Stage 5 – Tour of the Great South Coast
Today saw the NRS peloton take on the fifth of six stages at this year’s Tour of the Great South Coast. On the cards was a 120km road race which included four laps of a 29km loop, featuring a tough hill climb and narrow crosswind sections.
All morning the boys were checking the radar and forecasts, trying to make the all-important decision in regards to what to wear. The sun came out prior to the start, leaving many with false hopes of getting through the stage without getting damp.
The race got off to a quick start, as the peloton had a tailwind from km 0. The first major climb was 8km into the stage and was just over 1km in length with a few steep pinches as well as a howling crosswind to make the ascent even harder.
The combination of these short sharp climbs, and the winds resulted in continuous splits and re-groupings all day, amplified by the severe weather.
Dave and Lachie D had a rough start to the race after the fatigue from helping the boys all week caught up with them, however they pushed on like true battlers. All the other boys made the front split every lap over the climb, although it become progressively harder and harder to make the front split as the race progressed.
On the final lap Liam suffered an untimely puncture just after the climb, and luckily Matt and Lachie had plenty of spares after having a rather uneventful (although emotional) week in the car. Liam got paced back to the bunch without much ado.
With 20km to go, the weather really turned as the peloton rode into heavy hail while enduring a persistent headwind. The last 10kms were even rougher, as visibility was reduced to mere meters and as the hail became to come down with vengeance. It hurt just to ride as the hail felt like a constant fire of paintballs. With just over 1.5km to go, the boys jumped on the front in a vague attempt to lead out Iven, however, the hectic downhill finish combined with the atrocious weather made a perfect lead-out very hard to achieve. In the end, Rylan, Liam, Iven, Jason, and Seb all crossed the line safely, with only one stage left to go in the tour.