Stage 1 of the Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania saw the boys tackle 121km of beautiful, rolling Tasmanian countryside along the Tamar River from George Town to Grindelwald, a small village north of Launceston. The race was forecasted to be affected by wind, potentially spicing up the already hilly course.
Our plan was plain and simple; ride together for the first three hours, protect our quicker climbers in the windy conditions, and get Saundo (Tristan Saunders) to the base of Grindelwald in as best shape as possible, hoping to attempt to win the kick at the top.
A small group of 4 rolled off the front in a howling tailwind within the first 10km of the race, with Olivers Real Food Racing and Drapac represented and putting pressure on GPM Stulz to chase to maintain the overall GC lead. The chase led by GPM Stulz for most of the race was smooth, but not quite fast enough to reel in the breakaway before the final climb. Team Bridgelane dropped the hammer at one point in some serious crosswinds before Batman Bridge, but not for long enough for any major gaps to open.
In the final 20km, Blake Agnoletto followed a couple of serious moves, which were quickly shut down by Olivers Real Food Racing. Randy, Iven and Ethan rode the front at a solid tempo in the closing few kilometres before the start of the final climb, attempting to keep Saundo at the front.
The climb was steep and surgy, undoing Saundo’s sprinter legs on the steeper sections. Dan Siwek and our new man Lachie Marshall were in their element and crested the top with the front bunch, and finished 46 seconds behind the winner from the breakaway of the day, Jensen Plowright.
We were pretty happy with how the day played out – we still have two options for the General Classification and are super excited for tomorrow’s slog up Poatina!