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Tattersall's Cup Series Tour of Gippsland - NE
Australia, August 3-7, 2005
Stage 9 - August 7: Traralgon, 45 km
Round 1 to McCauley, whiles McLachlan takes four
By Rod Morris in Traralgon
New Zealand Commonwealth Games aspirant Gordon McCauley rode conservatively to ensure victory in the opening round of the 2005 Tattersall's Cup - the new look Tour of Gippsland, which finished in Traralgon today.
McCauley, who has been surprisingly overlooked by NZ national selectors for next year's Melbourne Commonwealth Games, is in Australia with a point to prove and victory in a prestigious event such as the Tour of Gippsland will do him no harm at all.
The final race of the tour, a 45 km kermesse at Traralgon was won by Canberra school teacher Robert McLachlan - his fourth stage victory for the week. But despite McLachlan's strong performances in the tour, he could still only finish 33rd overall, 15.43 minutes behind McCauley, but that itself is another story.
McLachlan had a horror afternoon stage on Friday when he broke his chain 12km into the race and lost 18 minutes. With a strong will and even stronger determination, McLachlan recovered to win the final three stages of the tour and yesterday, improved his rating from 47th to 33rd after winning the stage by 40 seconds and along the way picked up a further 16 seconds in sprint bonuses.
"It was nice to finish the tour with some stage wins, but at the start of the week, I was eyeing off overall victory," he said. "But that sixth stage cost me big time. I suppose because I was down so much on GC, I wasn't considered a big threat to the leaders and that probably made it a bit easier for me to win the last few stages, but I'm not complaining."
McLachlan and Sydney based riders Dean Windsor and Peter Milostic formed a small group at the halfway mark of the Traralgon Kermesse and were never headed by the peloton, which was being led by tour leader McCauley and his New Zealand teammates Casey Munro, Matthew Gilbert and Matt Haydock. At one point, the gap was just under a minute with McLachlan, Windsor and Milostic riding strongly and looking to improve even further.
By race end, the margin was 40 seconds and all three jumped up markedly well in general classification. McLachlan improved 14 positions, Milostic leapfrogged eight positions, from 11th to outright third and Windsor, leapt from 14th to 8th. "Everyone of those positions means more prizemoney," McLachlan said.
The big loser of the day was Canberra's Michael Tolhurst, losing his third position to Milostic, who was also judged the most aggressive rider for the day and for the tour. "I found some legs in this tour and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series in Tasmania and back in Victoria," Milostic said.
Windsor from Bathurst, was impressive in his third placing and was excited about sharing a stage placing with McLachlan and Milostic. "They are both great riders and I'd been looking to get into a breakaway group all week," he said. "I race in the same club as Mark Renshaw and he's been an inspiration for me. "I am really thrilled to finish this tour with a good placing and am looking forward to the next tour."
McLachlan added to his sound week by also winning the Criterium Championship, whilst McCauley was also a dual title winner, claiming the Sprint Championship. Robert Tighello carried the flag for the host State - Victoria - by finishing second overall and winning the King of the Mountain Championship.
The Tattersall's Cup series will continue with the Jayco Tour of Tasmania from August 17-21 and the Tour of the Murray River from August 31-September 4. The leading 10 riders in the Tattersall's Cup - based on a complex points system - will earn automatic entry, including air fares and accommodation to the third annual Tour of Queensland from October 27 to November 3.
McLachlan earned 68 points for the week and leads McCauley on 57, with Tasmanian Bernard Sulzberger in third place on 56. Tighello is fourth on 53 and Stage 2 winner Stuart Shaw (ACT), fifth on 52. Sulzberger and his younger brother Wesley, performed exceptionally well for the week, finishing fifth and ninth respectively in the tour and are expected to fare even better in the Tour of Tasmania, where they will be racing on home soil.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Robert McLachlan (ACT) 1.09.49 2 Peter Milostic (NSW) 0.02 3 Dean Windsor (NSW) 0.13 4 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 0.40 5 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas) 6 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 7 Johnny Walker (Vic) 8 Christopher Jenkins (NSW) 9 Jason Hegert (Vic) 10 Peter Herzig (Qld) Final general classification 1 Gordon McCauley (NZ) 12.16.24 2 Robert Tighello (Vic) 0.21 3 Peter Milostic (NSW) 0.33 4 Michael Tolhurst (ACT) 0.35 5 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 0.51 6 Peter McDonald (NSW) 0.53 7 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 0.58 8 Dean Windsor (NSW) 1.02 9 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas) 1.04 10 Mitchell Docker (Vic) 1.06 Sprint championship Gordon McCauley (NZ) King of the mountain championship Robert Tighello (Vic) Subaru most aggressive rider Peter Milostic (NSW) Criterium championship Robert McLachlan (ACT) Tattersall's Cup series (after Tour of Gippsland) 1 Robert McLachlan (ACT) 68 pts 2 Gordon McCauley (NZ) 57 3 Bernard Sulzberger (Tas) 56 4 Robert Tighello (Vic) 53 5 Stuart Shaw (ACT) 52 6 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas), Michael Tolhurst (ACT) 46 7 Peter Milostic (NSW) 43 8 Mitchell Docker (Vic) 37 9 Peter McDonald (NSW), Dean Windsor (NSW) 35 10 David McKenzie (Vic) 31