Cooper Proves Kiwis Can Fly

 

Big Bad Joe Cooper stole the stage today when he rode away from the splintering break he had been part for the entire stage. The stage represented the last real hurdle for Jack with only the Devonport Criterium to come.The plan today was to keep the GC threats in Hucker and Lapthorne (Drapac) and Talbot (CAT) safely in the peloton while allowing a break to go up the road so the boys could defend comfortably. We knew Drapac would throw everything at us but we also knew if we allowed a couple of them to get into the break that it would stop them from being too aggressive behind. The trick was to allow it to get out far enough that it would be to big to jump across but not let it go so far that it got dangerous.

The stage was aggressive from the start but the move slipped away quite quickly and we just lt it go. Joe had done the job and found himself in there which gave us even more freedom as we knew that if it looked like surviving he could go for the win towards the end. The team controlled the peloton beautifully with all the seven of them sitting at the front with Jack safely tucked in behind. Drapac had a few digs on the climbs as we knew they would but Nathan, Jai and Jack were onto them immediately which caused a general slowing and allowed the boys to come back up and start riding again.

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At the final categorised climb the break fell to pieces after a strong acceleration by Will Walker. Joe followed and then sensing the time was right went on with it, creating a small gap which quickly grew as he went into time trail mode. First it was 15 seconds, then 30, then 40 and then he just disappeared. Back in the peloton Euride had taken over the pacemaking and drove the bunch for Alex Edmonson is an attempt to reel the escapees in before the finish and give him a shot at the stage. But it was a case of too little to late as Joe went on to win by 1:04 with the bunch finishing on the coat tails of the remainder of the chase.

Today was probably the best I have seen the boys ride. It’s the end of a very hard tour which they have lead from the start and had to defend everyday. The cohesion and combined effort today was fantastic to watch. Team work wins races!

 

Stage 7 Result

rank no. rider (team) time/gap bonus
1. 4 Joseph COOPER (HGP) 2h10:46 16
2. 32 Bernard SULZBERGER (DPC) +49 7
3. 33 William WALKER (DPC) +49 9
4. 83 Timothy CAMERON (SKO) +49 2
5. 144 Ben GRENDA (PGN) +1:04
6. 21 Alex EDMONDSON (ERD) +1:04
7. 35 Robbie HUCKER (DPC) +1:04
8. 52 Jason SPENCER (CHM) +1:04
9. 87 Jack MCCULLOCH (SKO) +1:04
10. 71 Rhys GILLETT (AWS) +1:04

 

General Classification (After Stage 7)

rank no. rider (team) time/gap
1. 2 Jack HAIG (HGP) 14h15:00
2. 35 Robbie HUCKER (DPC) +1:43
3. 161 Brodie TALBOT (CAT) +3:02
4. 31 Darren LAPTHORNE (DPC) +3:08
5. 1 Nathan EARLE (HGP) +4:13
6. 33 William WALKER (DPC) +4:43
7. 3 Jai CRAWFORD (HGP) +6:06
8. 52 Jason SPENCER (CHM) +6:12
9. 17 Peter HERZIG (BFL) +6:17
10. 43 Eric SHEPPARD (STR) +7:13