The following days we have spend trying to break up the race at any opportuntity but like always once a GC like that is formed its not an easy task, and coupled with that the two domestic teams, genesyis and drapac having guys occupying 1st and 2nd since stage 1 did a great job of controling any dangerous attacks or splits we tried to instigate so huge credit to them. Also with the course being well suited to this time of the year, i.e somthing for everyone to enjoy and Short stages also prevent too much going wild in the bunch and for the following couple of days it finished in bunch sprint.
Yesterday marked the only real mountainess off sorts difficult stage and as we had planned to set up matt lloyd this week for the win in the tour and on the stage with the steep slopes suiting his little rock spider frame, we obviously had lost anychance of the overall victory but a win on the day became our main focus for the week. The plan was to make it as hard as possible on the run into the climb we would do twice in the final 15km and set a high tempo for him to launch from on the final climb to line. All went perfect as we along with saxobank, garmin and lotto got the bunch going nice and quick on the run into the climb, i then took to the front to set a good but steady tempo up the climb. We needed to not only set the race up for matt and race a pace preventing attacks but also keep it smooth so our man joe lewis whom was still 7th on GC would remain with the front group and try and give him a chance to move up a spot or two. So onto the climb we went and i started the pace making but wez was feeling full of beans and decided to take up the pace making and really go for it. He set a furiouis pace so i sat on his wheel and take a bit of a break. Realising that it was such a hard tempo i looked back to see where joe was and saw him floundering on the back so with wez going strong and lloydy looking good i dropped back to look after joe. Sure enough when wez peeled off joe was also dropped and knowing the horrible feeling of suffering like that when you are defending a GC spot like happened to me in the tour of turkey i knew i needed to just stay with him, let hime recover a bit, give a bit of encouragement and i could ride him back on on the decent and run into the final climb. With wez finished pulling on the front i knew the bunch was not going to far so was not too concerned about getting him back on. Sure enough he was safely back in the group before the final climb and wez and i had a quick chat and decided it was best for me to look after jack and he would try and help lloydy. Fortunately wez's furocious pace setting the first time up meant that is was a much more gentle pace the second and although joe again suffered off the back he did a great job of just watching my wheel and limiting his losses as best as he could and in the end maintaining his 7th on GC. Unfortunately lloydy was a little out of sorts the final time up and lost contact with the front but we atleast did what we could to set him up.
At the front of the race it is fitting the revelation of the race Nathan Hass who now leads the tour after 2nd on stage 1 and 2 and then again yesterday, spinting past jack bobridge to not only take 2nd but also the yellow jersey, points jersey, young rider jersey and his team leading the team classication shows just how dominent he has been. I never saw him go too far from a few wheels from the front yesterday and will be almost impossible to dislodge from the yellow jersey in todays final stage. The domestic aussie teams have certainly given the european teams a little bit of a lesson this week which is testament to the domestic racing scene here in australia.
Anyway final stage criterium today so again i will look after joe and try and keep his GC spot before starting the next phase of the year, the off season!!
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