Tour of Gippsland
Joe Cooper led home an Avanti IsoWhey Sport 1-2-3 on stage four of the Australian Paper Tour of Gippsland, part of Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series, taking the stage win solo ahead of teammates Pat Shaw and Sam Crome...
Cooper has also taken the lead in the general classification with one stage remaining, having won stage four by over a minute, showing that he loves having the event that he enjoyed great success in 2014 back on the Subaru National Road Series calendar.
"All credit to my Avanti IsoWhey teammates today, they really put me in a good position. They set it up, and allowed me to fly away and feel the wind on my face," said Cooper.
"You almost have to hold back a little bit to begin with in a break like that, or you could get caught in the final ten kilometres and the tank will be empty, so it’s all about timing your effort and making sure you have enough to get right to the end for the win.
"The Tour of Gippsland tour win is one that’s missing from my CV. Anything could happen tomorrow, we’ve got five strong guys that could get up for the win, so whatever happens, happens. A happy team is a good team," added the new race leader.
Holding all the aces in the general classification deck, Avanti IsoWhey Sports were able to control the peloton and make the other teams respond. After the first category one King of the Mountain climb, taken out by Joe Cooper, Pat Shaw was the first to get away, opening up a gap that ensured he won the sprint into Archies Creek and put him into the virtual lead on the road.
As the race approached the Mt Misery climbs, the always aggressive duo Rowan Dever and Jake Klajnblat of Oliver’s Real Food Racing and JML Racing respectively attacked, and held a lead that extended to one and a half minutes the first time up the climb.
Klajnblat went solo to take maximum points on the first lap, before Joe Cooper, the second man over the summit, quickly caught Klajnblat and went solo himself.
Cooper quickly opened a gap of 30 seconds on the peloton, and drove on and on towards the second KOM point on Mt Misery. First to the summit, Cooper picked up another 10 points to stitch up the Jayco Mountain Classification jersey for the tour.
Without pausing for breath, Cooper pushed the pace even higher, forcing the Jayco/John West VIS and State of Matter/MAAP squads to lead the chasing peloton over the closing 20 kilometres.
They couldn’t catch the kiwi though, as Cooper held onto his lead and crossed the finishing line in Inverloch solo, delivering the perfect birthday present for the teams long serving soigneur Neil Walker.
One rider who is not letting the Avanti juggernaut have everything their own way is Cyrus Monk of Pat’s Veg Cycling. The Victorian is fifth on general classification, and has moved into the Paul the Pieman Young Rider Classification jersey after stage four.
"We came in today with me aiming for the sprints, and we really wanted to take it up to Avanti, but all credit to them, they showed they were the best team out there today. My teammate Mathew Ross and I finished strongly so it’s good to get a jersey, hopefully we can hold onto it tomorrow," said Monk.
The final stage of the 2016 Australian Paper Tour of Gippsland is the Traralgon criterium, starting at 10:30am in Kay Street.
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