Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit Hosts Stage 2 of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland
With a fastest lap time of 5min 34secs these were not the normal type of bikes seen at the famous seaside circuit however the contest was just as fierce.
Russell Gill (Euride Racing) claimed the stage ahead of Ben Grenda (Polygon Australia) and teammate Robert John McCarthy. Having raced extensively across Australia and Asia with the now defunct Savings and Loans team, Gill has been out of the headlights in recent years. After saddling back up with the South Australian based Euride Racing team, today’s victory puts Gill’s name firmly back on the Australian cycling map.
“We really banked on myself and Robert for the bunch finish and I’m very happy to come away with the win,” Gill said following the win.
“It’s been a slow start to the year for me, I’ve come back from a fractured skull I suffered in a crash in January, so this is great.”
Ben Grenda (Polygon) now moves into the overall lead after Anthony Giacoppo (Huon-Genesys) finished the stage in ninth. Although remaining on the same time, Giacoppo surrendered his race leader’s jersey to Grenda owing to a countback. Grenda signalled his strength earlier in the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) by claiming the fourth stage at the Tour of Toowoomba. This strength was on show again with a 3rd in the morning’s stage and a second in the afternoon kermesse around the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit. Although the two podium finishes left Grenda ruing two missed opportunities for a stage win, taking the overall lead is consolation enough.
“I’m very happy to be in yellow,” said Grenda with two podium finishes to his name on the opening day of the tour. “With the shorter stages today, the likelihood of people being on the same time was pretty high.
“Genesys probably have a little bit more horsepower than us but we’ll do our best to stay up the front anyway. We’re definitely trying to win the race so that means defending the jersey tomorrow.”
As is often the case on such fast circuits, breakaway attempts are short lived and generally considered suicidal. But as is the case, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of those ready to throw themselves into the fray.
As the race drew to a close Stuart Smith (search2retain p/b health.com.au) surged clear and attempted to steal the show from the sprint favourites. Smith was keen to show what he could do back at sea level but the peloton had different ideas. His maximum advantage of 8 seconds at two laps to go was readily shut down as the regular pre sprint tussling began.
At the bell lap the Euride Racing team had formed at the front to set up their sprint train. As Alex Edmondson has previously said, Euride’s selflessness is only surpassed by their strength, and they confirmed this by delivering Gill to a resounding victory.
For further inquiries call the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on 03 5952 2710