TASMANIAN cyclist Campbell Flakemore enjoyed a day in a yellow jersey in France.
An impressive win in the prologue time trial of the Tour de l’Avenir saw the Hobart 22-year-old contest the opening stage in the leader’s jersey.
Renowned as a time trial specialist having finished fourth in the 2013 under-23 world champs, Flakemore finished the 4.4km stage around Saint-Flour one second faster than Italy’s Davide Martinelli and three seconds clear of Dutchman Timo Roosen.
Cyclingcentral reported that the victory was ‘‘all the more deserved for the final year under-23 who’s had to sacrifice his own ambitions for much of this season to keep riders like Caleb Ewan and Robert Power in contention for other results’’.
Flakemore swiftly earned widespread praise on Twitter from the likes of teammate Caleb Ewan and fellow Tasmanian Nathan Earle.
He responded: ‘‘So happy to win the prologue at tour de l’avenir today. Will be nice to wear yellow tomorrow. Massive week ahead in the alps.’’
Flakemore said his biggest goal remains the world championships where he will try to produce a performance eye-catching enough to seal a professional contract.
Cycling Australia’s road development coach James Victor praised the former Friends student.
‘‘Campbell has been a warrior for the team over the past two years and is always reliable to get Caleb to bunch sprints, tow his teammates across gaps and generally be there when the workload needs to step up. Today was his day to shine and that he did,’’ he said.
Norway’s Kristoffer Skjerping won the 144-kilometre opening stage to Brioude, while Denmark’s Kragh Asbjorn Andersen took the lead by 16 seconds.
Flakemore dropped to 2:21 off the pace, two places ahead of Launceston’s Alex Clements.
The week-long stage race contested by under-23 riders is considered among the most prestigious on the junior calendar with previous winners including Greg LeMond, Nairo Quintana and Tejay van Garderen.