Stage one was won by Rhys Pollock who, along with a select group of other riders, were able to get away from the pack by a significant margin, making the battle for yellow restricted to a small group of about six riders.
Stage two was taken out by virtual unknown Janse Van Rensburg Reinardt, and the beautiful stage three (which meandered its way along the Great Ocean Road, taking a similar route to the 2XU Great Ocean Classic), was won by the big German, who has thighs the size of watermelons, Marcel Kittel.
Saturday was the day we were all looking forward to - the Queens Stage, a 131.6 km route around the Mornington Peninsula, which incorporated three ascents of the short but tough Arthurs Seat. I rode down to the race and took up a position in 'Bay 13', the best place on hill for channelling Tour de France, Mont Ventoux fandom. Well done Rapha and CyclingTips for creating such a great vibe on the climb. We even had our own devil, a fireman and a telletubby to put a smile on the riders faces, which was probably lost pretty quickly with the sight of two men in mankini's running along side them! The stage was taken out by Egor Silin from Russian Pro team Katusha - but more importantly, Nathan Haas rode himself inside out to take out second and put himself into the yellow jersey, just ahead of Jack Bobridge. He said afterward that he "felt a whole new level of pain" on Arthurs Seat to put himself in the box seat.
It was a windy, eclectic day on Sunday for the final leg - a criterium around the streets of Carlton. Despite the fact that Victoria's and perhaps Australia's biggest cycling event was held on the same day, the Around The Bay in a Day, there were massive crowds out on Lygon street to witness Marcel Kittel adding to his already overflowing trophy cabinet for 2011 by taking the line honours, and Haas taking the overall (as well as the green points classification jersey and the white young riders jersey!).
This win has skyrocketed Haas into the vision of the big Pro teams and I'm sure we'll learn of a new contract for the young Aussie soon enough. The final presentation was great - Haas spoke well and thanked the Genesys team for their hard work, and it was a who's who of Australian cycling, with all the SBS Cycling Central team there (Matty Keenan, Sophie Smith and Anthony Tan) and Gerry Ryan, Australian cycling stalwart and owner of the new GreenEdge international cycling team, making an appearance on the stage. The only downer was Jack Bobridge, who denied Haas's offer of a swig of champagne on the podium, and just couldn't hide the disappointment of coming second!
Check out some photos of the race below - and post a comment to voice your thoughts on the weeks racing.
|Tanny! Anthony Tan from SBS Cycling Central|
|Legends of Aussie cycling - Matty Lloyd and Adam Hansen|
|The peloton comes around Bay 13 corner|
|The finish line on the top of Arthurs Seat|
|Egor Silin as he cruises to a stage four victory|
|Haas and Bobridge as they fight for second place on the fourth stage|
|An exhausted Rhys Pollock knows he's lost yellow as he finishes on Arthurs Seat|
|Egor Silin being awarded the stage victory|
|Finishing time of Silin was actually 3:20; pretty fast all things considered|
|Haas celebrates taking yellow|
|Fast cornering on Rathdowne Street|
|Heading up Rathdowne Street|
|Janse Van Rensburg Reinardt flies onto Lygon Street|
|Alexander Serov from Russia - I think!|
|The finish line on Lygon Street|
|Matty Keenan interviews Gerry Ryan|
|Marcel Kittel celebrates his stage win|
|Janse Van Rensburg Reinardt takes out the Most Aggressive Rider jersey|
|Luke Davison takes the King of the Mountain jersey|
|Genesys Wealth Advisors Team takes out the teams clasification|
|Haas celebrates his victory|
|(Left to Right) Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (3rd), Nathan Haas (1st), Jack Bobridge (2nd)|