Ben Dyball & Ruth Corset Conquer Honeysuckle; Patrick Bevin & Ellen Skerritt Retain Tour Lead

Sydney?s Ben Dyball (Avanti Racing) conquered the climb to Honeysuckle in dominant fashion on Saturday but it wasn?t enough to usurp former pro rider Patrick Bevin (health.com.au/search2retain) from the Vie13 National Capital Tour lead with one day remaining. On the final 10 kilometre climb to the summit of Honeysuckle in the Namadgi National Park, Dyball attacked the leading group of climbers with six kilometres remaining. Former Mt Fuji record holder, Dyball powered on solo, eventually crossing the line 32 seconds ahead of teammate Matthew Clark and Tim Roe (Budget Forklifts). ?On the climb we just had to basically get the time back to take the jersey,? explained Dyball who has returned to the Subaru National Road Series after fracturing his wrist at the Tour of Adeladie. ?We had two of our riders leading the peloton to the base of the climb and then just as it got steep, Budget Forklifts took up the pacing. I waited and when Tim Roe and Rhys Gillett (African Wildlife Safaris) started attacking, I followed. I accelerated and saw that I had a gap, so I went on with it and basically rode the whole way by myself. ?I?ve ridden up this climb once before but I wasn?t quite sure how steep it was and it was a bit of a surprise. I think I maybe went a little bit too early I was hurting a bit in the last two kilometres, it was hard.? However his efforts weren?t enough to gain the overall Tour lead, with Bevin fighting home for fifth place, just 34 seconds behind Dyball who began the day 55 seconds down on the stage one victor. ?I had to go pretty deep,? remarked Bevin. ?I hit the climb in the perfect position, I made sure I capitalized on all the hard work the guys had put in. ?We rode the climb before hand so I knew it was steep at the bottom, and I had to really fight to get back on [at that point.] ?But I did get back on and I had two teammates Cam [Bayly] and Brendan [Canty] right there and we just rode together all the way to the top.? With two stages remaining, Bevin leads the Tour by 12 seconds to Dyball and 14 seconds to Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing). ?I?m looking forward to tomorrow, it?s a really tough day but the team are up to the job,? said Bevin who rode for the former pro Tour team Bissell. Earlier in the day, a nine rider breakaway went clear inside the first 10 kilometres including Dyball?s teammate Taylor Gunman and Bevin?s teammate James Hepburn. The group gained a two and a half minute advantage before a small chase group followed by the peloton reeled them in after 100 kilometres of racing. From there the group were content to stay together leading into the final ascent of the day. The Tour concludes on Sunday with a double staged day based around Parliament House. Stage three will see an 80 kilometre road race before a tough criterium in the afternoon. Women’s report? Defending champion Ruth Corset (Holden Women?s Cycling) has climbed to victory on stage two of the Vie13 National Capital Tour, repeating her success from 2013. Corset once again was strongest on the11km Honeysuckle climb in the Namadgie National Park, riding away solo in the final seven kilometres to take stage honours. ?I?m feeling really happy to win this stage,? said Corset. ?I didn?t actually attack when I went, I said to Ellen ?sit on my wheel? and see if you can come with me, but when I went no one was on my wheel so I just kept going to try and make as much time as possible.? Teammate and overnight Tour leader Ellen Skerritt powered to second place, while Canberra local Alex Nicholls? (Suzuki Brumby?s) rounded out the podium with an impressive third place. With 15 kilometres left to race, Canberra duo Lisa Keeling (Bicycle Superstore) and Emma Viotto (Suzuki Brumby?s) broke away and gained over a minute on the bunch before reaching the base of the final climb. From there Corset, Skerritt, Nicholls and Jenelle Crooks (Holden Women?s Cycling) formed a solid working group, and quickly picked up the escapees. Corset then tested her legs, riding away from the group to cross the line unaccompanied. ?We were planning on keeping it together until that final climb, which worked really well,? explained Corset. ?Jenelle gave it everything for the team at the end there and Jo and Jess were working hard to catch the two girls who were up the road.? With two stages remaining, Skerritt retains the Tour lead by 15 seconds to Corset, while Nicholls has moved into third place overall, 45 seconds off the pace. ?It?s really scary, I?ve never done anything like this before so I?m really excited for tomorrow,? said Skerritt. Images copyright Fred Marzano & Mark Walker

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