There was a lot to celebrate at the close of the eight-stage Tour of the Great South Coast yesterday. So much so, it’s difficult to know where to start.
Firstly, after putting in a monster effort all week, InForm TM Insight MAKE won the tour in the teams’ classification. What’s more is, Jarrad Drizners once more leads the NRS overall and Raphael Freienstein not only finished second in the tour, but also holds third place in the NRS overall.
Jarrad Drizners and Luke Plapp also finished the tour in first and second in the young riders’ classification, and to top it off, InForm TM Insight MAKE continues to lead the NRS overall in the teams’ classification with just three tours remaining.
Here, DS Pat Lane takes us through each stage.
“It’s great to see how well the guys can adapt to different situations and race together as a team, they’re making my job very easy. It was awesome to extend our lead in the NRS teams’ classification and also get Jarrad back in the NRS individual lead. With three rounds remaining we now lead both.”
Stage 1 Mount Gambier Criterium
The tour kicked off with a short but tough crit, we laid low with a goal to pick up a few bonus seconds to keep us close to the GC. The boys all did well following dangerous moves and kept us in a good position.
Stage 2 Mount Gambier Road Race
Our plan was to pick up some time on the KOMs. This is often a dangerous stage for general classification moves and we knew the guys had to be very attentive. Plapp and Elliott did well to get into the winning break. Plapp sprinted to 2nd on the stage, with Elliott in 4th. Unfortunately, they almost got caught on the line by the peloton and didn’t pick up much time.
“South Coast was another phenomenal tour by the boys. The team really is going from strength to strength and this was our third consecutive NRS tour with a stage win. It’s great to see them working well together and they all love going away with each other.”
Stage 3 Port MacDonnell Road Race
This promised to be a tough day with a lot of cross winds. After a large crash early on, the racing kicked off on lap 2 of 5. It was good to see our guys all together at the crucial moment when they turned into the cross winds. We were well represented in all the echelons, but the stage came back together for a bunch sprint.
Stage 4 Naracoorte Criterium
With a lot of teams looking to save energy for the TTT we went out to try and get as many time bonuses as possible. Freienstein and Drizners did a good job of this early and Connor Leahy did some monster team work late in the crit to keep Freienstein away for a few laps.
Stage 5 Team Time Trial
This stage was our main priority all tour. Team Time Trials are always a fantastic event, and a real measure of the strongest team. It’s also an event that suits a lot of our riders, so the boys were super keen to get the win in this. We put together a good plan and the guys absolutely nailed it.
“The Team Time Trial was the stage we really wanted to win. Our track academy riders had a lot of banter with the ACA riders and you could see they were all super motivated for it. To take on the world champions in the Team Pursuit and beat them in a TTT is a real testament to the team, I don’t think many expected us to win. We executed the plan perfectly and everyone played their part. After the win the team was on such a high, I could tell they would race with a lot of confidence for the remainder of the tour. “
Stage 6 Casterton to Heywood Road Race
The Casterton to Haywood stage is always a tough one, this year they ran it in the opposite direction meaning we had some tough climbs early. As the group split up over the first KOM’s Raph & Jarrad cleaned up the time bonus’s on offer. Plapp then followed a strong attack from Vine & Field. As Plapp was the highest placed GC rider this put a lot of pressure on other teams to chase. Once the group came back together some riders who had lost time on the GC earlier in the week got away, this suited us as it took the final sprint away from ACA.
Stage 7 Cape Bridgewater Road Race
The queen stage of the tour, it was a tough day with lots of small climbs and cross wind. We knew this could suit us again to try and break the race up. Plapp did a great job again getting in the break away. As it was caught Freienstein got away in a group of eight with 20km remaining, claiming 2nd on the stage with a great final sprint.
Stage 8 Portland Criterium
After the previous day’s break away, Freienstein was equal 2nd with Sam Welsford on the general classification. This set up a very exciting final watching them battle it out in all 10 intermediates. Coming into the final sprint, Freienstein was 1 second behind Welsford, so it was incredible to see Freienstein get 2nd on the stage in front of Welsford, also overtaking him on the general classification.
“We went into the final criterium knowing we had another big battle ahead with ACA. Raph was equal time with Sam Welsford, a very classy bike rider. Heading into the final sprint Raph was down 1 second & Thanks to a good lead out from Jarrad Drizners he beat Sam on the line. They battled it out getting 21 & 20 seconds of bonus seconds during the 48km crit.”