Like more than a few riders who raced Gippsland, I missed out on the inaugural Tour of the Great South Coast due to a bout of dreaded man-flu. I know that all but one of the of the Charter Mason/Drapac Development Team pulled out of the Tour of Gippsland with ilness, while many other riders from other teams became sick throughout this South Coast Tour. An indication of the stress placed on the body when racing through harsh conditions perhaps.
Such was the difficulty of this South Coast Tour that Stage 6 was cancelled due to horizontal rain and brutal winds. Stages of the NRS are not cancelled often. This is only the 2nd cancelled stage that I know of in 4 years of racing the NRS and specifically the Scody Cup (those races run by John Craven). Not only is Craven a hard man, known to test the guts of riders by sending them on roads that people wouldnt drive their cars on, but as I understand it his events company does not get paid unless the race is run.
Stages were won by hardened riders such as Gordon McCauley (Drapac Porsche,) a 40yr born and bred in NZ, say no more; Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche,) a previous national champ of the rural cycling mecca of Bendigo; and Brenton Jones (Genesys) from the lumpy dead roads of Warragul. The wins by Drapac riders were particular emotional after news filtered through that one of their previous riders, Robbie Williams had passed away last week while riding his bike. Then to further worry the team, their team leader, and current NRS points leader, William Walker withdrew on day 1 after his heart troubles resurfaced.
Search2retain, a grassroots team from Melbourne, raced above their weight and put Neil Van der Ploeg on the podium with a 3rd on GC as well as taking out the Sprint Classification. The Van der Ploeg name is synonymous with Australian mountainbiking, but it seems that they are starting to infiltrate the “Warcraft on Wheels,” according to Neil, that is road racing. The team also made a name for themselves during the afternoon of the cancelled stage when a video they posted online wet viral…. Boys in lycra, pepped up on coffee, with nothing to do, and this is what happens:
At the end of the tour it was the familiar sight of the Orange Army of Genesys Wealth Advisors and Anthony Giacoppo taking out the win overall. Genesys won the final stage with Campbell Flakemore and won half of the 8 stages raced. Furthermore Genesys finished with 4 riders in the top 10 overall. Clearly, they have again asserted themselves as the dominant team going into the second half of the season. As it seems to be the way with these crit-heavy tours, the overall GC came down to the bonus seconds won on the intermediate sprints, and to a lesser degree the KOMs. Genesys have shown themselves to be the most complete team when controlling these time bonuses. This will suit them going into the Tour of Murray that has 135 (!) sprint primes during its course.
Interestingly, early NRS leader Mark O’Brien snuck into the top 10 overall. Considering the crit bias of these current tours, and Mark being an incredible climbing specialist, you would have to think he is going to be a big danger later in the year when the lumpy Tour of Tasmania and 1-day Classics roll around.
Final General Classification
1. Anthony GIACOPPO (GEN) 12h31:35
2. Darren LAPTHORNE (DPC) +5
3. Neil VAN DER PLOEG (STR) +38
4. Jai CRAWFORD (GEN) +53
5. Campbell FLAKEMORE (GEN) +1:10
6. Patrick SHAW (GEN) +1:18
7. Jack BECKINSALE (CCW) +1:18
8. Alex CLEMENTS (PGN) +1:25
9. Mark O’BRIEN (BFL) +1:31
10. Harry CARPENTER (SAS) +1:41
2012 Tour of the Great South Coast Final Results