MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Damien Howson kept the Herald Sun Tour lead on Friday after overcoming a tire puncture late in the 165.6-kilometer second stage of the four-stage race.
The tire blowout with 20 kilometers to go on the stage from Mount Beauty to Beechworth put Howson on the defensive, but his Orica-Scott teammates dropped back to help him and he did not lose any time to his main rivals.
“Trying to remain calm was pretty difficult, but I had them all around me,” Howson said of his teammates. Mitch Docker gave Howson his front wheel when the Tour leader sustained the puncture.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome’s British teammate Luke Rowe won the stage with a solo breakaway for his first professional stage win since 2012.
It follows teammate Danny van Poppel’s prologue time-trial win, but Froome gained no time on Howson and even went down one place on the overall standings.
Howson retained his 38-second overall lead over compatriot Jai Hindley. Froome stayed one minute and 12 seconds behind Howson, but dropped from fifth to sixth overall.
Froome also showed some racing protocol on the climb, reported by race officials to have eased off the pace and honoring cycling’s unwritten rule not to attack the leader if he had experienced a mechanical problem.
The Tour continues on Saturday with a 167.7-kilometer stage from Benalla to Mitchelton, followed by the concluding stage Sunday at Kinglake north of Melbourne.
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.