In what was definitely the hardest stage of the tour so far the 106km stage from Ulverstone to Penguin was a cracker. The climb went uphill as soon as we left Ulverstone with many riders losing contact inside the first 7km. The boys were aggressive from the get go with Jai following a move and getting an advantage which caused a massive reaction from Drapac. When that move was eventually reeled in the next 30km were a series of attacks and counter attacks at the front while the poor buggers at the back just held on for dear life and tried to think happy thoughts.
Eventually the elastic snapped and a group with most of the race contenders in it went clear with Sam doing the job and sling shoting Jack across. Drapac had three riders there with both Lapthorne and Hucker the best placed on GC so they drove the pace while Jack just sat on. Behind Nathan, Jai and Sam were riding in the chase bunch with another group about 40 seconds behind and closing.
On the descent into the valley of Gunns Plains Jack had a front wheel puncture. The unwritten rule in that situation is to wait for the yellow jersey to return but that didn’t happen so Jack was forced to chase. The two chasing groups had joined behind and were hot on his heels by that point so he wisely decided to wait. The boys lead by Joe quickly strarted to chase and immediately started to close down the break. Joe’s speed was so high that riders were being spat out the back on mass and at the base of the climb they had them in sight.
As they hit the climb Nathan took over with Jack locked on his wheel with the rest peloton detonating spectacularly. Infront of them Lapthorne and Hucker had left the rest of the break behind and were desperately trying to get to the summit so they could stay clear. When they were in reach Jack made a huge effort and jumped across with Sulzberger (Drapac) and Gillet (AWS) managing to scramble across as well while Nathan just fell short and was caught in no mans land. The five quickly powered clear with Jack badly isolated. At 10km to go the inevitable happened and the Drapac boys started attacking. Jack was quick to respond though and wisely let a counter attack by Sulzberger and Gillet go as they posed no threat to his overall lead. Lapthorne was next to go quickly opening a 200m gap before Jack started to chase. Gillet was driving at the front so it turned into a time trial as he tried to stay away from Lapthorne and Jack tried not to let them get too far.
By 3km to go Jack had caught Lapthorne and was immediately countered by Hucker but he easily covered the move with the two Drapac boys raising the white flag realising Jack was too strong and they weren’t going to be able to get away. In the end Sulzberger took the win with Gillet second, Hucker third and Jack fourth.
Another great team effort today with Jack just looking better and better. Another hard day tomorrow but the boys are motivated to take this tour out and finish the year on a high.
Stage 6 Result
|1.||32||Bernard SULZBERGER (DPC)||2h44:41||10|
|2.||71||Rhys GILLETT (AWS)||+0||5|
|3.||35||Robbie HUCKER (DPC)||+29||9|
|4.||2||Jack HAIG (HGP)||+29||4|
|5.||31||Darren LAPTHORNE (DPC)||+29||1|
|6.||17||Peter HERZIG (BFL)||+1:00|
|7.||105||Alexander RAY (TTR)||+1:00||1|
|8.||43||Eric SHEPPARD (STR)||+1:00|
|9.||151||Justin GASSNER (VZB)||+1:00|
|10.||93||Oscar STEVENSON (VIS)||+1:00|
General Classification (After Stage 6)
|1.||2||Jack HAIG (HGP)||12h03:10|
|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)||+5:07|
|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|