IT has been a memorable week for local cyclists with three completing one of the sport’s toughest events while another achieved a strong result at a top race on the Asian circuit.
Jack Haig, Chris Hamilton and Zak Dempster all marked their Giro d’Italia debuts by making the finish of the race in Rome on Monday morning (Australian time).
The three-week Grand Tour was somewhat controversially won by Chris Froome, who is awaiting judgement on a doping case.
Haig’s Mitchelton-Scott outfit was the dominant team at the race, with five stage wins and nearly two weeks in the leaders’ pink jersey through Simon Yates.
Haig played a key role in several of the stage wins, helping Yates, Esteban Chaves and Mikel Nieve all claim line honours during the three-week epic.
Haig finished 37th overall after Yates had a late-race capitulation, losing huge chunks of time riding in a support role for the struggling Briton.
Yates held the pink jersey for 13 days, up until the third-last stage, during which he cracked and finished nearly 39 minutes behind Froome.
He lost more time the following day to finish more than an hour behind Froome in the general classification in Rome.
Hamilton’s Team Sunweb lineup narrowly missed out on back-to-back titles to Dutch star Tom Dumoulin, who finished 46 seconds behind Froome.
Hamilton finished his Giro debut in 104th, four hours and 19 minutes behind Froome and 24th in the youth classification.
Dempster finished in 126th position overall but played a key role in ensuring that teammate Guy Sagiv became the first Israeli rider to complete a Grand Tour.
Somewhat closer to home, Sam Crome finished sixth at the Tour of Japan to continue his strong year.
Crome finished less than two minutes behind winner Marcos Garcia and second in the youth classification behind Bennelong SwissWellness teammate Chris Harper.
His campaign included a strong fifth-place finish on the gruelling stage from the Fuji Speedway race track to the summit of the famous Mount Fuji.