Ararat cyclist Lucas Hamilton overcame a nasty crash to take valuable seconds in the general classification, and give Mitchelton-Scott hope in the Giro d'Italia after his team leader withdrew from the Tour following a positive test for coronavirus.
Hamilton attacked on the summit finish to Sunday night's stage nine of the Giro, taking seventh place and moving up two spots in the overall rankings.
The 24-year-old is the highest-ranked Mitchelton-Scott rider, and the second-highest Australian, in 15th place.
IN OTHER NEWS: Stawell SES assist with late night rescue
Hamilton said it was important to form a break on the rain-soaked 208-kilometre stage.
"I'm pretty sore after my crashes and, I won't lie, for the first 50 or 60km when it took a long time for the break to go, I was in a world of pain. But as the day went on, I sort of warmed into it a bit, and I don't mind racing in this weather sometimes," he said.
"I knew it was going to a block headwind, which makes it hard at the front, but I also knew that there are no teams really strong enough to consistently keep the pace high. So, if you go a bit of a gap, potentially it could go out, which it did.
"In the final there I didn't have much left because it was a block headwind and Tao came around me in the end. But it's always good to gain a bit of time, and it's good to see that the legs are feeling ok after the crashes."
Riders head into a rest day on Monday night, giving Hamilton time to recover after a whirlwind couple of days.
A fast and chaotic stage seven on Saturday night saw the peloton buffeted by crosswinds, leading to a number of crashes.
A crash with 45km to go saw Hamilton hit the pavement, but the Ararat export was able to make his way back to the front of the race.
The drama didn't end there for Mitchelton-Scott, with team leader and overall Giro hopeful Simon Yates withdrawing before stage eight after testing positive for coronavirus.
After surviving the crash-plagued stage seven, Yates complained of a headache. A rapid test for COVID-19 was conducted, which led to a positive reading. A second test was later taken, which has confirmed the positive result.
MAKING NEWS ACROSS THE WIMMERA:
The remainder of the Mitchelton-Scott riders and staff all returned negative tests.
Riders on the Giro stay in a bio-secure bubble when not competing, and no positive tests were reported before the race began.
Team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said it wasn't clear how Yates had contracted COVID-19, or why all other team members - including Hamilton - returned negative tests.
"Looking at how this virus works, there are people who are easily infected and others who will test negative even when their close family test positive. This virus' ability to spread is quite unusual. I'm certain that as a team, we did our bubble in the best way possible," he said.
"I think that you can control everything, but not 100 per cent. We're all tested in the bubble, but when you go into the hotels, not everyone there has been tested."
Did you know you can receive updates straight to your inbox? To make sure you're up-to-date with news from across the region, sign up below.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.