McGee, McKenzie & Carrigan on podiums
Victorian David McKenzie, 30, has taken over the lead in the Tour of Japan after victory on the second stage of the eight day, six stage race.
McKenzie, the 1997 Australian Road Champion and winner of a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2000, now rides for the Indonesian Wismilak professional team registered on the Asian Continental Circuit.
The 146.2 kilometre stage began in the shadow of the Todaiji Temple, home of an eighth century statue of Buddha, but the action didn't start until the riders reached the Nunome Dam Circuit at Nara for a hard fought 12 laps of racing. McKenzie went with the decisive break on lap three and despite the efforts of the Australian National Team of overnight race leader Matthew Goss, 18, (Tas) the break managed to stay clear.
With three riders from Barloworld in the break McKenzie let them do the work and then pounced in the final sprint to take the stage and a one second overall lead from Kazakhstan's Assan Bazayev (Cycling Team Capec) who was third on the stage. The riders will enjoy a rest day today before contesting a 155.3km stage three, 12 laps of a hilly circuit in South Shinsu in central Japan.
McGee scores win in France
Athens Olympic gold and silver medallist Brad McGee, 29, (FDJeux.com) has claimed victory in the 193 kilometre Grand Prix de Villers Cotterêts in France. McGee, who last year placed 8th overall in the Giro d'Italia after winning the prologue and finishing on the podium in four stages, has this year varied his race calendar to support his push for a good Tour de France performance. In 2003 he won the Tour de France prologue and wore the coveted leader's yellow jersey for three days.
Wood claims second stage win as Carrigan moves to second overall
Oenone Wood (Team Nurnberger) picked up her second stage win of the Tour de l'Aude in southern France claiming the bunch sprint into Bram at the end of the short 45 kilometre Stage 3a. But the 24 year old Canberra cyclist could not hang onto her overall race leader in the afternoon's hilly 46 kilometre Stage 3b.
Instead it was American Amber Neben (Buitenpoort Flexpoint) who claimed the stage and the overall lead with Olympic road champion, Sara Carrigan, 24, (Van Bemmelen - AA Drink) coming home 34 seconds later in second place after the pair staged a successful break from the main field 20 kilometres from the finish.
The Queenslander's finish has pushed her to second overall, 31 seconds behind Neben, while Wood has dropped to fifth at 1min03 after riding home 19th for the stage.
But Wood's team director Jens Zemke is far from disappointed as both Wood and 2004 Tour champion Trixi Worrack of Germany (11th at 1min09) are well within striking distance.
"We may not still have the yellow leader's jersey but there is another six days of racing and we have two hot irons in the fire still," said Zemke. "Full compliments to the team as they have set up a superb scenario and the way they are working together is sensational."
Wood is however well clear in the points jersey competition with 111 points, 45 clear of Denmark's Dorte Rasmussen (Team S.A.T.S.).
For further information please contact:
Gennie Sheer, Sheer Rhetoric - Media Manager, Cycling Australia
Mobile: 0418 863 533
For rider profiles please visit the Cycling Australia website - www.cycling.org.au