Avanti Racing Team has finished with three riders in the top five of the general classification to round out a solid tour at the 2014 National Capital Tour in Canberra.
Yesterday’s Stage 2 win saw Ben Dyball leapfrog into second place on the general classification, with teammates Joe Cooper and Mitchell Lovelock-Fay in third and fourth respectively. A third place on the Stage 3 road race for Matt Clark and fourth place in the Stage 4 criterium for Brenton Jones helped secure the teams classification for Avanti Racing as well.
“The team does set high standards and we’re still disappointed that we couldn’t walk away with the win,” sport director Andrew Christie-Johnson said. “It was difficult for us to be able to really go for the overall race win – [today] was two relatively flat stages and we did have a bunch of climbers there, so it was always going to be a challenge to win overall on days like today.
“The boys did very well, that said – they consolidated their teams victory and second and third overall, and Matt Clark managed to take out the sprint competition, so all in all it was still a very good day.”
The day started out with a 79-kilometre road race around Lake Burley-Griffin before a difficult 50-lap criterium in front of Parliament House in the afternoon.
“I was left to look after our GC boys, made sure they had a good position in the early morning and look after the legs for the afternoon stage because the afternoon stage was just so brutal – that’s where our team effort really comes in,” explained New Zealand time trial champion Taylor Gunman.
A breakaway of four riders including Avanti Racing Team’s Matt Clark built up a lead of almost a minute in the latter stages of the race, with three of them staying away for the stage win.
“With Clarkey being up the road it also took the pressure off us having to chase any breakaways or anything like that,” Taylor noted. “We could actually rest and save our legs as much as possible.”
“Afternoon stage panned out pretty well, it was a very hard stage, with a climb up one side and a descent on the other,” Taylor said of the final stage, where Avanti sprinter Brenton Jones got up for fourth place. “It’s a bit harder than final stage of Tour of Gippsland, but the guys were able to rally together and get to the front and do our best to pretty much hold on.”
“It really shows the depth in this team, I guess,” he added. “We’ve always got many cards to play, and coming into Tassie I think it bodes well for everyone’s confidence.”
Joe Cooper’s third place in the GC has also seen him take back the NRS individual lead from teammate Brenton Jones, who claimed the NRS leader’s jersey after his overall victory at the Tour of the Great South Coast last month.
“With the heavier tour, little bit tougher terrain for Brenton, so it was just natural that Joe would take over from this tour,” Andrew said. “Hopefully Joe can have a good Tour of Tassie and extend the lead for himself, but I think between all the riders in the team, as long as it stays in the Avanti family, then they’re happy.”