Tour of Bright 2015
This year’s Tour of Bright was a little bit of a roller coaster. After posting a solid ITT and putting a little bit of a buffer into my climbing rivals, I was feeling confident starting stage 2 and felt like winning the overall tour was a big possibility. By the end of stage 2 however, my contention for winning the tour was mostly over. I made some mistakes on the road and let the race get away from me. Starting the final stage I didn’t have anything to lose, but had the ambitions of winning the stage. That didn’t happen, but I did come 2nd on the stage and finished back on the podium with 3rd overall for the weekend. Given where I started and where things finished, I’m mostly satisfied about the weekend! I think I’ve learned a few lessons and will hopefully remember them during future races.
Stage 1 ITT My time trialling is continuing to improve. I spent a little bit of time preparing for this TT. The race was won from the TT in 2014 and I wanted a good chance of winning this year. Looking at my own performances between 2013, 2014 and 2015, things are definitely getting faster, and fast is good! (note: in general there were some fast times this year, which might be an indication of favourable weather conditions)
Stage 2 Rosewhite Loop This was the stage where things fell apart. It wasn’t really due to getting dropped or having bad form, but rather watching the race disappear up the road and not doing anything about it. I was an individual at the race, and having so many riders in the race with GC contentions after the TT, there was always going to be a good sized breakaway with riders that I didn’t want to see in it. That part was inevitable.
Behind the breakaway was a chase group which had Ben O’Connor (Giant-Satalyst) and Michael Storer (VIS), both of whom had reasonably good TT’s and can climb. That chase group was dangerous, but main climbers were still in the peloton until I saw Ben Dyball, Matt Clarke, Stu Smith, Lucas Hamilton and some other individuals all roll off the front of the peloton in 1’s and 2’s.
I honestly thought the peloton would react, even those who had teammates up the road in the breakaway or in the chase group since Lucas and the Avanti guys were some of the GC favourites. This didn’t happen, and before I knew it they were up the road far enough and nobody was willing to ride in the peloton. Ultimately I should have marked them, and this was my mistake.
They came together and formed a group that would work together and stay away for the entire stage, whilst I was left behind in a peloton that was content sitting back to enjoy the scenery.
Stage 3 Hotham The final stage up Hotham was quick, including the ride out from Bright to Harrietville. I didn’t really have too much to lose, so decided to race aggressively well before the Meg with the goal of trying to get away from the bunch, or sneak away with 1-2 other riders. This didn’t happen, but there were only about 7-8 riders left after the Meg. Ben Dyball got away near the beginning of the false flat and managed to stay away for the win and take overall GC. (Kudos!) I attacked at the end of the false flat, managing to distance myself from the rest of the bunch except Lucas Hamilton, and we ended up 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The Tour of Bright is a fantastic race, and I always look forward to this time in December. I’d love to be able to put my name on the winners list, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what 2016 brings. This was my last race in Budget Forklifts colours. And I also managed to win the Overall VRS series. It’s been a good year!
Now I can look forward to the Drapac training camp which begins back in Bright on the 12th of December. There’s plenty of ice cream flavours I want to try back in town. Raspberry and banana was good but I think it’s time to spread my wings and test some new flavours.
Camp has already started here in Melbourne with lots of administrative things going on. I’ve already picked up lots of new equipment for next season, with lots more being distributed during the week. I’ll need a whole blog post just to talk about everything in my new Antler suitcase, and then another to give you all insight into what’s going on behind the scenes at camp!!
Thanks for reading!
Stage 1: 2nd +0:08
Stage 2: 14th +2:52
Stage 3: 2nd +0:04
Overall GC: 3rd +1:44