Leigh Howard wins Trofeo Campos in Mallorca for Orica-GreenEDGE
Last Updated: February 4, 2013 6:08pm
Orica-GreenEDGE's Leigh Howard won a bunch sprint to claim victory in the Trofeo Campos in Mallorca.
The Australian pipped Garmin-Sharp's Tyler Farrar and Movistar's Jose Joaquin Rojas to the line on the 167km route from Campos to Ses Salines.
There were only around 50 riders left in the front bunch at the finish after Team Sky had taken control of the race with 25km to go and set a high pace that caused a huge split in the field.
However, Orica-GreenEDGE delivered Howard to the sprint in prime position and the 23-year-old duly converted the opportunity.
He said: "It is great to repay the team for the faith they have put in me for the last two races. We are working really well together.
"We are still getting used to each other. Three sprints in [to the season] and we have already won a race. It is fantastic. Hopefully there is more of this to come."
The Trofeo Campos, the second race of Challenge Mallorca, began with a seven-man breakaway group, including Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) and Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE), almost immediately darting off the front of the peloton and quickly opening up a sizeable gap that reached its peak at more than seven minutes.
However, they were unable to maintain a consistent advantage and saw their lead steadily whittled down as the main bunch negotiated the three category-four climbs in the final 100km.
They were eventually caught with 27km go and Team Sky promptly moved to the head of the race.
With Colombian Sergio Henao and Spaniard David Lopez setting the tempo, Sky drove up the pace up so high that riders starting dropping out of the back of the pack and a select front group was formed.
As the road began rolling towards the finish line, Lotto-Belisol joined Sky at the front, but neither team were able to halt the charge of Howard.
Britain's highest finisher was Team Sky's Ben Swift in 10th.
1 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEGDE, 3:56.24
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, same time
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
4 Egoitz Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, st
5 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar, st
6 Francisco Jose Ventoso (Spa) Movistar, st
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
8 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol, st
9 Yoeri Havik (Ned) CT de Rijke Shanks, st
10 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, st