Finishing inside the top 20 of his first major cycling tour means the world to Albury’s Jesse Featonby.
The 29-year-old was blown away by his unexpected 15th place finish against an impressive field of Australian and international riders in the Herald Sun Tour.
Featonby finished one minute and 56 seconds off the pace of general classification winner Damien Howson and just 44 seconds behind three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
“(Sunday) was one of the toughest stages, so to finish in the front group with all the contenders and move up two spots was awesome,” he said.
“It definitely made me want more and our team is now confident we can take on some of the bigger teams.
“He (Froome) got dropped on the last climb just before the finish, so to know I’m competitive at that level of racing gives me confidence.
It definitely made me want more and our team is now confident we can take on some of the bigger teams.Jesse Featonby
“I think it’s going to be a great season.
“To be able to experience that and be on a team where I was 100 per cent supported and to move up in classification, it’s incredible.
“To go through it all and get that result, I’m very pleased.
“The amount of support I had personally on the stages close to home was incredible and I can’t thank all the people enough for coming out to support me.
“It’s something I’ll definitely remember for many years to come.”
Ian Stannard claimed team Sky’s third win of the tour during the final stage into Kinglake after a late attack from the breakaway.
Howson matched the last lap attacks of Froome to seal his first professional victory.