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Sunderland stunning, but lead still elusive

A THIRD stage win from five starts wasn’t enough to lift Western Australian Scott Sunderland into the general classification lead as the Tour of the Great South Coast hit Victoria.
Nanjing Night Net

Sunderland backed up his victories in stages two and three–both in South Australia–by outsprinting his rivals to winstage five, a 92.9-kilometre road race from Heywood to Casterton on Friday.

COLOUR AND LIFE: The Tour of the Great South Coast field pedals along the roads of Portland during stage four on Friday. Picture: Con Chronis

The Budget Forklifts star held out Patrick Bevin (Avanti) and German Raphael Freienstein (Charter Mason).

The result continued an unlucky run forBevin, who has a trio of runner-up effortsandhas finished no lower than fourth but is yet to crack a win.

Earlier on Friday, KiwiBrad Evans (Pat’s Veg) took the honours in stage four, a 40km criterium around the Portland waterfront. He edged out Freienstein and another Charter Mason rider, Daniel Fitter.

The tworesults combined to lift Freienstein to the top of the general classification standings. He has a two-second advantage on Bevin with three stages to go.

Budget Forklifts team director Shaun McCarthy said he was rapt with how Sunderland, a London Olympian with hopes of representing Australia in the teams’ pursuit at Rio next year, had fared.

“Scott is from a track sprint background, he’s in a transition period to road cycling. We’re pretty happy with how he’s tracking,” he said.

“Today in paticular showed how far he’s come from last year. He raced a few National Road Series races last year and any time it went over any sort of incline, he was in difficulty.

“Today he seemed to get through no problem and was able to finish it off at the end.”

McCarthy said Budget Forklifts was working in tandem with Cycling Australia track endurance coach Tim Decker to get Sunderland to the Olympics.

“We were able to tie in what they wanted to do and what we wanted to do,” he said.“It’s been a good partnership between us and Cycling Australia and the guys personally, they’ve done a fantastic job.”

He believed the time bonuses for winning stages did not need increasing, despite the dominant riderbeing 31 seconds off the pace.

“If they want to fall in line with the way European racing runs, you can’t have 30 seconds up for grabs in a 36km crit. You could be on bunch time every day and finish the tour a minute down,” he said.

Freienstein, whohails from Kaiserslautern,is visiting Australia for the fifth time. He is hoping to improve on his best tour finish, third in 2014.

“We have some great young riders like Sam Crome, Ben Hill and Daniel Fitter in our team, so we will see what happens over the next two days,” he said.

The Tour of the Great South Coast continues on Saturday with a 40kmcriterium at Koroit and a 104.3km road race from Koroit to Peterborough, via the Great Ocean Road.

The National Road Series event wraps up with a 50km criterium at Port Fairy.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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