After a 3month break between races, Round 2 of the Subaru National Road Series kicked off in Mount Gambier. 511km over 5 days racing in the South Coast of South Australia and Victoria. Bikebug Cocowhip racing led by DS Henk Vogels came into the race with the goal of a stage win and aiming for a rider in the GC hunt.
With 3 of our riders (Sam Lane, Jackson Mawby and Darcy Pirotta) returning from a stint in Belgium racing the kermesse scene we were confident someone would be able to get the job done. Clinton Edwards and Shaun MacWilliam racing there first NRS tour.
With 5:30minutes of time bonus available over the 5 days we knew that these would decide the Tour. We went into Stage 1 criterium with the intention of taking some bonuses. Those plans didn’t come off the Cyrus Monk(pats veg) taking most along with the Avanti boys. Jesse Kerrison(state of matter) took stage 1 with Pat Shaw taking the first leaders Jersey.
Stage 2 65km kermessse around Blue Lake started in the sun and it didn’t take long for a flurry of attacks to start, after 2 laps about 15 of us slipped up the road with most team represented. Hail and strong winds hit us shortly after and with that 6 more riders came across and that was the tour then and there. With 4 Avanti 2 State of Matter and most of the favourites in the group everyone didn’t really commit with lots of attacks coming until the end when Nathan Elliot, Ryan Cavanagh and Sam Crome riding away while he rest of the group split in 2. Crome took the stage win and the leaders jersey with him, while the peloton was 9minutes back leaving 20 riders in “contention” for the rest of the week. With Jake our best placed in 16th.
Stage 3 the longest of the race at 140km and lots of exposed roads, we aimed to be aggressive from the start and have 1 guy in the breakaway. It took 60kms for a break to form with the first few sprints being taken out by Ben Hill looking to move himself up the GC, A break with Cyrus Monk (pats vegs) Sam Lane (JML) Alex Porter (SASI) and Nicholas Kergozou (Mobius) with no one a threat to the GC Avanti took to controlling the peloton for the rest of the stage. For the peloton it was just about saving energy and hiding all day, while Sam was a good chance at the win putting in mulitiple attacks in the final before Alex Porter took the 3 man sprint for the stage win.
Stage 4 Penola criterium was held on a small circuit and with everyone told the same instruction of stay up front it was a fight all day. Again a break went early and took all the time bonuses, I don’t think anyone was stopping Harry Carpernter of SASI as he rode most of his breakaway companions of his wheel and took the win in a sprint from James Fouche (Mobius).
Stage 5 had the tour heading back into Victoria with the finish in Casteron, 65km with a roaring tailwind all day. Again I think most teams were under the same instruction of making it a aggressive stage from the start, with the first 10km never dipping below 50kmh. after about 20km 4 of us got away with Jake Klajnblat (JML) Liam Noland (SASI) Nick Reddish (olivers real racing) and Adam Reynolds (Mobius). We worked hard to get the gap out to 1min and knowing it was a tailwind all day I was confident we would hold on. We got some info there was a big crash not long after we got away slowing the peloton day for a few minutes. This pushed out the gap and by the time Henk got up to us and told us what was happening we believed we could potentially ride in the leaders jersey, we committed all day, until the last 5km when the gap was tumbling, Noland and myself got away again and were able to hold off the chase. Fortunaly I was a bit stronger in the final as was able to take my first NRS win and the teams first win as well. With a great ride by 17 year old Nolan, unfortunately the peloton finished strong and was only 26 seconds back at the finish. Also speedy recovery to all those that crashed out of the race.
Stage 6 was to be the hardest stage of the race 121km around Cape Bridgewater with a KOM each lap that would shake up the field as the day went on along with the brutal winds, we planned on hopefully taking some sprints to move up the GC but a break went after 5kms and that put a stop to those plans. Joe Cooper and Pat Lane rode the front for a majority of the day for Avanti keeping in the check the break. But with a lot of riders trying to move up the GC things would come back on the last lap, Angus Lyons (VIS) and Chris Harper (swisswellness) were very aggressive and had a big dig in trying to get away, with only 15 riders left over the hill a lot of foxing went on as Avanti still had numbers, the group continued to grow as we got closer to the finish with about 40 riders in contention. In the downhill sprint young Rob Stannard lead out his teammate Nicholas Kergozou of Mobius to go 1-2 on the stage, with a Kiwi podium sweep as GPM’s Sam Phillips 3rd.
The final stage was a 48km criterium on a technical circuit in Portland. Again with a lot of time bonuses up for grabs our intention was to try grab a few seconds to move myself into the top 10. Again a super aggressive start, saw 3 riders get away, Harry Carpenter, Rob Stannard and Angus Lyons. With Lyons the best placed rider on GC. He threw everything at it to move himself up the overall and in the end was only 1 second off finished 3rd. The break just held on in the end with Stannard holding off Scott Sunderland to take the final stage.
Sam Crome of Avanti took the GC with Ben Hill 2nd and Pat Shaw 3rd
Harry Carpenter took the Sprint Jersey
Ryan CHRISTENSEN olivers racing took the KOM jersey
Angus Lyon Rising Star Jersey
Scott Sunderland Criterium jersey
Cyrus Monk Most aggressive
Avanti Isowhey won the team classification.
Round 3 starts this Friday in the King Valley.
By Jake Klajnblat