Date: Monday, 19 June 2017

Kiwi rider Tom Scully won his first World Tour race for Cannondale-Drapac in the final stage of La Route du Sud.

Scully, 27, who rode for Drapac Professional Cycling Team last season won the 154-km stage to Nogaro with a mixture of craft and strength.

"I knew it would be hard for a team to chase in the heat, as it was really easy to go into the red in these conditions," said Scully.

The Southlander was one of five riders of the original nine-rider break that stayed in front of the peloton on the line.

While the nine-rider group was still intact underneath the flamme rouge, the peloton closed in on the group in the final meters to result in a bunch sprint-type of finish. Scully not only took control of the final, he also played an active part in setting up the breakaway.

With no one in the breakaway a threat for the general classification, the peloton let them have a maximum advantage of 2:40.

The 154.8 kilometer stage ended on the auto-track Paul Armagnac, with the break in plain sight for the peloton to chase. The wide and twisty roads made the finishing kilometers of La Route du Sud a true spectacle.

"The group was working hard, but everyone was getting tired approaching the car racing track," Scully said. "At three to go, the gap was down to 12 seconds."

"I wasn't particularly aiming for a stage win coming into this race, but it's always on the cards when you can have the freedom to get in the breakaway," Scully said. "So you just have to be ready."

Ready he was. He felt confident he could finish it off if he ended up in a race-winning escape.

"I felt strong," Scully said. "I'm happy with how the condition is after a big block of training following the Classics."

Scully's performance was inspired by Rolland's victory the previous day.

"Pierre's a great guy to race with. He led by example this week on a course that suited him," Scully said. "Today I had my chance on terrain that suited me to do the same. The feeling in the team at La Route du Sud was a good atmosphere.

"Looking back on La Route du Sud overall, I loved it, even the big day over the Tourmalet," Scully said. "For me, it was the first time racing in the big, big mountains, so it was pretty cool to do that."

"It's great seeing a kid that was on our development team all those years ago, and then come to us via Drapac, make good on his talent and racing instinct," Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. 

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