WATSON WINS SUN TOUR, NATHAN EARLE TAKES FINAL STAGE HONOURS

(c) Jarrod Partridge/jxpphotography

(c) Jarrod Partridge/jxpphotography

Calvin Watson (Jayco-Victoria Institute of Sport-Apollo) has taken the overall victory at the 60th Jayco Herald Sun Tour which wrapped up today on top of Arthurs Seat in Victoria, Australia. To top it off, today was his 20th birthday.

Watson is the youngest winner of the race – Australia’s oldest – now in its 60th year.

Watson, who was second overnight at 14 seconds, kept his composure over the two tough climbs of Arthurs Seat to cross the line in 21st position, beating yellow jersey holder Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) by 49 seconds. Kiwi Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) rounded out the podium two minutes further back.

‘I couldn’t be happier with this result, it means so much,’ Watson said at the finish. ‘To be on an honour roll with absolute champions in Australian cycling, I’m so happy. Thanks so much to all the VIS guys, we came here as underdogs and we really showed the guys that we weren’t here to mess around.’

Watson, who lives in nearby Frankston, Victoria, said twice-weekly climbs up Arthurs Seat helped him on today’s stage.

‘This is my backyard and you couldn’t ask for a better place to train. I knew the climb back-to-front and I knew where I could ease off and where I had to really dig deep and I knew every corner and that really played into our hands,’ Watson said.

The stage was won by Nathan Earle (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers). His instructions were to try to help his team mate Donnelly get over Arthurs Seat and keep hold of his race lead. But as he slipped off the pace, Earle was given the green light to chase the stage win.

‘The plan was to look after Aaron to the base of the climb, and keep him in the best shape we could.  When we got to the climb I was told just to follow not attack, the first and second time, just follow.’

‘It’s been a very successful tour for the team.  It would have been nice to win, but we did everything we could.  To get two stage wins, a second in the prologue, second overall and the sprinters jersey, it’s been a good week,’ Earle said after the win.

One of the best things about early season races like the Sun Tour is that it offers young riders the chance to show the cycling public just what they’re made of. This race has demonstrated that Australia has some very good young talent coming up through the ranks. The Under 23s age group dominated this race in much the same manner as they did at last week’s Mitchelton Bay Classic in Geelong.

You can read the Sun Tour press release here.

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