Posted by Editoress on 10/13/11
Stage 1: Pollock pulls ride of life for victory
Drapac Cycling’s Rhys Pollock produced the ride of his life to win stage one of the 2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour but it will take something more exceptional for any rider outside today’s top ten to win the event overall come the finish in Lygon Street on Sunday.
Pollock was part of a 15-man break that slipped away from the peloton before today’s stage from Whittlesea to Ballarat had reached the 10 kilometre mark.
Eventually the group splintered providing firstly Jack Bobridge (Garmin Cervelo) and then Pollock with solo opportunities to ride away with the stage.
National road champion, Bobridge made several attempts to make a break, initially with Pollock and then alone - at one stage, with about 30km to go, having a gap of 200 metres over his nearest five pursuers.
But with 25km left to ride, the six – Bobridge and Pollock, along with Jonas Jorgen (SaxoBank Sungard), Nathan Haas (Genesys Wealth Advisers), Jens de Busschere (Omega Pharma Lotto) and Reinardt van Rensburg (MTN Qhubeka) had re-grouped, and with a sufficient gap of over a minute to the next group of four looked to have the stage between them.
Then, in a surprise to many, with all but six of the 174.6km stage ridden, Pollock made his decisive move. It was the last of a series of smart calls for the 31-year-old who had backed off after his period away with Bobridge because he felt he didn’t quite have the legs after the last climb and believed, as it turned out - correctly, that their immediate pursuers would get to them both in any case.
“I was sort of suffering on the hill and saw the other guys and waited for them after the climb. When you don’t have the legs, there is not much point in pushing,” Pollock said after his stage win and before donning the Jayco Yellow Leader’s jersey.
Pollock ticked off one of his cycling “bucket list” items last year when he won the iconic one day race - the Melbourne to Warrnambool. Today, he fulfilled another dream.
“I am genuinely delighted. It’s just special,” Pollock said.
“The win surprised me given the calibre of riders. I just came here to help the younger guys. But when you are in a situation like that and your team is relying on you – the only one out there – you have to give it everything.
“I was trying not to do too much work. But once they started attacking, I just made sure I was in the front when all the moves came.
“I knew if it came to a sprint finish I would be third or fourth, so I knew I had to do something different,” Pollock said.
Whilst cycling is not the only thing on Pollock’s mind at the moment, it obviously became the priority today.
“This is my seventh Sun Tour, and I was thinking seven is a lot to not actually get a result on. I haven’t even finished on the podium before. So to get the yellow jersey and to win a stage, well - I’m getting married in three weeks time - this is for Dana my fiancé for sure,” Pollock said.
Bobridge eventually missed today’s podium, as Jorgsensen and Haas filled the stage’s minor placings, but was adjudged the winner of the Cycle in Greater Shepparton Orange Jersey for the day’s most aggressive rider.
At day’s end it is hard to imagine that any rider outside the top ten today, has any chance of winning the 2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
After Joe Lewis (Australian National Team), Koen de Kort (Skil Shimano), Tim Gudsell (PureBlack Racing) and Bernie Sulzberger (V Australia), the gap to the next group of five riders is around eight minutes, whilst the rest of the field is at 10:24.
Bobridge is now in the right position overall and has the talent to take the victory on Sunday. If he does so, it would complete a remarkable seven day turnaround from having the dubious honour of carrying the lantern rouge as the last rider on general classification after stage four of last week’s Tour of Beijing.
To do so, his Garmin-Cervelo team mates will have to control any attacks on the open road stages over the next two days before Bobridge displays the climbing skills on Arthurs Seat he will require for a lead big enough to defend on Sunday’s street circuit stage in Carlton.
But Saxobank’s team director, Brad McGee predicted two weeks ago that Jorgensen would be the rider to beat. He has abilities as a climber, and although his team is a man down after losing Richie Porte today, they too have the strength and experience to protect his position and launch him towards victory.
Not that Pollock plans to give up the yellow jersey easily.
“For our Drapac team, this is the number one race for us. We came down here and rode the course, we knew what we were up for and this is definitely the result we wanted to get. So early in the Tour, it takes a bit of pressure off our other guys and the guys will be out in force in the next couple of days,” Pollock said.
Today’s stage saw five riders withdraw en route, the highest profile casualty being Porte. The Tasmanian, whose form had been good enough to take him to sixth place in the World Championships individual time trial at the end of September, put it down to failure to recover from nasal surgery in England last week.
In the contests for the Honda Green Sprinters Jersey and the Budget Forklifts Polka Dot King of the Mountains Jersey, Haas and Pollock have taken the early leads.
Haas won today’s intermediate sprints in Riddells Creek and Creswick and with the six points for third at the finish accumulated a total of 18, to lead by four over Pollock. A former mountain biker and the man who leads the National Series in 2011 in his first full season, Haas is also currently in possession of the State Government Victoria White Jersey for the leading under-23 rider.
Pollock has multiple jerseys as well - courtesy of an agreement with Bobridge as they approached the second climb’s summit and the 12 points that were on offer there for the first man over.
Stage 2: ‘Out of Africa’ for the first time
A 22-year-old from Pretoria with aspirations to become a WorldTour rider, upstaged his more experienced rivals to win stage two of the 2011 Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Geelong today.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, riding for the South African MTN Qhubeka Team, was able to out-fox former Tour winner Baden Cooke (SaxoBank Sungard) and the dominant rider of the Australian domestic season Steele Von Hoff (Genesys Wealth Advisors) in the sharp uphill dash to the finish that confronted the bunch with 700 metres to go.
“The finish was perfect for me. My teammates put me in the right position with 500 metres to go. This is my first win out of Africa, so I’m very happy,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“After the second KOM I knew it was going to be a bunch sprint. But the last few kays were quite steep which suited me. My teammates took me from 40th to 10th - it was perfect. The past couple of weeks we’ve been riding so well together, 100 percent commitment.
“It is a great result for us. We are a continental team wanting to go ProContinental next year and then hopefully going together into the big leagues.”
It was the second day of impressive riding from the South African under 23 time trial champion who was also with the final breakaway on yesterday’s stage from Whittlesea to Ballarat - eventually finishing sixth. He is the only rider to have made the top ten on both days of this year’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour despite not feeling 100 percent in the opener.
“Yesterday I was a bit jet-lagged. But I was feeling super today,” Janse van Rensburg said.
And whilst acknowledging that the international level riders were at the end of their racing year, he was very happy to have achieved the victory.
“It is the end of the season for the European based riders so they are probably not going so well, but they are world class athletes,” he said.
He did not dismiss his chances of doing even better as the Tour progresses.
“I’m feeling strong on the climbs. I’m not a climber, I’m actually a sprinter but if I can stay with them on the climbs I might have a chance,” the 17th place finisher from the under-23 road race at September’s world championships in Copenhagen said.
In the meantime Rhys Pollock retains the Jayco Herald Sun Tour lead despite today losing contact on a couple of occasions with the main bunch. He praised the work of his Drapac Cycling team mates for keeping him in the Jayco Yellow Leaders Jersey whilst again playing down any chance of them retaining it until Sunday’s finish.
“This is a bit of a surprise. Our intention wasn’t to keep the lead. We had a few teams trying to intimidate us into doing the work but we stuck to our guns,” Pollock said.
“Darren (Lapthorne) and Adam (Phelan) stayed with me and brought me back when I dropped back, although we never got behind by more than 200 metres. And Stuart Shaw was doing a great job up the front.
“When we got to the last 50km, we decided to have a go to keep the jersey,” Pollock said.
“I am not really sure that we can keep it though – we will see how we go. I have got some fantastic team mates who have shown today they can stay with me and bring me back.
“We will see what happens. It is just great for the team. Our team director will be sitting in the car sticking his chest out, I am sure.”
It would not have been an easy task for Pollock and his team, especially when the peloton had to lift the pace over the final half of the stage to reel in the big six minute lead that had been established by Chris Jongewaard (Budget Forklifts) and Kiwi Tim Gudsell (PureBlack Racing).
Jongewaard and Gudsell were brave but there was little reward on the general classification front, as a successful chase was always inevitable given that New Zealander was in the first day’s break and was sitting in ninth place overall, just 2:53 behind the lead and nearly eight minutes in front of most of the field.
Pollock’s overall lead remains as it was after day one - still 15 seconds to Nathan Haas (Genesys) and a further three to Saxobank’s Jonas Jorgensen. Janse Van Rensburg was the day’s improver, moving into fourth at 22 seconds.
There was some joy though for Jongewaard as he collected both the Cycle in Greater Shepparton Orange Jersey for the most aggressive rider on the stage and the Budget Forklifts Polka Dot King of the Mountains Jersey after taking over the lead in that classification as a result of his victory in the main climb of the day on the Perdisat Road between Maude and Lethbridge.
The day’s earlier climb, a short dash up Mount Buninyong just 5km after the spectacular start of the 140.6km stage in Sovereign Hill, produced an impressive 1-2-3 from some of Australia’s finest with Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma Lotto) taking it from Luke Roberts (SaxoBank Sungard) and Cameron Wurf (Mitchelton Australian National Team).
Jongewaard is not the only rider in possession of two jerseys after day two with Haas - perhaps the surprise packet of the race, still sporting both the Honda Green Sprinters Jersey and the State Government Victoria White Jersey for the leading under-23 rider.
“I definitely came here with the goal of trying to win the white jersey. Now it’s an achievable goal,” Haas said whilst acknowledging the dilemma created by having the second jersey.
“Now we can see this opportunity for later in the week, I have to save my legs for Arthurs Seat (on Saturday) and so I didn’t go for the sprints today. For the first one there were a few really going for it.”
That sprint, near Mount Egerton was won by Lapthorne from PureBlack’s James Williamson during their brief attempted escape from the bunch. The hotly contested third place points and time bonus that Haas was referring to went to Omega Pharma Lotto’s Jens Debrusschere.
Debrusschere also took third in the day’s second intermediate sprint at Meredith at the peak of the Jongewaard-Gudsell 75km breakaway.
Despite the pace at which the stage was ridden – the 140.6km being covered in 3hrs 24:34 at an average speed of over 40kph, all 98 riders who started the stage made it to the finish.
Reports courtesy Jayco Herald Sun Tour
|Stage 1 (October 12th) : Whittlesea to Ballarat, 174km|
|1 Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||4:09:23|
|2 Jonas Aen Jorgensen (Den) Saxo Bank-SunGard||at 0:13|
|3 Nathan Haas (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers|
|4 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo|
|5 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto||all s.t.|
|6 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (SAf) MTN - Qhubeka||0:20|
|7 Joseph Lewis (Aus) Australian National Team||2:38|
|8 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano||2:39|
|9 Tim Gudsell (NZl) Pure Black Racing||2:41|
|10 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) V Australia||s.t.|
|11 Malcolm Rudolph (Aus) Jayco - AIS||7:57|
|12 Patrick Shaw (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers||8:00|
|13 Nic Hamilton (Can) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda|
|14 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano|
|15 Jonathon Clarke (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||all s.t.|
|16 Kasper Larsen Klostergaard (Den) Saxo Bank-SunGard||10:24|
|17 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto|
|18 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto|
|19 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team|
|20 Benjamin Hill (Aus) Australian National Team||all s.t.|
|Stage 2: Ballarat to Geelong, 140.6km|
|1 Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka||3:24:34|
|2 Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank-SunGard|
|3 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers|
|4 Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|5 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) V Australia|
|6 Alexander Serov (Rus) Russian National Team|
|7 Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto|
|8 Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha Team|
|9 Alexey Markov (Rus) Russian National Team|
|10 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha Team|
|11 Nathan Haas (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers|
|12 Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|13 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto|
|14 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano|
|15 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano|
|16 Jonas Aen Jorgensen (Den) Saxo Bank-SunGard|
|17 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo|
|18 Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|19 Peter Herzig (Aus) Budget Forklifts|
|20 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo|
|76 Nic Hamilton (Can) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda||0:44|
|1 Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||7:33:45|
|2 Nathan Haas (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers||at 0:15|
|3 Jonas Aen Jorgensen (Den) Saxo Bank-SunGard||0:18|
|4 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka||0:22|
|5 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto||0:23|
|6 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo||s.t.|
|7 Joseph Lewis (Aus) Australian National Team||2:50|
|8 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano||2:51|
|9 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) V Australia||2:53|
|10 Tim Gudsell (NZl) Pure Black Racing||3:07|
|11 Patrick Shaw (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers||8:36|
|12 Malcolm Rudolph (Aus) Jayco - AIS||8:37|
|13 Jonathon Clarke (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||8:56|
|14 Nic Hamilton (Can) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda||s.t.|
|15 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano||9:05|
|16 Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank-SunGard||10:30|
|17 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Genesys Wealth Advisers||10:32|
|18 James Williamson (NZl) Pure Black Racing||10:34|
|19 Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto||10:36|
|20 Aaron Kemps (Aus) V Australia||s.t.|
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