2013 Grafton to Inverell winner Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) has won the opening stage of the FKG Tour of Toowoomba, the third event on the men’s Subaru National Road Series calendar.

Anderson, who represented Australia at the UCI Road World Championships in 2009, used his experience to out-sprint breakaway companions Michael Schweizer (African Wildlife Safaris) and Daniel Fitter (CharterMason) for line honours.

“I’ve been contemplating retiring from cycling, and then something like this happens it makes you reconsider. It’s nice to have the week off work and come up here with a good bunch of guys and get the win,” said Anderson who has re-joined Budget Forklifts after riding with Drapac Professional Cycling in 2014.

Queensland’s Anderson and Fitter chased down a late solo attack from Germany’s Schweizer who had managed to gain a strong 50 second lead in the closing 15 kilometres.

“When I attacked it was more to bring Michael and Dan back, it wasn’t to get away. So when I found myself off the front I didn’t think it was a position to be in. But in the end, once I got to Dan we worked well to close the gap to Michael and it was a good honest sprint to the line.”

A record field of 152 riders set out for the 153 kilometre road race from Nobby to Highfields in overcast conditions.

A fast paced start meant the peloton had covered 50 kilometres in the first hour, with 88 kilometres covered before the main break of the day established.

“It is always really aggressive at the start of a Tour, because everyone has fresh legs. With only four riders here, we had to be very selective while still trying to be represented in all the important moves,” explained Anderson.

Anderson and Fitter were present, along with Avanti’s Patrick Shaw. When a larger group of 22 riders joined the trio, the gap blew out to a three minute advantage.

“When the three of us got away, both the other guys were riding super hard and with 70 kilometres left to race I wanted to pace myself, which paid off.”

With 15 kilometres left to race, Schweizer tried his luck at a surprise stage victory but it wasn’t to be.

“Avanti, Budget and CharterMason all had good riders in the break, so we were all looking at each other a bit. It was kind of a mess to keep the break rolling so I took my chance and just rolled off the front,” said Schweizer, 31.

“I waited a bit before the two riders caught me, I think we were all a little tired. I’m a sprinter so I should of been able to win out of three guys, but it just didn’t happen today.”

Day two of the Tour includes a 9 kilometre individual time trial before a 168 kilometre road race around the Helidon region.

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