The plan for the day was to get Lappers in a break and hopefully take the stage win.   At about 80km to go Lappers joined Matthews (Jayco AIS) and got a 30 sec lead on the bunch.  At this point is where the chess on wheels was played.

Matt White (Garmin’s DS) drove up beside us and told us that he’s going to help us out by having the team control the race to let Lappers get away.  In reality they were just hanging Lappers out there so that Cantwell (Fly V, 2nd in GC) couldn’t gain any bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints.  If Fly V wanted to bring Lappers and Matthews back to get the time bonuses they would have to work for it.  Since Garmin is in yellow the unwritten rule is that it’s their responsibility to control the race.

The fact that Garmin let the break get a 2 minute gap meant that Fly V would end up chasing in the last 20 or 30km so they could have a go in the sprint finish.  This would mean that Fly V would have no choice but to do all the work and then Garmin would take over with fresh legs to lead out Chris Sutton.

This is precisely what happened.  At the 20km to go mark the Fly V guys got up front and drove the pace.  The rule of thumb is that it takes 10km to bring back each minute in a gap.  Lappers and Matthews had 1:50 at about 20km to go and it quickly dwindled to 40sec.  Not much more time passed before the charging peloton completely closed the gap.  At the closing kilometers the Garmin train came over top of everyone and gave Sutton a perfect leadout to take the win.  Textbook stuff!

Cantwell is only 5 seconds back so the time trial tomorrow will be another exciting stage.

Deano (on the Rapha squad) is a guy who continues to impress me.  He’s been stomping all over the crit season back in the UK and hasn’t done a road race since the Tour of Ireland (which his brother Russ won).  He’s comfortably getting over all these massive climbs and ended up 6th in the sprint finish today.  I’m excited to watch him in the Lygon St crit on Saturday to see him put on a show for us.

Here’s the video from today’s stage.  No music in there today because I wanted you to hear what was going on the same way that I did.  Enjoy…

….and some random photos from the day

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Dom joins the polar bear club

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Kristian holding off the paparazzi

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Done and dusted, kippers and custard  (John’s favorite saying of the week)

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The guys CBF today looking out at the rain.  Third last race of the season.

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Tom CBT either

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Michael and Hayden from Soul Kitchen – the two most important guys in the support crew.

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View from the convoy