. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
10. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at same time

General classification after prologue
1. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling in 2-34.27
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1 sec
3. Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 2 secs
4. Robbie Hucker (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 3 secs
5. Joseph Cooper (NZl) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at 4 secs
6. Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-GreenEdge at 5 secs
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8=. Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8=. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
10. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Avanti IsoWhey Sport at same time

William Clarke takes the prologue win and overall race lead in the Herald Sun Tour

William Clarke takes the prologue win and overall race lead in the Herald Sun Tour