McCauley claims crit before sixth stage cancelled
Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) retains the yellow jersey after what was a somewhat anticlimactic third day in the Budget Forklifts Tour of the Great South Coast, the fifth event in the Subaru National Road Series.
New Zealander Gordon McCauley took out stage five’s criterium for Drapac in treacherous weather conditions over Luke Davison (Budget Forklifts), second and Jordan Kerby (Jayco/Appollo/VIS), third.
Soon after it was announced that stage six’s road race from Port Fairy to Hawksdale had been cancelled after police declared the roads unsafe for the race to go ahead.
Tour director John Craven and chief commissaire Matthew Wright met with Victoria Police after the 40km Port Fairy criterium.
"We were advised that the Victoria Police were revoking their permit to conduct this afternoon's stage.”
"Police explained they felt it was unsafe for their members to work on the event and that they were also concerned for the safety of motorists and the public.
"While the tour so far has been a resounding success, it's unfortunate that we have struck such horrendous conditions,” Craven said.
McCauley successfully helped Lapthorne retain his general classification lead after a solid win in the morning's criterium in Moyne Shire, something the 29-year-old admits he didn’t see coming.
“I wasn’t expecting to hold the yellow jersey by the end of the criterium this morning so I was quite surprised but it feels great … my positioning for the final sprint was quite good thanks to my teammates help so it worked out in our favour and with Gordon McCauley winning the stage, I think we couldn’t of asked for a better day,” Lapthorne said.
Lapthorne said his aim was still to take out the tour with a strong ride in the final stage on Sunday in Camperdown, but added the team were disappointed not have had an opportunity to further their lead on GC in this afternoons road race.
“We were actually quite looking forward to this afternoon’s stage, even in these conditions because we don’t get too many opportunities to race the road stages on this tour and with the win from Gordon this morning I think we’re all in a really good mood and we all looking forward to it.
"In saying that it was probably the right decision [to cancel the stage], the conditions are pretty horrendous out there,” the former National Road Champion said.
With main GC contender William Walker (Drapac) retiring on stage two of the tour, it was guest rider, 40-year-old Gordon McCauley who shouldered the job of protecting Lapthorne’s lead.
In wet and blustery conditions, McCauley broke away with youngster Jordan Kerby with five laps remaining before the peloton made finally reeled the breakaway parir in on the home straight.
Budget Forklifts rider Luke Davison bridged the gap just in time for a jostle to the line, but didn’t have the legs to pip the kiwi on the line.
“I knew he [Davison] must have put in a massive effort to get across and so I just made sure I grabbed his wheel and it will probably be the first and only time I ever beat that guy in a sprint,” McCauley joked.
McCauley admitted he had “basically begged” Drapac to take him on in a guest ride for the tour, and said he was pleased to have fulfilled his role within the team.
“My role was really just to attack the race, to try and take the time bonus’… I can’t thank the guys from Drapac enough for giving me a guest ride here so it’s nice to be able to pay them back for taking me on for the week,” he said.
McCauley also picked up the Tifosi Eyewear most aggressive jersey.
Genesys Wealth Advisers’ Brenton Jones kept the Campolina Criterium jersey while the Shimano Sprint leader is Search2Retain’s Neil Van Der Ploeg.
Lapthorne has a 13-second lead in the general classification ahead of Genesys rider Anthony Giacoppo, second and 14 seconds over Neil Van Der Ploeg (Search2Retain).
Day four of the tour kicks off with a criterium around the streets of Koroit before a 125km road race from Koroit to Peterborough.