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Scody Cup Tour of Tasmania - NE
Australia, September 30-October 5, 2008
Stage 6 - October 3: Central Coast Day, 36km
Clarke open's day's account for Praties
By Rod Morris in Penguin
Nathan Clarke of Team Praties set the ball rolling for Praties when he won the Tour of Tasmania's morning criterium in Ulverstone, a race that was marred by falls, hampered by wind and rain and reduced by five kilometres because of the accident delays. It was Clarke's second win of this week and his fifth in Scody Cup history.
How it unfolded
A dramatic action-packed sixth stage around the streets of Ulverstone, had a little bit of everything, including a mass fall that caused a stoppage to the race. On the fourth lap of a scheduled 30, Matt King (South Australia/AIS), Tony Chandler (Hart/Ridewiser) and Patrick Shaw (VIS/Jayco), all came to grief on corner three, causing absolute mayhem for those behind them.
The race was stopped for just over seven minutes while the carnage was cleared from the tarmac. At the time, Jack Bobridge (SASI), Bernard Sulzberger (Virgin Blue), Leigh Howard (VIS/Jayco), Chris Jongewaard (SASI) and tour leader Kristian House (Budget Forklifts) had established a small break over the peloton.
Race commissaries decreed that in fairness to all riders, the race would be re-started with a reduced distance over 25 laps (30 kilometres).
With indifferent weather affecting the race for the remainder of the stage, riders still had to be on their mettle. House quickly settled back into his rhythm, while many others treated their opponents and the wet surface track with extreme caution.
New South Welshman Richard England (Burnie Johnson Design/GHD) won the corresponding stage last year and was riding as though he meant business in a defence of his crown, while challengers came thick and fast from a variety of riders, including Adam Semple (South Australia/AIS), Ben Grenda (Discover Tasmania.com/TIS), Peter Herzig *Panasonic), Darren Rolfe (Virgin Blue) and popular Tasmanian Nathan Clarke (Praties).
Herzig, Rolfe, Clarke and Joel Pearson (Savings & Loans) were able to form a pack that got away from the peloton, but their move only last 11 laps before the bunch stepped up the tempo and reeled them back in. With House trying hard to protect his tour lead and watching everything about him, Clarke emerged as the man most likely to snatch the stage victory – which he did.
Like a runaway steam train down the outside, Clarke came over the top of Richard England, denying the NSW rider victory in a second successive Ulverstone criterium, while South Australian mountain biker Chris Jongewaard fought hard for third, with Sulzberger fourth and Leigh Howard taking fifth.
Late in the race – on lap 21 and on the same corner as before – another fall occurred. South Australian Andrew Roe hit the tarmac hard – face first. Suffering plenty of facial damage, but no broken bones, Roe was transferred to a nearby hospital for medical treatment, although race officials were doubtful whether he would be able to resume his place in the field in the afternoon road race from Ulverstone to Penguin.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com