Posted by Editoress on 02/8/03
Trust House Tour: Stage 4
Courtesy Kieran Turner - www.cyclingnz.com
A break of six went away early on today's tortuously hilly circuit. In stark contrast to yesterday's dead flat circuit, today's race profile looked like a steak knife with a few extra large teeth. Matt Yates was in an aggressive mood (just ask Andrew Pinfold) and went on the attack early. By the feed station at 80km he was away in a break of three riders with three other's chasing just 20 seconds back followed by another small group before the whittled down bunch.
From the feed station the race only got hillier with the first KOM at 100km being in the words of the locals "an absolute mongrel of a climb". And it was. 1.8km of straight vertical road where most riders bemoaned not having a 25 on.
Up front Yates, Robin Reid, Anthony Chapman, Scott Allen, Alastair Duncan, Matt Sunde & Stephen Collins were setting the pace. The climb to the finish had been shortened to 7km instead of the planned 10km. It was still testing enough. At the bottom Reid was the only rider in touch with Yates while the rest were 2:30 adrift. Yates need another minute to put on the yellow jersey ahead of Burndred or Gudsell.
Driven by this though Yates drove on like a man possessed leaving Reid behind. He crossed the line pumping one finger in the air, clearly happy to have proven to all those that have chased him this week that he is the strongest rider in the field. For the second day one of the Reid riders took second place in the stage. All eyes were on the clock as Burndred, Gudsell and Moore made their way up to the finish.
They were too late. 3:40 was the gap and Yates was in Yellow. With Gudsell and Burndred still within striking distance with two stages to go tomorrow. The jersey though has proven to be cursed with first Troy Klink puncturing and today Andrew Pinfold crashing after just 7km. He remounted and rejoined the main field but the injuries and yesterday's hard yards took their toll.
The Southend Cycles Women team demonstrated that they have a future in this race. They were not the last riders in and while they may not have been the first riders in they were well placed and certainly as a team will have done well today.
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