Tour of Gippsland
Pat Lane sprinted home to win stage three of the 2016 Australian Paper Tour of Gippsland, part of Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series making it back-to-back stage wins for Avanti IsoWhey Sports...
Jacob Kauffmann of Subaru NSWIS & MS crossed the line second, with Lane’s teammate Joe Cooper third. The bonus seconds on offer were enough to see Lane take the yellow leaders jersey from teammate Pat Shaw.
"I didn’t expect to be in yellow today, I went in trying to protect the jersey for Pat but the stage win and the jersey is nice! I’m sure it will be back on Pat Shaw’s shoulder’s tomorrow night.
"Joe [Cooper] pretty much rode away from everyone towards the end, and luckily I was on the back when he went.
"The race is still very open, I think general classification is very close, and I think there’s probably 25 or 30 guys still in with a good shot, so tomorrow will be a very interesting race," said the stage winner and new leader of the tour.
Grey skies and cold temperatures greeted the peloton for the start of stage three, however the primary school children looking resplendent in their red uniforms warmed the spirits of everyone there with their raucous cheering of the riders. Many were eager to get away from the peloton and get up the road in the early kilometres, as attacks and counter attacks were launched before the first sprint of the day.
Nothing would stick though, as the time bonus that was on offer ensured the peloton was attentive and ready to pounce. Avanti IsoWhey Sports Racing’s Pat Lane took out the first sprint, doing his job for team captain and race leader Pat Shaw.
With only one climb on the stage, the pace was high and the peloton was strung out approaching the fog covered category two King of the Mountain point. Jayco Mountain Classification leader Josh Aldridge of AMR Renault Racing was eager to add to his points tally, and made an early move at the base of the climb. He was joined by Oliver’s Real Food Racing’s Rowan Dever who then made an aggressive solo move, but he was eventually caught by the chase group, with Cooper picking up the points.
As the riders descended towards Port Albert the race heated up despite the cold and slippery conditions on the road. With 20 kilometres to go a seven man breakaway including WorldTour bound Chris Hamilton established a dangerous gap that hovered around 15 seconds, but they were caught with ten kilometres left to race.
The stage looked destined for a bunch sprint on the wide streets of Port Albert, however it was Cooper who took off for the line five kilometres from the finish. Kauffman and Lane were the only riders to respond, with the Avanti duo proving too strong for Kauffmann in the end.
The Australian Paper Tour of Gippsland continues on Saturday with stage four from Wonthaggi to Inverloch featuring two climbs of the aptly named Mt Misery. Action starts at 10.30am, follow @Subaru_NRS and hashtag #tog16 for updates.