Day 3 – Tour Great South Coast
Day 3 of the Tour Great South Coast started with a 42 km morning criterium around the port and town centre of Portland. While the setting was picturesque the conditions were atrocious with constant drizzle thoughout the race. 125 riders on a tight course in these conditions does’t fit and as a result only 30 riders completed the race, including Jason Lea in top 15 with no time loss and Aidan Bowe in the 30 losing a few seconds as a result of few riders leaving gaps in the final sprint. The place getters in the criterium were Brad Evans from Pat’s Veg 1st, and Charter Mason’s Raphael Freienstein and Daniel Fitter 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Queen stage of the tour was the 92 km afternoon stage from Heywood to Casterton. Experienced riders compare the course to the Australian version of the Leige-Bastogne-Leige or Amstel Gold races. With better weather conditions than the morning’s crit, the riders provided spectacular racing with a number of early breaks that include Callum Gordon. However, the break of the day finally established after 30 km with PhysioHealth Swift Carbon’s Jason Lea and Pats Veg’s James Pane (PhysioHealth client and previous team member), Jason collected 9 bonus’. However, with the aggressive riding the break was caught after an escape of 40 km. Once the break was caught the field fragmented as a result of the constant rolling steep climbs. With 20 km left an elite group of 18, including PhysioHealth Swift Carbon’s Jason Lea and Callum Gordon, a second group of 20 riders were 30 seconds behind including the team’s Mitchell Dedman, Aaron Ross, Sam Fuhrmeister and Aidan Bowe. Both groups and a third group joined together with 5 km to go. That left 60 riders to contest a very technical final kilometre. Thankfully all the team avoided a nasty fall on the last corner, Budget Forklift’s Scott Sunderland won from Avanti’s Patrick Bevin and Charter Mason’s Raphael Freienstein 3rd. Most importantly with the bonus seconds picked up in the day’s break, Jason Lea moved from 37th up to 14th overall, an exceptional outcome that the team looks to improve on over the next two days.