The 2016 Subaru National Road Series recommenced last week in South Australia after a four month winter break. The five day, seven stage 511 km gruling course that follows the Limestone Coast kicked off in Mount Gambier on Wednesday. Oliver’s Racing fielded a strong seven man team who were able to field 4 top ten finishes, including a podium, as well as Ryan Christensen’s third NRS King of the Mountains jersey.
After an aggressive second stage around Blue Lake, Mt Gambier on the first day of the tour, which saw Avanti-Isowhey Sport’s Sam Crome take the lead of the bike race, opportunities came in the form of breakaways in the remaining individual stages as Crome’s team looked after his ambitions in the overall classification.
This enabled Nicholas Reddish to be present in a four man breakaway during stage 5 of the tour from Penola to Casterton, which was able to stay away from the charging peloton in the closing stages. Reddish sprinted to a third place finish, his and the teams first podium in the Subaru National Road Series.
“It was super tough in the final few kilometers, the peloton was really close to getting us, plus there was a super fast downhill before the left turn and uphill sprint” said Reddish, the Kiwi who is in his second season with Oliver’s Racing.
Sean Whitfield also sprinted to his best of three top placings during the tour during stage 5. Finishing second to Scott Sunderland (Lakes Oil Team) in the bunch sprint and sixth on the stage.
Stage 6 of the tour was set to be decisive to the race overall. Riders would race four laps of a tough circuit around Cape Bridgewater, which included two climbs per lap. Ryan Christensen was aggressive early, forming a five man breakaway with the aim of collecting King of the Mountain points. The 19 year old, who has just returned to racing after a long recovery from injury, picked up a total of 24 points out on the road, setting himself well clear of any other challengers in the classification. With no further climbing in the tours remaining stage, Christensen negotiated the final criterium yesterday to secure the jersey, his third at a National Road Series round, and adding to wins in the same classification at last years Tour of New Caledonia, and the UCI 2.2 classified New Zealand Cycle Classic earlier this year.
“I’m really happy with this result, especially because I wasn’t sure of my form coming in, mainly my endurance after a long break from racing” Christensen said.
The team will now travel to Victoria ahead of this weekends Tour of King Valley, the third round of the Subaru National Road Series.
A full gallery of the team at the Tour of Great South Coast can be found on our Facebook Page
Results from the Tour of Great South Coast can be found here