Based in the south of France and with stella line up, Team Raleigh’s first race of the year was always going to be a stiff test.

The Tour du Haut Var didn’t disappoint with a two-day toil, including a 207km route and 3000m+ of climbing on Day 2.

Our top finisher was Australian climber Lachlan Norris (right) in 30th, coming in on the same time as stage one winner Thor Hushovd.

Mark Christian meanwhile finished ahead of names such as the Thomas Voeckler and Giovanni Visconti.

Raleigh’s team manager Cherie Pridham said after the race “It was an exciting baptism of fire for Team Raleigh! Our first race of the year was at such a high level, the guys rode very positive. Stage 2 today was a difficult stage not just terrain wise but 210km to boot.”

“We had three guys in the chase group. Mark Christian rode a very consistent race, Lachlan found his legs today and rode very strong and it was a good first experience for us at this level. A bit like footy and we at the bottom of the Premier League but we’ve got to start somewhere, and I am very pleased with everyone’s performances over the 2 days.

“Now we have a few days to recover and straight into the La Drôme Classic and Classic Sud Ardèche both UCI1.1 next weekend.”

For more on this event see Velo UK.