Press Release: Geelong’s Leigh Howard reined supreme winning the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland today, stamping his name firmly on top of the list of young Australian riders to watch in Europe in the future.
Stage 7 Review: 30 Lap Criterium
Jack Bobridge (Jayco AIS) took every opportunity to display his superior riding skills this morning winning the 30-lap criterium of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland, ahead of a determined David Pell (Savings and Loans).
Bobridge and Pell held fast to the lead positions, creating a gap of as much of 62 seconds at the half way mark. While the two riders continued to swap the lead Bobridge turned up gear in the last lap to sprinted to the finish in a time of 47minutes and 50 second.
Race leader Leigh Howard remained back in the chase group, choosing to stay out of trouble and protect his overall lead in the tour so far.
“I woke up feeling up for a challenge”, Bobridge commented after the win.
Cody Stevenson (Team Budget Forklifts), followed in third position, cheered over the line by the crowds lining the street of the Bairnsdale criterium
Leaving for Europe next week to join Garmin Slipstream, Bobridge has played a key role in Howard’s outstanding lead in the tour so far.
Queenslander Malcolm Rudolph currently holds the Sprint Leader Jersey, while Brett Tivers, second in the Sprint points, suffered a broken collarbone in a crash on the last lap. Criterium Jersey, while Leigh Howard wears a the Rising Star Jersey along with the Yellow Leaders Jersey, 36 seconds ahead of David Kemp.
Stage 8 Review: Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance
Queenslander, Scott Davis (Fly V Australia) took stage 8 of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland in his stride this afternoon, claiming the winners jersey with a time of 1 hour, 48 minutes and 44 seconds ahead of Andrew Roe (Team Skins) and Luke Fetch (Loy Yang Power).
The spectacular 76.8 kilometre road stage from Bairnsdale to Lakes Entrance held 6 category 4 hill climbs and 4 sprints, making way for riders to contest the King of the Mountain Jersey and secure a position in the sprint category up for grabs in tomorrow’s criterium.
Cameron Jennings (Team Budget Forklifts) leader in the King of the Mountain category going into this afternoons stage secured victory in the first two climbs of the race, riding away with a 14 point lead over Hayden Brooks (Fly V Australia) and Eliot Crowther (OEX – Team Enterprise).
Leigh Howard holds the Yellow Jersey, and while it appears to be all locked up by the young champion, he was first to announce, “the race is never over until the end”, when accepting his Young Rising Star award on the podium this afternoon.
Stage 9 Review: Paynesville
Howard displayed his skill in the saddle by taking the first sprint of the criterium before laying low behind teammates for the final stage of the tour, a 44 kilometre waterfront circuit held in Paynesville.
The Jayco AIS team of Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Davison, Glenn O’Shae, Michael Matthews and Adam Semple lead the way for Howard to break into a sprint to the finish line in a time of 58 minutes and 57 seconds.
19-year-old Howard was full of praise for his team; saying he had finished the 5-day tour feeling good and was ready to travel to Europe next week with the National Team.
Malcolm Rudolph (Team Budget Forklifts), favourite for the Sprint Jersey, fell early in the 40-lap crierium and was sent to hospital with a suspected broken jaw. He retained a narrow lead in the category to take the overall sprint jersey, David Pell claiming second place along with the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey.
Joel Pearson (Savings and Loans) leader in the Criterium category withdrew making way for Howard to gain yet another jersey in the vast array of colours the champion now carries.
Fly V Australia, managed by Tour de France rider Henk Vogals, won the team championship and placed second and third in the general classification, with David Kemp (2nd) and Hayden Brooks (3rd). Henk praising his team of 5 riders said, “without the Scody Cup Championship event, there would be a major void in Australian cycling”.
Howard currently holds the leaders position in the Scody Cup National Cycling Series with 103 points, with David Kemp on 72 and Richard Lang on 46.
The next stage of the series will be contested in Geelong from the 12th to the 16th of August.
1 HOWARD, Leigh TEAM JAYCO AIS 12:01:29
2 KEMP, David FLY V AUSTRALIA PRO CYCLING +0:33
3 BROOKS, Hayden FLY V AUSTRALIA PRO CYCLING +1:01
4 ROE, Timothy SAVINGS & LOANS CYCLING T +1:05
5 ENGLAND, Michael TEAM BUDGET FORKLIFTS +1:14
6 LOVELOCK, Jonathan JAYCO/VIS +1:23
7 SEMPLE, Adam TEAM JAYCO AIS +1:27
8 CRAWFORD, Jai SAVINGS & LOANS CYCLING TEAM +1:29
9 MATHER, Ben PRATIES CYCLING TEAM +2:17
10 BRAUNSTEINS, Daniel DRAPAC PORSCHE TEAM +2:58