Tour of Mansfield Stage Three
By Rylan Dowdell
Stage 3 of the Tour of Mansfield was a flat out race to the ski resort at the top of Mt. Buller. Coming off a double stage day, and being so early in the season, it was hard to predict how the legs were going to react. We came into this stage with a goal of protecting the more fancied climbers in the team, myself and Ethan. David and Jason did a fantastic job at protecting us and keeping us at the pointy end of the race to the base of the climb. With almost 100 riders and only half a road that’s no easy feat. Although strong crosswinds were predicted, they never really eventuated. Nevertheless, complacency wasn’t an option, so we had to maintain position at the front of the bunch.
On the undulating 30 kms to the climb the bunch, for the most part, stayed together. This was in stark contrast to stage 2 where on the same road we had continuous breakaways, splits and attacks. The run into the climb felt like the charge into a bunch finish with riders being desperate to hold position.As we hit the climb, Inform using some questionable tactics, put their team and a half on the front and began to drive the bunch up the climb. Ethan and myself fought hard to hold the Inform train as they quickly shed the carriages. The conditions worsened the higher we got up the 15km climb, with wind increasing and temperatures dropping. Ethan fought on strong dodging sticks and branches to ride into the top 30. Hats of to SA rider Karl Evans on an impressive top 10 finish up Buller.
Thanks as always must go to our sponsors for proving us with these opportunities. Only three weeks and we’ll be back at it at the infamous Mount Baw Baw Classic – another race to a ski resort. Make sure you stay up to date with all things happening with the team by following the Social Media and signing up to the mailing list below!