It's been a patient wait for Neil Van Der Ploeg (search2retain p/b health.com.au) to capture what had been an elusive stage victory in the Subaru National Road Series. The former mountain biker has been one of the most consistent sprinters this season, picking up podium placings at the NRS season-opener at Tour de Perth, followed by Battle on the Border and the FKG Tour of Toowoomba but it was the final day in the Queensland race that finally satisfied the victory-hunger of the search2retain p/b health.com.au rider.
Riding aggressively throughout the 50km criterium around Queen's Park, Van Der Ploeg earned enough points through intermediate sprints to overhaul the day's sprint classification leader leader Jack Anderson. At the finish he capped off what had been a tour of mixed emotions for the team, after the squad's general classification hope punctured out of the running at a critical time on the final ascent to Bunya Mountains on Stage 2, to scalp his first NRS victory.
In this exclusive video with Van Der Ploeg talks about the final day of racing and the feeling of finally taking to the top step after so many near-misses this year.
"It was really relieving to get the win," he told Cyclingnews. "I felt like I owed it to the team to finally get a win for them. They always work really hard, especially for the sprint jersey. It's fantastic."