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Tattersall's Cup Series Tour of Gippsland - NE
Australia, August 3-7, 2005
Stage 8 - August 6: Leongatha - Wilsons promontory, 101.3 km
McLachlan's revenge; McCauley nearly home
By Rod Morris in Wilson's Promontory
New Zealand rider Gordon McCauley has the rejuvenated Tattersall's Cup Tour of Gippsland in his hip pocket with just one stage remaining. McCauley, who is peeved that NZ cycling selectors have left him out of the National squad for next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, is riding in the Tour of Gippsland with a point to prove.
Although McCauley went winless in either of today's two stages, he will carry a 26 second lead into tomorrow's Traralgon Kermesse. That margin is double what it was prior to today's racing after McCauley concentrated on bonus points and time in the Koonwarra Criterium, which was won by Canberra schoolteacher Robert McLachlan.
The former Olympic road rider hit back in the best possible way after the disaster of Friday's broken chain which cost him all chance of overall victory in this tour. McLachlan snapped a chain 12 km into Stage 6 and the time lost - 18 minutes - forced him from second on GC, to out of contention altogether. But McLachlan showed his absolute class with a pair of stunning victories today. While he laid relatively low in the intermediate sprints, he came good in the final sprint, ousting improving Victorian Mitchell Docker and his closest criterium adversary, David McKenzie.
McCauley finished eighth in the Koonwarra Criterium, just outside the minimum sixth place which would have given him some extra bonus time, but he wasn't overly concerned. "I wasn't too concerned with winning the stage, but those intermediate sprint bonuses were handy for overall honours," McCauley said.
Whilst McCauley was plotting ways to defend the yellow jersey to the Traralgon finish line, McLachlan was ruing lost opportunities and hell bent on revenge. "What happened on Friday could happen to anyone in bike racing, so I just have to cop it sweet," he said. "Winning the criterium stages doesn't really make up for the broken chain, nor does it give me any better chance of winning the tour, but it sure feels good to win," he said.
McCauley's revengeful - and winning - ways continued into the afternoon, when he won the Leongatha to Wilson's Promontory penultimate stage. A tough 101.3 km stage, which included two hill climbs (both Category 3) soon had riders spread across many kilometres.
A breakaway group of 14 riders established an advantage of more than a minute, but the only top 10 GC rider was Peter McDonald of NSW. McCauley and leading Victorian Robert Tighello were in the second bunch, chasing down the minute but as the race went longer it became obvious the break group were going to hold on. McLachlan and Tasmanian Matthew Rice made a further break from the leaders not long after the last hill climb, but 6 km from the finish and crossed the line in that order.
Former World Team Pursuit champion Peter Dawson, the only WA rider in the tour, claimed third place just ahead of Tasmanian star Bernard Sulzberger, while McDonald claimed the all-important sixth spot (the last bonus position) and coupled with bonuses on the road, jumped into fourth place overall, at 53 seconds behinds McCauley. It's unlikely McDonald can reel in the New Zealander, but with nine intermediate sprints and a tough 57 km Kermesse remaining, anything is possible.
McCauley will also be defending his Sprint Championship lead in the final stage, while Robert Tighello will be officially crowned the 2005 King of the Mountain Champion later tomorrow.
The new look Tattersall's Cup, which also includes five day stage races such as the Tour of Tasmania and Tour of the Murray River, sees Robert McLachlan on 55 points and well in front of Bernard Sulzberger on 26.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Robert McLachlan (ACT) 2.16.11 2 Matthew Rice (Tas) 0.04 3 Peter Dawson (WA) 0.21 4 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 5 Matthew Gilbert (NZl) 6 Peter McDonald (NSW) 7 Scott Peoples (Vic) 8 Will Dickeson (SA) 9 Jason Hegert (Vic) 10 Peter Milostic (NSW) General classification after stage 8 1 Gordon McCauley (NZl) 1.05.55 2 Robert Tighello (Vic) 0.26 3 Michael Tolhurst (ACT) 0.35 4 Peter McDonald (NSW) 0.53 5 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 0.56 6 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 1.05 7 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas) 1.06 8 Mitchell Docker (Vic) 1.10 9 Darren Lapthorne (Vic) 1.28 10 Richard Moffatt (NSW) 1.29 Tattersall's Cup series points 1 Robert McLachlan (ACT) 55 pts 2 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 26 3 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 24 4 Gordon McCauley (NZl) 24 5 David McKenzie (Vic) 24 6 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas) 23 7 Robert Tighello (Vic) 22 8 Mitchell Docker (Vic) 22