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Tattersall's Cup Series Tour of Gippsland - NE
Australia, August 3-7, 2005
Stage 6 - August 5: Morwell - Yinnar, 55.2 km
Mechanical wipes out McLachlan; McCauley still in control
McKenzie & Herzig take stage wins on third day
From Rod Morris in Yinnar
The hopes of 1992 Olympian Robert McLachlan had of winning the new look Tattersall's Cup Tour of Gippsland were thrown into disarray today when a broken chain cost him 18 minutes, effectively ending any chance at all.
McLachland, who represented Australia at the Barcelona Olympics started the fifth stage - the 30 km Morwell Criterium - in fourth place, but a strong ride in which he finished second to David McKenzie, elevated him to second and his ambitions were high.
But just 12 km into the afternoon stage, a 55.2 km climb from Morwell to nearby Yinnar, McLachlan broke the chain on his bike and he lost 17.59 minutes on the leaders.
"That's racing, but its also very disappointing, there wasn't much I could do about it," a philosphical McLachlan said.
"I did have a slow mechanical change and then there was the immediate climb up the hill on my own and trying to chase down the bunch, in the end it was hardly worth the effort."
The tour lead remains in the hands of New Zealand rider Gordon McCauley, who will enter day four with a 13 second advantage over Victorian Robert Tighello and a further 7-seconds to Canberra's Michael Tolhurst, who has been the real surprise packet of the tour.
Whilst McKenzie and McLachlan had been impressive in scoring the quinella in the morning stage, it was the relatively unknown Peter Herzig from Queensland, who upstaged his better credentialled rivals to win the afternoon race, the sixth of nine stages in this tour.
Herzig (27) hails from Brisbane and is no slouch on the bike, currently holding the individual and teams road time trial championships in his home state.
"This far outweighs anything I have won before," Herzig said.
"I didn't really know what to expect in this tour, but its a pretty good field and to win a stage makes me happy, don't worry about that."
Herzig was part of a solid group of six riders who hit out from the main bunch at around 20 km remaining in the stage and with the hills behind them and a flat finish in front, they put the hammer down, eventually crossing the line 32-seconds ahead of the peloton.
Herzig won by a metre from top South Australian Mathew Rex and Tasmanian teenager Wesley Sulzberger, who scored his second successive third placing for the day.
The opening stage was a hot affair with plenty of bonus points and time on offer.
McCauley let his intentions be known early and for most of the race stayed towards the front where there was little danger.
In fact McCauley increased his overall lead with his commitment to the intermediate sprints, although McKenzie and McCauley kept him honest throughout.
McKenzie, a criterium specialist, had hardly fired a shot in the early stages of the tour, but showed his class in stage five.
"I only returned from the Tour of China last Tuesday and I didn't have very good form there and I certainly wasn't going to find it on a 15 hour flight, so to win this one is a bit of a bonus," he said.
"This tour is probably a bit more about me trying to find my legs, but by the time we get to Tassie for the Tour of Tasmania, I should be a bit better."
Tolhurst was the only big gun on general classification to make any serious charge in the afternoon stage, with Herzig, Rex, Sulzberger and fellow breakaway riders, Darren Lapthorne and Luke Bettany filling the first six places.
McCauley was in the bunch at 32 seconds behind, but still holds 13 seconds over Tighello, who is carrying the hopes of Victoria with three stages of the tour remaining.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Peter Herzig (Qld) 1.22.32 2 Matthew Rex (SA) 3 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas) 4 Darren Lapthorne (Vic) 5 Michael Tolhurst (ACT) 6 Luke Bettany (SA) 7 Bradley Norton (Vic) 0.32 8 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 9 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 10 Cameron Wise (Vic) General classification after stage 6 1 Gordon McCauley (NZ) 8.20.33 2 Robert Tighello (Vic) 0.13 3 Michael Tolhurst (ACT) 0.20 4 Sam Brown (Vic) 0.57 5 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 0.58