SCHWEIZER DIGS DEEP TO CLINCH TOOWOOMBA LEAD
Germany’s Michael Schweizer (African Wildlife Safaris) has sensationally clinched the FKG Tour of Toowoomba lead after finishing the penultimate stage over four minutes ahead of overnight leader Joe Cooper (Avanti Racing).
“I’m really happy that I could get the overall lead today,” said Schweizer, a former Baku Synergy rider.
“I’ve never in my life won a Tour before, I’ve been in the leader’s jersey once but now it’s a big chance for me to win this Tour.”
Schweizer was part of a select breakaway group that included other general classification contenders Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) and Keagan Girdlestone (CharterMason), but crucially missed Tour leader Cooper after he was left out-numbered in the peloton.
With 15 kilometres remaining, the 10 man breakaway was whittled down to just six riders, with stage one winner Anderson the virtual Tour leader.
However luck wasn’t on Anderson’s side, with the Queenslander suffering a mechanical over the top of the final climb.
Despite the mishap occurring inside the final three kilometres, Anderson was not awarded the bunch time as judges ruled he was not in contact with the group when the incident occurred.
“Jack and I were both struggling on the last steep bit of the climb,” explained Scheweizer. “I went past him over the top because I was riding full gas to get back, so I didn’t even realise he had a mechanical I just saw he wasn’t there.
“That’s when I gave it everything to get enough seconds to take the overall lead.”
Scheweizer finished fourth on the stage to secure a 10 second advantage to second placed Girdlestone.
Stage honours went to New Zealand’s Brad Evans (Pats Veg), who’s second consecutive stage victory moves him up to third place overall.
“I think the win yesterday gave the team and all our riders more confidence going into today,” said Evans who secured the development team’s first victory on Friday.
Evans bridged solo to the leading group inside the final 30 kilometres before out-sprinting Patrick Shaw (Avanti Racing) and Girdlestone to the line.
“No one was working in the bunch so I thought why not have a crack. I got about halfway thinking ‘what am I doing out here’, I was hurting but my legs responded. I only just caught the group on the main climb, which hurt like hell.
“Coming into the sprint, Schweizer led it out really hard, I think he was going for the Tour lead. Pat Shaw started his sprint and I bided my time and popped out and took the win.”
The championship style course saw riders tackle a 23 kilometre circuit six times, which included two short sharp climbs.
Sam Volkers (Team Scody Downunder) spent most of the day away solo, while various chase groups attempted to reel him in. Eventually the final break of the day caught him, before the pace proved too much for Volkers. His efforts earned him the prize for the Most Aggressive rider of the day.
The Tour concludes with the criterium around Queens Park in Toowoomba.