MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian cyclist Damien Howson took the overall lead in the Herald Sun Tour after winning the grueling opening Falls Creek stage on Thursday, leaving three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome in sixth place.
Howson leads Orica-Scott teammate Esteban Chaves and Froome by more than a minute. It was the first professional win for Howson, the 2013 under-23 world time-trial champion.
The stage had been billed as a duel between Froome and Chaves, the two best climbers in the field.
But Howson and Froome’s Team Sky teammate Kenny Ellisonde broke clear of the main group midway up the 29-kilometer climb to the finish at Falls Creek that highlighted the 174-kilometer opening stage from Wangaratta.
Once they caught leader Steve Lampier of Britain, the pair continued building a lead. Howson then attacked inside the last three kilometers and won by 32 seconds.
Lampier’s Australian teammate Jai Hindley also had a strong opening day, catching and then passing Ellisonde for second place.
Ellisonde finished third at 47 seconds, while Australian Michael Storer was fourth and Chaves was fifth over the line at a minute and 10 seconds.
Froome was a second further back in sixth spot.
Howson leads Hindley overall by 38 seconds and Ellisonde is third at 53 seconds.
The Tour concludes Sunday with a hilly last stage at Kinglake north of Melbourne.
“Team Sky are one of the world’s strongest teams so I guarantee they are going to throw everything they have (at us),” Howson said. “There’s still a lot of tough stages to come, but I also have a very strong team behind me.”
LEYSIN, Switzerland — Simon Yates outlasted Richie Porte to win the Tour de Romandie’s main mountain stage and earn the leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday.
Britain’s Yates easily held off Australian Porte as both clocked the same time for the 163-kilometer (101-mile) trek to Leysin ski station.
Yates, riding for the Orica-Scott team, took a 19-second lead on Porte to start Sunday’s 18-kilometer (11-mile) time trial to Lausanne that ends the six-day race.
Emanual Buchmann of Germany placed third, 20 seconds back, and was third overall, trailing Yates by 38 seconds.
Fabio Felline of Italy fell to fourth overall, 44 seconds back, after holding the lead since Tuesday.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome dropped from the main group five kilometers (three miles) from the finish and lost more than one minute to Yates.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Promising cyclist Chad Young died from injuries sustained during a high-speed crash at the Tour of Gila, the first American rider to die in a prominent North American stage race in nearly two decades. Young was 21.
His team, Axeon Hagens Berman, said Young died late Friday in Tucson, Arizona.
The team said he was involved in a crash last Sunday during the queen stage of the New Mexico race. Medics were on the scene within minutes and Young was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson, where he was initially listed in stable condition.
Young was downgraded to critical on Tuesday when the extent of his head injuries became clear.
The last American rider to die from injuries sustained in a major North American competition was Nicole Reinhart, who crashed during a race in 2000 in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Collegiate rider Randall Fox was killed last year during a race near Seattle.