Donnelly in sight of final Jayco Herald Sun Tour victory
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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Donnelly in sight of final Jayco Herald Sun Tour victory

by VeloNation Press at 2:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Young Australian has edge over rivals but Arthur’s Seat summit finish beckons

Jayco Herald Sun TourMaintaining his grip on the yellow jersey and holding a two minutes 45 second lead over the closest WorldTour riders in the race, Aaron Donnelly has just one stage to go before he could become the overall winner in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

The 21 year old rider had a tough past couple of years but is back in the driving seat. While he admitted that today’s stage two was a tough one, he’s now just one day away from clocking up a very big win and one which should do his career plenty of favours.

“I was feeling very every kilometre of yesterday,” the Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers rider said after the race finished. “Early on the in the stage I was feeling very tired and very sore, but I got better as the day went on, which is a good sign.”

The biggest threat to his yellow jersey didn’t come from WorldTour riders Simon Gerrans and Simon Clarke (normally Orica GreenEdge, but racing here as part of the Australian national team). Instead, it was Luke Davison (SASI Cycling / Feelgood Fitness) who put him under most pressure, the rider going clear in a move started by Joseph Lewis (GPM Data) and Stuart Smith (Search2Retain) at Yea, 60 kilometres from the finish. Davison got across with Will Walker (Drapac Cycling), plus Sam Horgan and Karl Evans (both Budget Forklifts).

Walker attacked closer to the finish and only Davison was able to stay in touch, the latter riding with the former under 23 national road race champion to remain out front. He then surged ahead of Walker two kilometres from the line and raced through to take the win in Healesville.

“To be honest, I thought there was another lap to go,” he said afterwards, explaining the lack of celebration as he crossed the line. “I knew the peloton were breathing down our neck and to be honest GC (general classification) was on my mind.”

The confusion about the finish of the race was down to the fact that the duo caught lapped riders inside the final kilometres. The latter were told that they had a lap to go, but Davison thought that the calls were for himself and Walker.

“From about 300m to go, everyone was saying ‘one to go, one to go’ and I came in and really didn’t rehearse the finish too much,” he said. “I was really confused as to what was going on.”

As for Walker, he said that he knew the situation, but didn’t have anything left to give. “I knew where the finish was but I was completely gone,” he said. “I knew there was one lap, but I think I underestimated how much I’d had to drink and I was just absolutely gone, hallucinating on the last hill around the back. I actually thought it might be better to just fall off the bike.”

He gave kudos to his breakaway companion, describing him as “super strong. He was a motor on the descent, so he deserved the win anyway. What do you do, I could barely get out of the seat at the end.”

Early on, a stream of attacks enlivened the start of the 146.6 stage from Mitchelton Winery to Healesville. Defending champion Nathan Haas set out to protect his mountains jersey and got into an early move with Davison, Vuelta a España mountains leader Simon Clarke and Jay McCarthy (both Australian national team).

Haas grabbed the points on the first climb and then kept pushing hard to try to raise the break’s lead over a minute. However it move was drawn back in eighty kilometres after the start, with the winning break going soon afterwards.

Walker and Davison normally race on the same Drapac team and know each other well. They proved strongest of the breakaway riders towards the end and pushed on to fight it out between them.

The WorldTour competitors might have expected to be closer to the overall lead after three days of racing, but Gerrans in tenth and Clarke in eleventh are almost three minutes back. Davison believes that some in the peloton have been caught out. “I think a lot of the top teams have underestimated the NRS (national road series riders) and I think the level of NRS has stepped up dramatically,” he said.

Donnelly heads into tomorrow’s final stage fourteen seconds ahead of his closest rival, Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo). Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) is a further three seconds back, while Davison has moved up to fourth, two minutes eleven seconds down.

The last stage does however offer the chance for strong riders to gain time, with two ascents of Arthur’s Seat awaiting the riders. Donnelly knows he will face a salvo of attacks, but is determined to fight all the way and to try to take a very significant win.

“People say my pain threshold’s pretty high,” he said. “My new coach Brad McGee is surprised with how much I can push myself, so hopefully I can do it tomorrow.”

Davison and Gerrans both vow to keep battling. “I’m going to ride my heart out,” said the former. “Arthurs Seat is going to be a very testing time and it’s a matter of doing our best. Hopefully my legs will pull up ok.”

As for Gerrans, the current Australian national champion and winner last year of the Santos Tour Down Under plus the prestigious Milan-Sanremo Classic, the gap is big but he’s not giving up.

“It’s definitely going to be very difficult and the odds are probably stacked against us now, but it’s far from impossible,” he said. “Tomorrow starting out down Boneo Road…that’s a really tough section of road and a couple of laps up Arthurs Seat will sort everybody out, so it’s still anyone’s race,” Gerrans said.

The concluding stage starts in Moonah Links and is just 93 kilometres in length. The short distance increases the odds of constant attacking, meaning that Donnelly will have to fight hard all the way to maintain his grip on the race.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour:

January 5, Stage 2: Mitchelton Winery – Healesville:


1, Luke Davison (SASI Cycling / Feelgood Fitness) 146.6 kilometres in 3 hours 46 mins 50 secs
2, Will Walker (Drapac Cycling) at 4 secs
3, Oliver Kent Spark (Target Trek Racing Team) at 15 secs
4, Simon Yates (Great Britain National Team) at 17 secs
5, Anthony Giacoppo (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers)
6, Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac Cycling)
7, Richard Lang (Great Britain National Team)
8, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team)
9, Jasper Ockeloen (Pro Team Down Under)
10, Jordan Kerby (Suzuki - Bontrager)
11, Ben Grenda (Team Polygon Australia)
12, Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers)
13, Robbie Hucker (Drapac Cycling)
14, Patrick Lane (Jayco VIS Apollo)
15, Brendan Johnston (Suzuki - Bontrager)
16, Adam Phelan (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team)
17, Nathan Earle (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers)
18, Marc Williams (Team Budget Forklifts)
19, Tom Scully (Grays Online New Zealand National Team)
20, Bradley Linfield (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) all same time

Intermediate sprint at Seymour (24 km):

1, Neil Van Der Ploeg (Search2retain / health.com.au) 6 pts
2, Shannon Johnson (Hyster / Rush Racing) 4
3, Tom Leaper (Hyster / Rush Racing) 2

Intermediate sprint 2 at Yea (77km):

1, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team) 6 pts
2, Nathan Haas (Jayco Australia National Team) 4
3, Karl Evans (Team Budget Forklifts) 2

King of the Mountains climb at 58 kilometres (category 4):

1, Nathan Haas (Jayco Australia National Team) 6 pts
2, Jay McCarthy (Jayco Australia National Team) 4
3, Adam Phelan (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) 2

King of the Mountains climb at 64 kilometres (category 3):

1, Nathan Haas (Jayco Australia National Team) 12 pts
2, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team) 8
3, Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Cycling) 4

General classification:

1, Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) at 7 hours 57 mins 4 secs
2, Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo) at 14 secs
3, Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) at 17 secs
4, Luke Davison (SASI Cycling / Feelgood Fitness) at 2 mins 11 secs
5, Bradley Linfield (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) at 2 mins 20 secs
6, Will Walker (Drapac Cycling) at 2 mins 32 secs
7, Alexander Malone (Satalyst Giant Racing Team) at 2 mins 38 secs
8, Jordan Kerby (Suzuki - Bontrager) at 2 mins 39 secs
9, Adam Phelan (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) at 2 mins 44 secs
10, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team) at 2 mins 45 secs
11, Simon Gerrans (Jayco Australia National Team)
12, James Oram (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) at 2 mins 52 secs
13, Nathan Earle (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) at 2 mins 53 secs
14, Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Cycling) at 2 mins 55 secs
15, Jack Anderson (Team Budget Forklifts) at 2 mins 56 secs
16, Lachlan Norris (Jayco VIS Apollo) at 2 mins 58 secs
17, Oliver Kent Spark (Target Trek Racing Team) at 3 mins 2 secs
18, Jai Crawford (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) at 3 mins 4 secs
19, Robbie Hucker (Drapac Cycling) at 3 mins 5 secs
20, Alex Clements (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team)

Sprint classification:

1, Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) 16 pts
2, Neil Van Der Ploeg (Search2retain / health.com.au) 10
3, Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo) 8
4, Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) 8
5, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team) 6
6, Thomas Palmer (Drapac Cycling) 6

Mountains classification :

1, Nathan Haas (Jayco Australia National Team) 42 pts
2, Chris Jory (GPM Data #3) 16
3, Simon Clarke (Jayco Australia National Team) 8
4, Campbell Flakemore (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) 8
5, Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) 6
6, Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) 4

Under-23 classification:

1, Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) at 7 hours 57 mins 4 secs
2, Calvin Watson (Jayco VIS Apollo) at 14 secs
3, Josh Atkins (Grays Online New Zealand National Team) at 17 secs
4, Bradley Linfield (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) at 2 mins 20 secs
5, Jordan Kerby (Suzuki - Bontrager) at 2 mins 39 secs
6, Adam Phelan (Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team) at 2 mins 44 secs

Teams classification:

1, Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers, at 3 hours 56 mins 41 secs
2, Jayco VIS Apollo, at 55 secs
3, Degani Bakery Café World Tour Academy Team, at 2 mins 23 secs
4, Drapac Cycling, at 2 mins 55 secs
5, Grays Online New Zealand National Team, at 2 mins 57 secs
6, Team Budget Forklifts, at 3 mins 50 secs
7, Jayco Australian National Team, at 8 mins 51 secs
8, GPM Data#3, at 11 mins 1 secs
9, SASI Cycling p/b Feelgood Fitness, at 11 mins 48 secs
10, Target Trek Racing Team, at 13 mins 46 secs

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