2014 National Capital Tour Blog: A Day for the Mountain Goats to Play

By David Parker from the Phoenix Cycling Collective -?Twitter (@phoneixcycle) The Queen stage of our home Tour began in a typically tense fashion with everyone wanting a good position leading into the first climb up the Arboretum. A few were looking for the early break as well as those valuable KOM points and it wasn’t long before a group of 8 formed off the front 18km in. In the bunch the pace was solid but not frantic as most were happy to let the break go. Mount MacDonald came and went without too much fuss as the break extended their lead to some 3mins. Leading into Uriarra Crossing was one of the most nervous periods with cross winds hitting the bunch and riders scrambling for position ahead of the dangerous descent and notorious Three Sisters climb. The pace definitely picked up on the climb but the Phoenix riders stuck in there holding good position. Then in a repeat of last year the pace eased as soon as we crossed the KOM point allowing a good opportunity to feed and recover, which is where Craig did a great job of bringing bottles up from the Team car for us. The next challenge was Pierces Creek and Search to Retain were controlling things nicely in defence of Yellow as we approached, keeping the break in check. The climb itself was tough as expected and several riders were feeling the pinch by this point and began drifting backwards. I was pleased to get over safely surpassing my effort from last year. From then on the pace stayed fairly constant as the break was back to just over 1min and everyone knew it wouldn’t last. Then as we hit Tharwa the attacks started coming as the break was picked up and the race was really on. Budget were trying to get clear with a few other riders inside the final 20km but Avanti managed to reel them in as we hit the big climb all together, this was going to hurt! Sam did a great job of moving me up the bunch with his last bit of energy, but from the first incline the bunch was shattered to pieces with small groups forming and at this point I started cramping so I knew I had to ease off and take my own pace up the climb. I was soon passed by Craig who finished strongly, showing his class after an outstanding effort yesterday. I then managed to find a good wheel to follow up the climb as I fought off the cramps to finish 5mins behind eventual winner Ben Dyball of Avanti. I was impressed to learn that Patrick Bevin of Search to Retain held on to the leaders jersey by 12 seconds which should make tomorrow very interesting! The rest of the Phoenix Team proved just how much we’ve progressed with Nath just 45 seconds behind me, and Sam pulling off a great ride less than 3mins further back. Not bad for a sprinter! Paddy showed his huge potential in his first NRS race coming in at 14mins down and Dr Dwyer lived up to his Groupetto hitter reputation dragging several riders up the final climb to finish at 20mins. We are very relieved that everyone who started the day will again start tomorrow, avoiding the terrible time cut issues we faced yesterday. Tomorrow brings a big double header to round out the Tour with an 80km road race at 10am around Lake Burley Griffin and a 50km Crit in front of Parliament House at 3pm. So come out and show your support for Phoenix Cycling, you will find us at the Ride 365 and Phoenix Cycling marquee!

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