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Tattersall's Cup #5: Tour of the Tamar (NE)
Australia, August 27, 2003
Tighello wins final race, series to comeback man McLachlan
By Rod Morris
The love affair that Victorian rider Robert Tighello has established with the Tattersall's Cup cycling series continued yesterday with victory in the Tour of the Tamar. Tighello (28) won the third annual Tour of the Tamar, which brought to a close the eighth annual Tattersall's Cup - a predominantly Victorian series, which now includes a leg in Tasmania.
Tighello however failed in the cruelest possible fashion to win his third Tattersall's Cup, when he was beaten in a countback by Barcelona Olympian Robert McLachlan. In the four races leading up to the Tour of the Tamar, Tighello had placed second behind McLachlan twice, while the Canberra cyclist also won last week's Tour of the La Trobe Valley.
Tighello was part of an eight man breakaway group that split from the peleton almost 40 km into the 150 km race.
In a stylish finish, Tighello out-sprinted 18-year-old Tasmanian Ryan Sullivan, who is quickly making quite a name for himself on a world scale, and third was Uruguay rider Jorge Libanotti, who with his countryman Hector Morales have enjoyed a five week Australian campaign racing in the Tattersall's Cup, adding some international flavour to the event.
Tighello is without doubt the most successful cyclist the Tattersall's Cup series has produced. Since the event started in 1996, Tighello's record includes:
1996 - 3rd
Tighello entered the Tour of the Tamar 10-points behing McLachlan and under the sliding-points scale system the series operates under needed to be 10 positions better than McLachlan to snatch overall victory.
"There was a pre-meditated plan from last week on this race would pan out," Tighello said. "I knew the course reasonably well from past experiences here and knew that if the right moves were made at the right times, then we would be hard to beat."
McLachlan was not part of the breakaway bunch and was not in sight of the leaders till the closing 10 km when the peloton sensed the urgency. At one stage the gap between the leading group and the main bunch grew to 3.45 minutes but in the desperate closing stages, the margin was reduced considerably.
"I am disappointed I didn't go with Robert (Tighello) in the early break, but on the other hand I feel so tremendously lucky to have won the overall series," McLachlan said.
After representing Australia in the road race at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, McLachlan retired from cycling, but returned in February this year. His record of three wins from his first three starts in this year's Tattersall's Cup and then overall victory, suggests even bigger success might not be far away.
"I'm not making any plans or bold statements, I just want to see what happens over the coming months," he said. "Obviously while I'm riding like this, I'm enjoying it, but good form can leave you as quickly as it arrives."
Hector Morales, a visiting Uruguayan speaks very little English - but rides a bike like a master. Entering the Tour of the Tamar holding a handy lead in the Sprint Championship, Morales went on a rampage winning almost every intermediate sprint on offer to eventually win the title by a whopping 34 points from Tighello.
Morales also reeled in Chris Bradford in the King of the Mountain Championship, turning a 16-point deficit into a 16-point victory. And just to cap off a sensational visit to Australia, the 21-year-old Morales was rewarded with the Sid Patterson Young Rider Award.
How it unfolded
By Matt Conn
Clear skies and a slight breeze made conditions ideal for the 2003 Tour of the Tamar, held around Northern Tasmania's Tamar Valley. As the riders crossed the flood swollen Esk River to start their 150km journey back to Launceston, there was a last chance to admire the scenery before the race-proper commenced after 6.00km.
As is always the case with the final round of the Tattersall's cup, there were plenty of riders willing to start racing at the earliest opportunity. With the overall series up for grabs and a prize list of $6000 on offer, this was not going to be a casual affair.
The opening sprint at Legana (11.2km) was taken out by Tim Buchanan (ACT) from Troy Glennan (NSW) and David Kemp (QLD). Kemp was one of several riders in the field just back from the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China, looking to make the most of ten days at altitude.
Even without some of the killer climbs of earlier rounds, the Tasmanian race is run over a very undulating course, and once the riders hit the first KOM at 13.7km, there was hardly a kilometer of flat road before the finish. On the opening climb of the day, a break that was to determine the final outcome of the race took shape, but most notable of all was the absence of series leader, Robert McLachlan (ACT).
Driving the breakaway was Victorian Robert Tighello, placed second in the overall standings and looking for his third overall Tattersall's Cup victory. Uruguayan rider, Jorge Libonatti had started the break and led the group over the KOM point at KM 16.6 (1. Libonatti, 2. Tighello, 3.Morales). With the assistance of countryman Hector Morales, the two riders froim uraguay took the second KOM points at Brady's Lookout (20km) with Tighello following the wheels in third.
While the move was forming at the front, KOM leader Chris Bradford (Vic) punctured and had an appalling wheel change which was to cost him not only his chance in the race, but the overall mountains title for the series.
It was on the descent into Exeter that the breakaway group increased slightly with the arrival of two Tasmanians, Ryan Sullivan and Nathan Clarke, along with Victorian junior John Clarke.
At km24 Morales took the sprint at Exeter from Libonatti, John Clarke had joined the front and claimed third place. The breakaway now numbered eight riders, comprised of Tighello, Dominic Gatto (Vic), Morales, Libonatti, Sullivan, Clarke, Nathan Clarke, and David Kemp and had a lead of 30 seconds over the main bunch who were still making some attempt to reel in this group.
Km 40 Beaconsfield Sprint: 1. Morales, 2. Libonatti, 3. J. Clarke. (1m 43sec lead)
Km 57 Beaconsfield Sprint: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp
Morales was making the sprint competition his own and the other riders seemed content to save their energy and take turns claiming the minor places. As the leading eight passed Sidmouth (65km), it was Morales first, John Clarke second and Kemp third.
Three kilometers later as they the Batman Bride which joins the West Tamar to the eastern side of the river, the leaders had drawn their advantage out to 3min 55sec.
Km 74 Hillwood KOM: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Sullivan.
The efforts of the breakaway were starting to take their toll on John Clarke who did not contest any of the sprints on the run into George Town.
Km 84 Bell Bay Power Station Sprint: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Sullivan.
Km 85 George Town Golf Club Sprint: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Tighello
Km 92 KOM: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Sullivan
On the approach to the Volunteer Hill, John Clarke called it a day and was soon caught and passed by the main bunch, who were hovering around 3min 40sec.
Clarke retired from the race as his former breakaway companions crested the Volunteer with Tighello continuing to motivate the group with words of encouragement.
Km 98 Volunteer Hill KOM: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Tighello.
As the roads opened up for the first time since Legana, the chasing group was more inclined to ride and the lead slowly started to come down. A number of riders tried their hand at breaking away, but there were enough members of the bunch happy to see the break stay away.
The action behind saw the time gap come back to 3 minutes in the 8km since the KOM and a further 20 seconds over the next 20km.
Km 117 KOM: 1. Morales, 2. Sullivan, 3. Kemp. (Lead 2min 40sec)
Km 122 KOM: 1. Morales, 2. Kemp, 3. Gatto (Lead 1min 55sec)
As the lead group made the turn South at Mount Direction, they made showed the first signs of wanting to race each other. With the gap down to 1min 25sec, the remaining 30 riders in the bunch were still in with a chance over the tough 20km to the finish.
At the second last prime of the day, Tighello had recognised the need to leave the tired members of the group behind, and was first across the line at Km 132, with Sullivan second and Gatto third.
Nathan Clarke and Kemp were tailed off on the climb out of Mount Direction but fought back, only to be dropped on the next small climb.
Tighello had ridden a smart race to date and began using the small rises to launch attacks. Of the remaining five riders, only Sullivan was strong enough to follow each time and it looked like the local advantage was playing into his favour.
The last sprint of the day went to Morales, who had sealed his overall victory in that competition with a dominating ride in the breakaway, with Sullivan second and Gatto third.
On the last climb of the day at 2km to go, Tighello made another strong move and only Sullivan was able to follow, but this time the two went on with it and moved clear of the remaining three riders.
Sullivan may have had the local advantage, but Tighello had ten years of racing experience over the young Tasmanian and was able to put himself in second position, forcing Sullivan to lead out the sprint.
In the end, Tighello had enough time to sit up and salute the crowd, beating Sullivan by a good length.
Shortly after, Libonatti rolled across the line ahead of Morales, making it an excellent day out for the riders from Urguay. Gatto finished fifth, just ahead of the first riders from the chasing group, Shaun Higgerson (NSW), Matt Goold (Vic) and Richard Moffatt (NSW).
All eyes were then focused on the arrival of series leader Robert McLachlan, who finished just behind breakaway rider David Kemp, to finish in 10th place.
The 90 degree turn into the finish straight managed to catch out the main bunch with Luke Weir and Brett Aitken amongst those that hit the deck. It was reported by SCN-TV news that Aitken not only ended up in hospital, but wrote off his bike as well.
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Robert Tighello 2 Ryan Sullivan 3 Jorge Libonatti 4 Hector Morales 5 Dominic Gatto 6 Shaun Higgerson 7 Matthew Goold 8 Richard Moffatt 9 David Kemp 10 Robert McLachlan 11 Brad Norton 12 Simon Walker 13 Peter Milostic 14 Joel Pearson 15 Trent Stevenson 16 Tim Decker 17 George Vallins 18 Steven Williams 19 Colin Thornton 20 Gareth Atkins 21 David Hiley 22 Andrew Graham 23 Chris Carr 24 Robert Lyte 25 Nick Kiraly 26 Garry Parsons 27 Stephen Rosendall 28 Jason Andersch 29 Kharne Hammersley 30 Robert Boag 31 Daniel Brickell 32 Wes Sulzberger 33 Troy Glennan 34 Jason Bellchambers 35 Simon Price 36 Mark Hooper 37 Matthew Rice 38 Luke Weir 39 Brett Aitken 40 Nathan Clarke 41 Daniel Burtt 42 Justin Davis 43 Damien Harbison 44 Mitchell Vervaart 45 Chris Bradford 46 Tim Buchanan 47 Ed Knowles 48 Craig McCartney 49 Steven Sansonetti 50 Warren Nelson 51 Rhys Smith 52 Chris Fry 53 Shayne Kirby Overall standings 1 Robert McLachlan 82 pts 2 Robert Tighello 82 3 Domenic Gatto 76 4 Garry Parsons 61 5 Shaun Higgerson 60 6 Richard Moffatt 57 7 Peter Milostic 52 8 Luke Weir 51 9 Jorge Libonatti 47 10 Brett Aitken 44 11 Shayne Kirby 43 12 Trent Stevenson 43 13 Christopher Bradford 38 14 Matthew Goold 38 15 Colin Thornton 35 16 Ashley Baines 34 17 Tim Decker 33 18 Michael Tolhurst 33 19 Simon Walker 33 20 Robert Lyte 30 21 William Walker 27 22 Ryan Sullivan 24 23 Bradley Norton 24 24 Andrew Graham 23 25 Luke Bettany 22 26 Matthew Rex 21 27 Craig McCartney 20 28 Keiren Cameron 19 29 Robert Boag 18 30 Nick Kiraly 18 31 Tony Mann 18 32 Christopher Carr 17 33 Mark Heintz 17 34 David Kemp 17 35 Casey Munro 17 36 Samuel Rix 17 Sprint standings 1 Hector Morales 54 pts 2 Trent Stevenson 20 3 Robert Tighello 20 4 Robert McLachlan 17 5 Christopher Bradford 15 6 Jorge Libonatti 15 7 David Kemp 13 8 Luke Bettany 9 9 Troy Glennan 9 10 Tim Decker 8 11 Andrew Graham 8 12 Ryan Sullivan 7 13 Colin Thornton 6 14 Domenic Gatto 6 15 Ashley Baines 4 16 Jonathon Clarke 4 17 Richard Moffatt 4 18 Tim Buchanan 3 19 Christopher Fry 3 KOM Standings 1 Hector Morales 49 pts 2 Christopher Bradford 33 3 Craig Gordon 19 4 Jorge Libonatti 19 5 Tim Decker 17 6 Richard Moffatt 16 7 Robert Tighello 14 8 David Kemp 14 9 Kieren Cameron 12 10 Tony Mann 12 11 Luke Bettany 12 12 Domenic Gatto 11 13 Robert McLachlan 11 14 Troy Glennan 10 15 Ashley Baines 8 16 Ryan Sullivan 7 17 Steve Cunningham 6 18 Peter Milostic 6 19 William Walker 6 20 Brett Aitken 3 21 Gareth Atkins 3