Talbot breaks through for maiden NRS stage victory
Brodie Talbot (Racing Kangaroos) has claimed line honours in Thursday's opening stage of the FKG Tour of Toowoomba, the second men's event in the 2012 Subaru National Road Series.
The 23-year-old surprised his opponents by racing away from the lead group in the final kilometre, holding off the desperate chasers all the way to the line to collect ‘his best career win-to-date’.
"We had our first race as a team at the start of the year, and this is a great way for us to begin the NRS season," said an ecstatic Talbot, "It's definitely my best achievement and I'm sure it will be a good confidence boost for the team.
Talbot admitted that although sprinting wasn't his preferred style, he may have proved today he is a well-rounded racer.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get over the top of the other riders in the sprint because they’ve got a bit more speed than me,” he said. “I just saw a little gap open up around the corner and thought I’d just gas it.
“Every metre I got closer to the line I was hoping that I could hold on because I couldn’t see where they were, so I just put my head down and tried to get to the line as quick as I could,” he explained.
Canberra rider Michael Cupitt (Team Budget Forklifts) came in second with Bradeley Hall (Plan B) placing third.
Stage one's 137.5km trek in the Cambooya area of the Darling Downs had something for everyone with long straights, sweeping bends, tight corners and tough inclines. Riders could also challenge for the three Sprint and three King of the Mountain points and bonuses on offer.
The first serious break came well into the race with Andrew Crawley making a move at the 86km mark, with the GPM Wilson rider soon joined by teammate Edward White along with Anthony Giacoppo ( Genesys Wealth) and Maxime Ruphy (Pensar Hawk).
After almost 10km out in front, Crawley and the group were absorbed by the relentless pace of the peloton.
Daniel O’Keefe from Parramatta Racing was next to take a chance on the flat, leading the peloton for 4km before Reuben Donati (Erdinger Alkoholfrei) bridged the gap at the 106km mark.
The pair worked together to gain a 30 second lead before allowing the peloton to catch them.
With 25 kilometres to go, three riders took to the lead in the hope of gaining points in the last KOM at the 113km mark. The group soon grew to 10 and managed to hold, at times a very skinny gap, on the peloton right until the finish line.
Tomorrow’s highly anticipated 125km road race from Highfields to Bunya Mountains will see the climbers shine with five KOM sections, with the stage culminating with a steep hilltop finish.
Talbot said he had heard a lot about this finish and believed that “If you’re not up there tomorrow, I think it’s going to be very hard to get the win overall.”
Team Budget Forklifts will be aiming for the stage win tomorrow with Cupitt who is placed third overall, and Mersey Valley winner Mark O’Brien, both strong contenders in the steep course.
“I think I’m climbing quite well so it was good to get a little buffer on some of the climbers in the bunch,” Cupitt said.
Second overall and KOM jersey holder, Ben Hill (RBS Morgans) says he’s not sure he can make the impact needed for tomorrow’s hills.
“The short punchy climbs suit me and I’ll try my best to hold onto it [KOM jersey] but we’ll see,” Hill said.
The 22-year-old Canberra rider found himself in the final breakaway group after the final KOM section. Teammate Hayden Brooks soon bridged the gap to make RBS Morgans the only team to have two riders in the lead pack.
Hill says he is disappointed the pair couldn’t come up with a better result.
“Having two in the bunch was a pretty good advantage and we sort of messed up the finish a little bit. We hesitated when those guys went off the front so it was a bit unfortunate,” he said.
RBS Morgan’s go into tomorrow’s race team leaders with Racing Kangaroo’s second and Team Budget Forklifts third.
Stage 2 gets underway at 11am, with riders expected to hit the mountain top approximately 2.30pm.
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