It’s the third consecutive teams’ classification win in this year’s National Road Series for the Tasmanian squad, which has extended its already unassailable lead in the overall NRS teams’ classification as a result, while Avanti’s Joe Cooper maintains his lead in the NRS overall standings.
“I’ve got three points over Tim [Roe – Team Budget Forklifts], so as long as he doesn’t get any points, I’ll be pretty happy,” Joe said.
“The Tour of Tas was hard. It pretty much was decided on the time trial,” he explained. “I gave it everything I had, Tim managed to get 10 seconds in front and I never managed to regain that time to stop him from getting those extra points, so good on him.
“Now I’ve got to make sure he doesn’t get any points, really.”
“The next two rounds are going to be extremely important for Joe,” agreed Avanti Racing Team DS Andrew Christie-Johnson. “We don’t normally focus on the individual [ranking], because it is a team sport for us, but with the teams’ classification secure a couple of tours ago, there’s no threat there, so the team will support [Joe] in that challenge.”
The 2014 Tour of Tasmania wrapped up with a 54-kilometre criterium around the coastal city of Devonport. A four-man breakaway animated most of the stage, but a late-race catch saw some movement from the GC riders in the final few laps.
“Joe had a bit of an attack and tried to get away and gain a bit of time, but that was brought back,” explained Avanti’s Mitchell Lovelock-Fay. “Then Tim Roe, his main rival in the NRS, had a bit of an attack, so we had to close that down, and in the end it was a bunch sprint.
“It was a good tour from all the boys,” Mitch said. “They’ve learnt a lot and we’ve ridden well as a team. Nobody gained time on us and Tim Roe wasn’t able to get any points in the NRS, other than his overall general classification points.”
“It’s been a solid tour – we walk away with second overall and teams’ classification – but it’s always disappointing when you set the targets to win and you don’t achieve,” said Andrew. “We had aspirations of winning, as we do with most tours that we go to, and we thought we had a team that was capable of doing that.
“At the end of the day, we went close, but Pat Bevin was just too good and his team was strong,” Andrew said, adding that the season isn’t over yet for Avanti Racing Team.
“Everyone does walk away with their chins up and we move onto the next race, Melbourne to Warrnambool.”