Physiohealth Swift Carbon Tour of Toowoomba 2015 Race Report
Tour of Toowoomba 2015 Race Report The Tour of Toowoomba is a five stage race held over four days. Three long road stages a short time trial and criterium totalling over 500 kilometres. Matthias Kiernan, Mitch Dedman, Sam Fuhrmeister , Aidan Bowe, Jason Lea and Mitchell Hawley were selected for the team’s first national road series tour. The goal of the team was to give Jason the best opportunity to finish in the top 30 of the general classification and top 10 of the young rider classification. The first stage 154.7 km across the top of the Toowoomba range with strong winds and continuous rollers, very similar to the hills around Eltham without the trees to protect the riders from the wind. The 150 riders who started the tour had an incredibly fast first hour covering 50 km with the big teams attacking one another and not letting any breaks get away. A break of 12 riders eventually formed with many of the big teams and favourites present. The mayhem in the big bunch in the first 50 km resulted in a number of falls, which Mitch, Aidan and Matthias couldn’t avoid. Aidan was quickly back on his bike and able to rejoin the bunch but Mitch and Matthias needed mechanical support that left them back with the gruppeto to finish the stage. The beak maintained a gap of between 3 and 4 minutes for the next 80 km. At 20km to the finish with Jason, Aidan and Sam riding comfortably in the peloton, their group decided it was time to try and bring back the break. At the finish the noticeably thinned out peloton, including Jason, fell 30 seconds short of catching the remnants of the break. Aidan and Sam followed a short distance behind and Mitch and Aidan finished a further 20 minutes behind in the gruppeto. Our first outing in the big league had mixed result with some bad luck but the objective of having Jason high up in general and young rider classification achieved. The second stage a 9 km individual time trial held on an uphill head wind out and tailwind down hill back course resulted in Mitch, Sam, Aidan and Jason all put in their personal best time trail efforts. At one point Matthias was the outright leader for more than an hour until we worked out that while cleaning the bikes the night before we had accidently swapped his and Mitch’s transponders, a bit embarrassing and a stern talking too from the commissaries, saw reality put back in place. The time trial was a fantastic result with the team, 12th out of 25 in the teams classification and Jason up to 25th overall and 9th in the young riders classification. Impressive for a young team against Australia’s best. The third stage followed an hour after the last rider in the time trial, a 167 km stage that was modelled on Italy’s Strada Bianchi. Very undulating and three dirt sections in the last 10km. The peloton was not going to flog themselves into the ground like yesterday and the thought of the next day’s queen stage meant a break of three were allowed to slip away after only 20 km. The bunch settled down to a steady tempo, the break lost a rider after 20km and everyone sat on a nice 40 km/hr until 30 km from the finish when Avanti used the strong side winds to wind up the pace and bring the break back. With 20 km to go the break was caught and 90 riders hit the first of the dirt sections with Jason, Mitch, Sam and Aidan still comfortably in the group. By the end of the three dirt sections carnage had occurred with three groups of around 20 riders 30 seconds apart. With the quick down hill to the finish the groups did not have a chance to reform. Jason finished in group two and Mitch in group three with Sam and Aidan a short distance behind. After a gruesome day Jason had managed to hold his place in the top 30 of GC and top 10 of the young rider classification. Stage four was the tour’s queen stage, six laps of a 26 km circuit with over 3000 metres of climbing. The circuit had no flat road and two climbs in excess of 15% gradient. It was widely agreed that it was a true championship course and a good match for the current Mt Buninyong course used for the Australian Champs. As expected the race was a true race of attrition. Matthias withdrew after one lap after two hard days, Jason finished with the main group four minutes behind the winner. Aidan, Sam and Mitch finished in the third group further back. Once again an exceptional ride by Jason to maintain his position in GC and young rider classification and meritorious result for all the riders who finished as the race had been reduced from 150 starters to less than 100. The final stage a 50 km criterium around a 2.5 km hilly circuit was uneventful apart from some attacks from Jack Bobridge. The field had tired legs but still managed to average 48 km/hr. Our four remaining riders put in a strong effort all finishing in the lead group. For its first NRS tour the PhysioHealth Swift Carbon team met its goal with Jason finishing equal 8th in the young rider classification and 24th on general classification. The team was 17th out of 25 teams beating the Victorian Institute of Sport. The team management was very happy with the professionalism and proud of the effort of the riders. And a big congratulations to Michael Schweizer, Keagan Girdlestone and Brad Evans 1st 2nd and 3rd on overall GC. The team would like to thank the organisers of the Tour of Toowoomba who provided one of the best if not the best tour courses together with fantastic organisation. The Swift Carbon bikes and SRAM running gear performed wonderfully once again and our Laz helmets, Tifosi glasses and PhysioHealth kits gave us a professional presence in the big peloton. Thanks also to Whisbar which made it easy to carry the bikes around the tour and Arrow Wood Products and PhysioHealth for helping fund entry and accommodation.