Events

Down to the wire; Morabito wins Sun Tour stage, Dutchman in yellow

The 2007 Jayco Herald Sun Tour is looking every bit the nail-biter it was last year. At the close of play Thursday, the top five riders on general classification are separated by half a minute. Matthew Wilson of Unibet may have lost his golden tunic his race is far from over, with just eight seconds between him and new race leader, Joost Van Leijen of the Dutch national team. However, on the 116.5 kilometer fourth stage to Falls Creek, Astana's Steve Morabito was the man of the moment. Into a block headwind and 10km from the line, the 24-year-old boldly attacked a lead group that was

Wilson loses lead, but just eight seconds out of first

By Anthony Tan, VeloNews.com

Morabito wins the stage.

Morabito wins the stage.

Photo: Anthony Tan

The 2007 Jayco Herald Sun Tour is looking every bit the nail-biter it was last year. At the close of play Thursday, the top five riders on general classification are separated by half a minute. Matthew Wilson of Unibet may have lost his golden tunic his race is far from over, with just eight seconds between him and new race leader, Joost Van Leijen of the Dutch national team.

However, on the 116.5 kilometer fourth stage to Falls Creek, Astana’s Steve Morabito was the man of the moment. Into a block headwind and 10km from the line, the 24-year-old boldly attacked a lead group that was thinning by the minute. Van Leijen and Trent Lowe from the Jayco Australian National Team, two of the best climbers in this year’s race, tried in vain to catch him with Morabito’s team-mate Julien Mazet sitting on for the ride, falling short by three seconds.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to win alone and take a lot of time from the other riders, but there was a lot of headwind. If was a little steeper it would’ve been better for me, but never mind, I won,” smiled Morabito, who clocked up his first win of the season. Though it wasn’t all smiles – the Swiss rider said he was unfairly penalized for drafting after puncturing on the second stage, and if it hadn’t been for that, he’d be holding a one-second lead over Van Leijen instead of sitting in third, 19 seconds in arrears.

Morabito’s complaints don’t bother the Dutchman, who came to Australia for two reasons: to win a stage and to have a holiday. “It’s a great feeling. I had great legs from the beginning of this stage race, but I didn’t expect it to be this hard, with the wind and the way it’s going up and down and up and down. Then all of a sudden on the first day, I was in the front group, so I had to change my goals,” Van Leijen explained.

The man sitting right behind him found himself in a similar position after the Herald Sun Tour became an 11-man race on the opening road stage to Nagambie. But since he triumphed on that day, Wilson has given everything plus more to keep himself within striking distance, It’s been bravery in spades from the 2004 Aussie road champion, hardly what you’d call a climber but right now, in the form of his life.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen here,” panted Wilson, drawing long, deep breaths between each sentence. “It could have gone either way; I thought, ‘maybe I can, maybe I can’t’. It was headwind earlier [on the climb] so it was good for me, but towards the end, it became a tailwind – with three or four k to go, I couldn’t go with one of the accelerations… I could just see them in front of me, and just held them all the way to the top. I have to be happy with the ride, but it’s terrible to have lost [the jersey] by a few seconds.”

Lowe was by far the most attacking rider in the chase group behind Van Leijen. On the penultimate climb of Tawonga Gap, he tested the waters near the top before letting loose on the final ascent, using every opportunity to drop his companions. In the end, the former junior world mountain bike champ had to be content with third place on the stage and fourth overall, now 26 seconds from the lead.

Aussie cycling hero Stuart O'Grady (Jayco Australian National Team) just keeps getting better every day.

Aussie cycling hero Stuart O’Grady (Jayco Australian National Team) just keeps getting better every day.

Photo:

“That’s what I had to do; I knew I had to change the rhythm – those bigger guys really hurt when I did that. If we went up maybe Mount Hotham or Mount Buffalo, that would’ve been more suited to me. Eventually we got rid of them, but I don’t have enough time on the guys I needed to. I lost some seconds the other day [on Stage 2] and that was my fault; I can’t change that now, we’ll just have to do what I can in the time trial. It’s going to be hard to get that time, I’m not sure… I think maybe even Matt Wilson can still win the race,” Lowe predicted.

Wilson hopes he can too: “I really haven’t done a time trial in anger since I was a junior, so it’s going to be a shock,” he said. “We’ll see what I can do – the race isn’t over yet – we’ve still got a crit and another road stage as well, so if it’s windy, maybe we can do something again.”

Van Leijen, however, is another on a roll, most recently winning the Tour of Slovakia before coming Down Under. But unlike Wilson, the Dutchman’s hoping for a relatively easy ride before Saturday’s 8.6km time trial. “Hopefully it won’t be a hard day [Friday], but I have a good team, so I think we can manage. And the time trial is every man for himself, so we’ll see who’s the strongest,” he said.

The day's early break, driven by Scott Zwizanski of Bissell-SRAM.

The day’s early break, driven by Scott Zwizanski of Bissell-SRAM.

Photo:

The ones that got away
Following the start in Beechworth, there were more than a few men keen to get the ball rolling. In the opening kilometers, it was attack after attack until Trent Wilson (Jayco Australian National Team), Dominique Rollin (Bicycle Superstore Canada National Team) and Scott Zwizanski (Bissell-SRAM) became the ones that got away.

The trio amassed a handy lead that one stage hovered around the four-minute mark on the outskirts of Bright, coming after 54.4km. Though once on the 13.9km Cat. 2 climb of Tawonga Gap, their lead began its inexorable erosion, with Wilson the first to lose contact. Over the crest (75.7km) Rollin and Zwizanski were one, but their lead had been halved, and their capture became simply became a question of ‘when?’. At this point, all the usual favorites were in the yellow jersey group, though notably, Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com) and Dominique Perras (Bicycle Superstore Canada National Team) appeared to be hurting.

Rollin did very well to last as long as he did, only getting caught as a select group of 12 passed him 15 clicks from home on the climb of Falls Creek. The heavy-set Canadian soon found himself languishing off the back, but as each kilometer ticked by, one more rider from the front joined him to eventually leave just six riders inside 10km to go, including Morabito, Van Leijen, Lowe, Mazet, Wilson and current Aussie road champion, Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche).

Shortly thereafter, Morabito chose his moment, and only daylight followed. The acceleration dropped Lapthorne, before Lowe began a series of rhythm changes in an attempt to brush off those around him. Gritting his teeth, Wilson stubbornly hung on till 4km out, but smartly used his head when dropped, containing his losses to the finish. Crossing the line with arms outstretched, Morabito had time to savour his stage success, before Van Leijen comfortably led his trio home three seconds adrift, with Wilson and Lapthorne 34 and 47 seconds in arrears.

Results
1. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana 3:10:06
2. Joost Van Leijen (Nl), Dutch National same time
3. Trent Lowe (Aus), Jayco Australian National s:t:
4. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 0:03
5. Matthew Wilson (Aus), Unibet, at 0:34
6. Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 0:47
7. Maint Berkenbosch (Nl), Dutch National, at 1:45
8. Baden Cooke (Aus), Unibet, at 2:02
9. Simon Clarke (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 2:08
10. Christian Leben (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 2:28Overall
1. Joost Van Leijen (Nl), Dutch National 13:35:51
2. Matthew Wilson (Aus), Unibet, at 0:08
3. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at 0:19
4. Trent Lowe (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 0:26
5. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 0:31
6. Baden Cooke (Aus), Unibet, at 1:53
7. Simon Clarke (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 2:04
8. Dominique Perras (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 3:55
9. Cameron Wurf (Aus), Bissell-Priority Health, at 4:07
10. Eric Wohlberg (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 4:27

Photo Gallery

Results

Results
1. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana 3:10:06

2. Joost Van Leijen (Nl), Dutch National same time

3. Trent Lowe (Aus), Jayco Australian National s:t:

4. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 0:03

5. Matthew Wilson (Aus), Unibet, at 0:34

6. Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 0:47

7. Maint Berkenbosch (Nl), Dutch National, at 1:45

8. Baden Cooke (Aus), Unibet, at 2:02

9. Simon Clarke (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 2:08

10. Christian Leben (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 2:28

11. Daniel Lloyd (GB), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 2:30

12. Aaron Kemps (Aus), Astana, at 2:47

13. Michal Golas (Pol), Unibet, at 2:47

14. Bernard Sulzberger (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 3:15

15. Peter Herzig (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 3:30

16. Jörg Ludewig (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 3:38

17. Cameron Wurf (Aus), Bissell-Priority Health, at 3:42

18. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 3:47

19. Mark O'Brien (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 3:47

20. Dominique Perras (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 3:47

21. Eric Wohlberg (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 3:54

22. Timothy Gudsell (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 5:29

23. Koen De Kort (Nl), Astana, at 5:29

24. David Pell (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 5:34

25. Dominique Rollin (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 7:58

26. Cameron Jennings (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 8:53

27. Camiel Denis (Nl), Dutch National, at 10:13

28. Malaya Van Ruitenbeek (Nl), Dutch National, at 10:20

29. Stuart Shaw (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 10:37

30. Aaron Tuckerman (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 10:37

31. Brendan Brooks (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 10:37

32. Brett Tivers (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 11:27

33. Patrick Shaw (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 11:44

34. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 11:44

35. Shaun Higgerson (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 11:44

36. Gene Bates (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 11:44

37. Tom Zirbel (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 11:44

38. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 11:44

39. Nick Gates (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 11:44

40. Jeremy Vennell (NZ), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 11:44

41. Scott Zwizanski (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 11:44

42. Will Dickeson (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 13:08

43. Omer Kem (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 16:38

44. Zachary Bell (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 16:38

45. Benoit Joachim (Lux), Astana, at 19:26

46. Trent Wilson (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 19:26

47. Chris Jongewaard (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 19:26

48. Logan Hutchings (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 19:26

49. Jeremy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 20:08

50. Koji Fukushima (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 20:09

51. Peter Dawson (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 20:19

52. Tom Southam (GB), Drapac Porsche, at 20:22

52. Dean Windsor (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 20:22

54. Wim Botman (Nl), Dutch National, at 20:22

55. Tom Middleton (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 20:22

56. Luke Cridland (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 20:22

57. Johnnie Walker (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 20:50

58. Brett Aitken (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 20:57

59. Richard England (Aus), Bissell-Priority Health, at 25:51

60. John Ebeling (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 25:51

61. Ryan Anderson (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 25:51

62. Marc Ryan (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 25:51

62. Craig Mccartney (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 25:51

64. Chris Jory (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 25:51

65. Peter Mueller (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 25:51

66. Prajak Mahawong (Tha), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 25:51

67. Steffen Radochla (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 25:51

68. Felix Odebrecht (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 25:51

69. Rhys Pollock (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 25:51

70. Kane Oakley (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 25:51

71. Casey Munro (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 25:51

72. Yoshiyuki Shimizu (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 25:51

73. William Ford (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 25:51

74. Jimmy Casper (F), Unibet, at 25:51

75. Jason Hegert (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 25:51

76. Jason Allen (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 25:51

77. Adriaan Helmantel (Nl), Dutch National, at 25:51

Overall
1. Joost Van Leijen (Nl), Dutch National 13:35:51

2. Matthew Wilson (Aus), Unibet, at 0:08

3. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at 0:19

4. Trent Lowe (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 0:26

5. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 0:31

6. Baden Cooke (Aus), Unibet, at 1:53

7. Simon Clarke (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 2:04

8. Dominique Perras (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 3:55

9. Cameron Wurf (Aus), Bissell-Priority Health, at 4:07

10. Eric Wohlberg (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 4:27

11. David Pell (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 5:46

12. Darren Lapthorne (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 10:36

13. Maint Berkenbosch (Nl), Dutch National, at 11:01

14. Bernard Sulzberger (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 11:55

15. Jörg Ludewig (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 12:17

16. Aaron Kemps (Aus), Astana, at 14:21

17. Daniel Lloyd (GB), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 16:14

18. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 16:19

19. Mark O'Brien (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 16:26

20. Michal Golas (Pol), Unibet, at 16:27

21. Koen De Kort (Nl), Astana, at 16:40

22. Dominique Rollin (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 17:08

23. Timothy Gudsell (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 17:50

24. Cameron Jennings (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 18:12

25. Stuart Shaw (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 22:43

26. Brendan Brooks (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 23:28

27. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 25:40

28. Christian Leben (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 31:06

29. Benoit Joachim (Lux), Astana, at 31:49

30. Omer Kem (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 32:12

31. Johnnie Walker (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 35:03

32. Camiel Denis (Nl), Dutch National, at 36:36

33. Gene Bates (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 37:58

34. Tom Zirbel (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 38:09

35. Malaya Van Ruitenbeek (Nl), Dutch National, at 38:45

36. Jimmy Casper (F), Unibet, at 39:30

37. Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 39:33

38. Jeremy Vennell (NZ), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 40:58

39. Jeremy Hunt (GB), Unibet, at 41:30

40. Tom Middleton (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 41:38

41. Peter Herzig (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 42:43

42. Will Dickeson (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 45:14

43. Patrick Shaw (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 45:56

44. Chris Jongewaard (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 46:36

45. Dean Windsor (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 46:58

46. Aaron Tuckerman (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 47:07

47. Scott Zwizanski (USA), Bissell-Priority Health, at 47:18

48. Nick Gates (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 48:43

49. Richard England (Aus), Bissell-Priority Health, at 52:05

50. Rhys Pollock (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 52:14

51. Brett Tivers (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 52:50

52. John Ebeling (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 53:37

53. Shaun Higgerson (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 54:25

54. Chris Jory (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 54:25

55. Tom Southam (GB), Drapac Porsche, at 54:52

56. Zachary Bell (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 54:57

57. Peter Mueller (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 56:03

58. Trent Wilson (Aus), Jayco Australian National, at 56:30

59. Adriaan Helmantel (Nl), Dutch National, at 56:34

60. Logan Hutchings (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand 57:41

61. Kane Oakley (Aus), DFL Cyclingnews-Litespeed, at 1:00:49

62. Brett Aitken (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 1:01:13

63. Koji Fukushima (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 1:01:48

64. Luke Cridland (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 1:01:49

65. Jason Hegert (Aus), FRF Couriers-NSWIS, at 1:02:21

66. Casey Munro (Aus), Drapac Porsche, at 1:02:34

67. Jason Allen (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 1:02:57

68. Wim Botman (Nl), Dutch National, at 1:03:03

69. Marc Ryan (NZ), Mitchelton Wines-New Zealand, at 1:03:55

70. William Ford (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 1:05:06

71. Felix Odebrecht (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 1:05:53

72. Craig Mccartney (Aus), Savings & Loans, at 1:06:08

73. Ryan Anderson (Can), Bicycle Superstore, at 1:07:18

74. Steffen Radochla (G), Wiesenhof-Felt, at 1:07:53

75. Yoshiyuki Shimizu (Jpn), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 1:08:14

76. Prajak Mahawong (Tha), Nippo-Meitan Latrobe, at 1:08:59

77. Peter Dawson (Aus), South Australia.com-AIS, at 1:09:38