Team Type 1's Matt Wilson pulled on the green-and-white polka-dot Cyclismo Bendigo King of the Mountains jersey after stage three on Wednesday at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Wilson, the winner of the 2007 edition of the race, saw his achievement as a step along the way to defending his title.
Wilson was the first rider over the top of the category one climb that came 25 miles from the finish of stage three in Marysville. He went on to finish seventh in the 85-mile (137 km) stage, the longest in the seven-day event, and his performance moved him into 13th overall.
Baden Cook (Barloworld) was Wednesday's winner, ahead of Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United Pro Cycling) and Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS). Wilson and his team-mate Glen Chadwick were part of a 16-rider group that finished in front of a peloton that shattered due to the two's aggressive riding. Chadwick sits in seventh position, 35 seconds behind overall leader Stuart O'Grady (CSC Saxo Bank).
"Matt and Chady looked really solid on the climb today. They took several shots but did not get much cooperation," Director Ed Beamon said. "Chady went hard at the top with Matt coming around for top points. Unfortunately, 10 kilometers of descent allowed some dropped guys like O'Grady, Rollin and Clarke to get back on."
Wilson now leads the King of the Mountains competition by 16 points over Hugo Sabido (Barloworld). While the 2004 Australian national road champion could become the fourth rider from Team Type 1 to win a mountain competition at a stage race this year, Beamon said Wilson's focus is on winning the race again overall. Only 50 seconds down, he is one of 17 riders within a minute of lead. Last year, he won the race by a scant two seconds.
"Tomorrow [Thursday] the climb is more difficult and the finish is at the top," Beamon said. "Matty is in good shape for the KOM, but we'll be riding for (the) GC."
On Thursday, racers will tackle a 115km stage with a 16km final ascent to the summit of Mt. Buller, the last rated climb of the race.
See Cyclingnews'full coverage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.