Norris claims maiden tour victory in Tasmania
Lachlan Norris (Drapac) has convincingly taken out the Caterpillar Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania, the ninth event in the 2012 Subaru National Road Series.
The 25-year-old took the yellow jersey off Mark O'Brien (Budget Forklifts) on day three after a solo hilltop win, eventually winning the tour ober O'Brien by 17 seconds with Nathan Earle (Genesys Wealth) finishing third.
“It’s been another really good day of racing and it feels really good to hang on to that yellow jersey at the end of the tour,” he said.
The win is Norris' first general classification tour win, the Victorian saying it was a relief to come away with the title.
“I had a little bit of nerves before the start of the final stage, anything could of happened and it was a hard circuit today with not many guys getting to the finish,” Norris said. “It’s been a tough tour – this win is right up there as one of the best wins I’ve had."
“Mark [O’Brien] rode a really good race and it was really close there at the end and I’ve been in that position before so it’s a huge relief to be in yellow."
O’Brien and Norris train together in Bendigo and were happy to see the other on the podium.
“In the end the best rider won with the best team and there was nothing any other team could do because Drapac just rode so strong,” O’Brien said. “I was disappointed with my performance at the hilltop finish at Great Lake but other than that I have been really happy with the tour and I have given it my best.
“I am quite proud of myself to get second in such a strong calibre field,” he said.
The final stage for the tour saw Jay McCarthy (Jayco/Apollo) claim line honours over Luke Fetch (Search2Retain) second and Ben Hill (Suzuki/Trek) third.
McCarthy broke away from a lead group of 11 riders in the final lap to out-sprint Fetch to the line in stage nine’s 51.6km Kermese in Devonport.
“Today being the last day of the tour meant I didn’t care about losing time on GC. I went on the attack all day and tried to go off moves and was in that one that finally stuck at the end,” McCarthy said.
The stage saw five intermediate sprints and king of the mountain sections, something which the 20-year-old said suits his riding style.
“That kind of hill really suits me and I really wanted to give it a good go. Ben Hill and Luke Fetch in the last couple of laps were going very strong on the hill climbs so I didn’t have to show my cards," McCarthy explained. “I have some really good mates in the team so it’s a great way to finish the season,” he said.
McCathy recently signed a pro contract with Saxo Bank- Tinkoff Bank after representing Australia in the Under-23’s at the UCI Road World Championships.
“I love the way Australians race. That’s the kind of racing I wanted the worlds to be but instead it was very negative. That kind of aggressive racing with that sort climb is what I like.
“It’s not too much for me to come to a tour like this but it is for the people who have looked after me in the last few years and Dave Sanders has been a big part of my cycling so it’s great to get a win,” McCarthy said of the Jayco/VIS director sportif.
The tour saw nine stages with a total of 555.9km of racing including 51 sprints and 25 hill climbs.
Ben Dyball (Genesys Wealth) took the yellow jersey on day one of the tour after they blitzed the team time trial by almost two minutes to Jayco/VIS.
Day two saw the tour lead go to Mark O’Brien after he finished second behind Darren Lapthorne in a solo hilltop finish.
On the third day of the tour, Norris rode away from a breakaway group which included O’Brien to claim his own solo hilltop finish and claim the leaders jersey for himself.
Drapac then defended their lead rider to a tee and celebrated a third stage win when William Walker won a bunch sprint in stage six.
Genesys Wealth Advisors sealed up the overall teams classification for the third time in as many tours.
Neil van der Ploeg claimed the Sprint jersey while Norris was also awarded the King of the Mountain jersey.
Tasmanian Ben Grenda was awarded the Criterium jersey, the 22-year-old claiming two out of the three criteriums.
The next event for men in the 2012 Subaru National Road Series event is the Melbourne to Warrnambool on October 13, with the Shipwreck Coast Classic for both mena nd women to be held on Sunday October 14.
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