A stunning solo attack has seen Ben Dyball (mobius Future Racing) collect stage glory and the Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania yellow jersey on Saturday, following a picturesque 103.8-kilometre Events Tasmania Stage 3 from Launceston to Poatina...
Dyball made his decisive move under beautiful blue skies at the beginning of a long climb to the finish, effortlessly passing the peloton and quickly establishing an insurmountable lead. The Sydneysider crossed the line almost a minute and a half ahead of fellow place-getters Angus Lyons (Jayco/John West VIS) and Dylan Sunderland (State of Matter/MAAP) to take the overall tour lead.
“To move into yellow is just amazing,” exclaimed Dyball following the race. “I was aiming to win the stage, but did not think I could take enough time to get the overall lead.”
Dyball now holds a seemingly unassailable 41 second advantage heading into Sunday’s final stage, where – barring a crash – the 27-year-old will be crowned 2016 Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania general classification winner. After finishing second at the 2014 edition of the race, Dyball was excited about the prospect of going one better this year.
“This is the most prestigious tour in Subaru National Road Series,” the 2011 U23 Australian road champion said. “Ever since I started riding I wanted to win this tour. It is not over until tomorrow, but I am feeling pretty comfortable.”
Satalyst Verve Racing’s Lachlan Norris earnt the most aggressive rider orange jersey after spending most of the day in a five-rider break. Despite building a sizeable lead at one point in the race, Norris – who is joining pro-continental team UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling in 2017 – was caught early on the final climb.
“I was hoping to get to the bottom of the climb with a three-minute gap, which I thought would give us a chance,” he explained. “We got out to four minutes at one point, but the peloton closed it down very quickly. They were really flying and unfortunately we could not hold them off.”
Dyball then attacked on the category one ascent, and was chased by a small group including yellow jersey wearer Chris Hamilton (Avanti IsoWhey Sport). Yet even a valiant effort by strong climbers Hamilton, Lyons, Sunderland and Chris Harper (SwissWellness Cycling Team) was not enough bring back Dyball.
“Ben was too strong,” admitted second-placed Lyons. ‘I was chasing with Chris Hamilton and could not get rid of him, so I just sat on and rolled Chris at the end. I lost some time yesterday so I was keen to make amends today.”
The Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania concludes on Sunday with the Cradle Coast Sports & Events Stage 4 criterium around the streets of Devonport. The 30-lap circuit race begins at 10.30am AEDT.