By Rob Monk & Paul Yeatman
Warragul Riders performed exceptionally at the 49th Annual Gippsland 3 Day Tour.
The race is always staged over the 3 days of the Labour Day long weekend. This year day one was at Yinnar, Day 2 at Warragul and Day 3 at Leongatha. Twenty four Warragul riders contested the tour.
Warragul rider Brenton Jones had to battle but in the end triumphed to win the tour for the fourth year in a row. Brenton didn’t have it all own way his though. Kane Walker and Jarryd Jones broke away with Leongatha’s Brett Frankilin on stage one gaining a 45 second advantage on Brenton. In the time trial on day 2 Brenton took most of the time back but in the afternoon road stage Walker again broke away taking a 40 second lead into the final day.
The hills of Leongatha were a perfect backdrop for a gripping final day. Former Australian U23 Road team representative Nick Aitken from Leongatha lit up the race with a solo breakaway early on lap one. At one stage Aitken was the leader of the tour on the road as he got out to a 2 minute lead. At the top of the long Mardan climb on the last lap Brenton Jones, Brett Franklin and Cy Monk managed to break away from the field and go in search of Aitken. Nick still had a big lead but suffered what cyclists know as “a hunger flat”. When the body runs out of fuel it slows quickly. Jones, Franklin and Monk flew past Aitken 4k from the finish. They had a 50 second lead on the chasing bunch which included tour Leader Kane Walker. Brenton won the stage by enough time to take overall victory. Brett Franklin was Second with Kane in third. Cy Monk finished third on the final stage and fourth overall in the tour.
In B grade Warragul’s Pete Finlayson took the tour victory narrowly from Leongatha’s young gun Tom McFarlane. Finlayson was the most consistent rider over the three days. He didn’t win a stage but was close to the front in all the finishes. In stage one he was part of a four man break away which included Paul Yeatman (check out his race summary here), Jayman Prestidge and Dave McFarlane.
Yeatman won the stage 2 time trail, followed 35 seconds later by Finlayson with Prestidge no far behind in third.
In stage 3, Prestidge took off on lap 2 and nobody wanted to chase him. In the end, he began to cramp on the final lap and was caught. Yeatman’s rear derailleur was ripped in two on lap 3, ending his GC chances. In the sprint to the line, Geoff Thomson won.
Stage 4 saw the real hills of the weekend with a 6km climb of Mardan Road. Here Yeatman was keen to establish a solo break away. Every time he took off on the 13km lap 1, he would go around a corner and be hit with a hill. A slipping derailleur cable on his spare bike meant he was stuck in top gear for the last 10km. In the final stages of the race, there were a couple of break away attempts, but in the end, it was down to a bunch sprint. Thommo took 2nd place in this stage.
Jayman Prestidge was the sprint champion and finished 4th overall with Paul Yeatman in fifth overall.
Warragul’s C grade team struggled against some strong Leongatha competition. Their cause was not helped when Rob Waddel and Shane Wakker both crashed on stage 3. The crash ended Wakker’s stage and Waddel’s tour. Bruce Staben came 3rd in the KOM classification.
The Warragul D Graders had a competitive race. Ben Stein was second on Stage 1. Michelle Scurr was second on stage 2, 6 seconds down on Phil Lumby of Leongatha. Rachel Dawson won stage three with a solo break away and Col Manintveld was second. Col managed 2nd overall in D grade for the tour.
Next year is the 50th running of the Gippsland 3 Day Tour.
Photos from the event can be purchased from Jaymar Imaging. A big thanks to Karin Jones who assumed the Race Director role, Paul Yeatman who handled the results summaries, collated the time keeping data, developed a website for the tour and provided updates via the tour’s Twitter and Facebook feeds. Thanks also to our stage 2/3 volunteers who recorded times, places and made our stages possible.
The club’s newly sponsored race numbers were used during the tour. The Tint a Car Warragul A grade numbers, CABA Design B grade numbers, Jana Group C grade numbers and Yeatman Design D grade numbers were seen on rider’s backs throughout west and central Gippsland. Waterbyrd Filmz was present all weekend gathering footage for their documentary and will continue to follow their “cast” through to the 2014 tour.
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