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Froome wins cycling tour

  • Froome wins cycling tour

    Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome has won cycling's Herald-Sun Tour.

Reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome has started the biggest year of his cycling career with a command performance.

Froome dominated the last stage of the Herald Sun Tour in Victoria, taking out the race at Arthurs Seat and overhauling Sky teammate Peter Kennaugh to claim the tour title on Sunday.

The 121.8km stage at Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne featured three circuits of the steep, 3km Arthurs Seat climb, plus a summit finish.

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Froome led the field up all three climbs and that also meant he won the king of the mountains classification.

Sky dominated the four-stage Tour, with Kennaugh taking the race lead when Froome let him win stage one.

"We really couldn't ask for much more," Froome said.

This year, Froome aims to become the first rider in the post-Armstrong era to successfully defend the Tour de France title.

The two-time Tour de France champion also will target the road race and time trial at the Rio Olympics.

"There's a lot to race for this year and coming here and walking away with the overall victory is an amazing way to start off the season," he said.

Froome said his attack was not pre-planned and he made it with the team's blessing.

"He (Kennaugh) gave me an all-clear from behind - I mean, a massive thankyou to Pete for doing that," Froome said.

"Hats off Pete, big respect."

Froome finished overall 29 seconds up on Kennaugh, with Australian Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE) improving to third overall thanks to his second place on the stage.

Kennaugh admitted to being slightly disappointed about losing the race lead, but said it was a great result for the team.

He also had a heated confrontation with Australian rider Pat Shaw (Avanti-IsoWhey) near the end of the stage.

There had been tensions between the pair all week and they also spilled over into Kennaugh's post-race media comments.

"He just came up to me laughing in my face, calling me a selfish c***, 'I don't know how you sleep at night' - Pat Shaw, his name is," Kennaugh said, unprompted.

Froome said he had only heard after the race of an incident involving the pair.

Shaw's team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston also spoke with Froome afterwards.

"We have a hot head, I'd say, in Pat Shaw and they have a hot head in Peter Kennaugh," Christie-Johnston said.

"So they've been blueing all week and that was the heat at the end."

Tensions came to a head after Froome had made the key move on the second of three climbs up Arthurs Seat that ended the stage.

Shaw's teammate Joe Cooper went with him, so Sky tried to keep the gap to the lead duo at around 40 seconds.

That would ensure Kennaugh retained second place overall as he had started the stage 13 seconds in front of Froome, with Cooper 10th overall at 55 seconds.

As it turned out, Froome dropped Cooper at the foot of the final climb to the summit finish and Kennaugh finished seventh to hold onto second overall.

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