Portarlington peninsula turned on the heat and the wind for the third stage of the men?s Michelton Bay Classic, creating some difficult conditions for the riders as they rode the 1.3 kilometre circuit. The race eventually came down to a 15 man bunch sprint, with Pat Shaw (Avanti IsoWhey) emerging victorius after an active showing throughout the race. Daniel Fitter (State of Matter/MAAP) sprinted to 2nd making it a 1-2 for NRS teams over their more fancied rivals, as Samuel Spokes (Drapac) was third and series leader Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) was 4th.
The race started a hard pace, but the majority of riders weren?t overly troubled, and it wasn?t long before the attacks off the front began, and after a number of failed attempts, eventually Daniel Fitter and Chris Hamilton (Avanti IsoWhey) went off the front and looked to be working well together, but at this stage, the peloton was fresh and had little trouble in dragging back the escaped duo, with Peter Koning (Drapac) the main man on chasing duties.
This allowed Miles Scotson (Budget Forklifts) to launch his own move, quickly getting a decent gap over the bunch, and extending it consistently over the next few laps, until a group of six attacked the peloton to try and get across. This group included Caleb Ewan, who the other riders clearly weren?t keen to work with, so after Ewan tried for half a lap to make some headway with a counterattack, eventually he and the rest of the group were reabsorbed into the peloton, as Scotson ploughed his lone course up in front. Scotson spoke to Peloton Caf? after the stage.
?I was out there for a long effort by myself today, I think this is a good course to do that on, if there?s ever going to be a solo move go in the Bay Crits, this is the stage.? It was then the turn of Luke Durbridge to launch himself in a lone attempt to bridge across to the dual U/23 Australian champion. ?I saw Durbo coming across to me, and I waited up for him a bit, looking back on it, I probably shouldn?t have done that. Guys bridged across to us, and it wasn?t going to go well from there.?
Those riders were Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey) and Peter Koning (Drapac), both on whom had already done a lot of hard riding throughout the day, and couldn?t add much to break before it was recaptured by the peloton with two laps remaining. With the main bunch whittled down to 15, the pace was kept high for the remainder of the race, stifling any half attacks, as the riders lined up for a sprint. The final 90 degree turn with 200 metres to go was taken at high speed with Pat Shaw emerging out first and sprint up the final rise, holding off Daniel Fitter to take the win. Scotson decribed his view of the sprint. ?I dropped onto Caleb?s wheel, obviously the legs were a bit tired. Then coming down the back straight, I thought ?oh, we?re a bit far back here?, and as it turned out we were. So I just tried to follow the wheels, but I just didn?t have the legs today (eventually finished 7th).?
After his twin wins in the U/23 Nationals and Time Trial last year, Miles Scotson is eyeing off a return to the top step of the podium. ?My legs have going well in the Bay Crits, but I didn?t get the results, so I?m pretty motivated to get one at the Nats. It?s been awhile (since my last win), so I?m really excited for Nationals. I did the Bay Crits last year, it?s a really good way to get some racing in the legs, it should set me up well again.? After his top performance today it?s hard to see many arriving to the nationals in better form than the reigning champion. It was this sort of form that led to his new team for the coming season, where he will be heading over to America along with his brother Callum to ride for Team Illuminate (formerly known as Airgas-Safeway). ?Yeah Illuminate should be a good team for me, I see it as a step forward from what I was doing last year. I haven?t met the rest of the team yet, so I don?t really know how I?ll fit in, but I get on with the manager really well and I?m really keen to get over there and see what I can do.?
The Michelton Bay Cycling Classic concludes tomorrow with the 900 metre circuit around Williamstown. Caleb Ewan, despite his 4th place on today?s stage, ended up extending his lead in the yellow jersey, as Brenton Jones finished just off the back of the front pack, and missed out on the opportunity to take any points. Jones is now tied for 2nd with stage 3 winner Pat Shaw, both are mathematically in with a chance to win the overall, but they would need to win and hope that Ewan finishes outside the top 10.
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