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Herzig and Cupitt make it 1-2 for Budget Forklifts at Grafton to Inverell

Alex Malone

Rudolph takes final spot on podium

Peter Herzig and Michael Cupitt (Budget Forklifts) cross the finish line in Inverell

Peter Herzig and Michael Cupitt (Budget Forklifts) cross the finish line in Inverell

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Budget Forklifts put on a dominant display at the final National Road Series race of the year by taking the top two spots at Grafton to Inverell. Peter Herzig won the 228km race ahead of teammate Michael Cupitt after the duo had been on the attack for most of the day. The Budget Forklifts riders broke away from the 15-man escape group once the race hit the grueling Gibralter Range and once the two had reached the top, the peloton never saw them again.

It didn't take long for the day's breakaway to establish itself at this year's Grafton to Inverell. Those looking to give themselves a head-start on the 17km Gibralter climb were prompt in initiating the day's move. After 30km and at the top of the first KOM at Cattle Creek approximately 15 riders clipped off the front.

Kristian Juel (Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer EDi Mining) took maximum points on the day's first climb, followed by Peter Herzig (Budget Forklifts) and Henry Morley (Plan B Racing).

With most of the big teams represented, the group was given plenty of time over the peloton. Genesys Wealth Advisers, Budget Forklifts, GPM-Wilson Racing, Plan B Racing, Team Down Under and Erdinger Alkoholfrei were all present in the move and with no Drapac team at the final NRS race of the year, the gap quickly grew heading towards the first sprint outside the Mann River Caravan Park.

Sam Rutherford (GPM-Wilson Racing) knows this race well, having finished 3rd in 2010 after being in the early breakaway that remained off the front for almost the entire day. Rutherford won the first sprint in Mann River, with Jack Anderson and teammate Nick Woods (Team Down Under) taking the remaining points.

Rutherford's GPM-Wilson Racing team entered the race with plenty of options; Chris Jory was a pre-race favourites while Caleb Jones was also active in last year's breakaway.

With the Gibralter Range almost upon the breakaway group, a few riders began to drop off the back while the gap was sitting around eight minutes at the base of the 17km ascent that climbs over 1,000m in elevation.

It didn't take long for last year's U23 national road champion Ben Dyball (Genesys Wealth Advisers) to increase the pace once he heard the time gap was coming down. Dyball's climbing ability was on show and riders quickly began to get dropped from the leading group, leaving 10 riders off the front at the 82km point.

It was Herzig and Cupitt (Budget Forklifts) however, who were the real aggressors and promptly attacked from the lead group and set off to establish a gap over the break and chasing peloton – that had been reduced to around 20 riders.

With the NRS title still on the line, Budget Forklifts were clearly intent on making the race difficult for the Genesys team who needed Anthony Giacoppo to finish inside the top-five in order for him to take the overall NRS title from Luke Davison. Davison could not attend the race due to national team track commitments however Budget Forklifts team director Cameron Watt had already told Cyclingnews the title was "an added bonus" prior race.

Meanwhile the shrunken peloton were slowly closing in on the breakaway at the 120km mark with the lead of the two Budget Forklifts riders extending to over four minutes.

The peloton finally caught up with the 10-odd man breakaway while Herzig and Cupitt were over five minutes ahead with 100km to go. Genesys and GPM-Wilson Racing took control of setting the tempo in pursuit of the Budget leading duo.

GPM-Wilson Racing had five riders in the chasing bunch and showed their intentions by placing Alex Wong and Ed White on the front of the along with a few Genesys riders. Herzig and Cupitt were putting everything into their move and extended their lead to seven minutes with just under 80km to go. With plenty of difficult terrain still to overcome, the bunch would still need to work hard to bring these two back.

The work at the front of the chasing peloton meant the gap steadily decreased and it had dropped below six minutes after 155km. By the time the bunch rolled through the feed zone at Glenn Innes the leading two were slowly coming back. The gap was down to a little over five minutes.

With the gap steadily being reduced it appeared the final climbs at Wire Gully and Gibsons Hill would, like last year, prove to be the decisive moments in the race. Herzig and Cupitt were still pushing along and with less than 20km remaining their lead was under two minutes.

Even with the tough final push up Gibsons Hill, Herzig and Cupitt managed to retain their lead on the fast descent into Inverell. The bunch had the Budget Forklifts duo in sight coming toward the line but the catch was too late. Herzig took the victory with Cupitt in second Drapac's Malcolm Rudolph, riding for the Aussie Hotel Inverell team, won the sprint for third.


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Peter Herzig (Team Budget Forklifts) 6:13:39  
2 Michael Cupitt (Team Budget Forklifts)    
3 Malcolm Rudolph (Aussie Hotel Inverell) 0:00:29  
4 Michael Troy (Aussie Hotel Inverell)    
5 Chris Jory (GPM Wilson Racing)    
6 Sam Rutherford (GPM Wilson Racing)    
7 Blair Windsor (Team Budget Forklifts)    
8 Caleb Jones (GPM Wilson Racing)    
9 Stuart Mulhern (Team Down Under)    
10 Jason Spencer (Team Budget Forklifts)    
11 Nathan Elliott (Brunswick CC)    
12 Samuel Wood (Data#3 CISCO)    
13 Nathan Earle (Genesys Wealth Advisers)    
14 Saxon Irvine (Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer)    
15 Correy Edmed (Pensar Hawk Racing)    
16 Kristian Juel (Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer)    
17 Mark O'Brien (Team Budget Forklifts)    
18 Peter Smith (Plan B Racing Team)    
19 Daniel Wilson (Hamilton Pine RW)    
20 David Melville (Data#3 CISCO)    
21 Daniel Pinczewski (SUVelo Racing)    
22 Ben Dyball (Genesys Wealth Advisers)    
23 James Szollosi (Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer)    
24 Mathew Marshall (Team Down Under)    
25 Nicholas Woods (Team Down Under) 0:01:50  
26 Chris Beeck (Plan B Racing Team) 0:02:49  
27 Shaun McCarthy (Team Budget Forklifts) 0:04:34  
28 Anthony Giacoppo (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 0:07:37  
29 Samuel Davies (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 0:08:37  
30 Jack Anderson (Team Down Under)    
31 Jonathon Lovelock (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 0:15:40  
32 Alex Wong (GPM Wilson Racing)    
33 Edward White (GPM Wilson Racing)    
34 Campbell Flakemore (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 0:18:04  
35 James Swadling (Northern Sydney CC) 0:20:10  
36 Brenton Jones (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 0:20:23  
37 Henry Morley (Plan B Racing Team)    
38 Anthony Kellen (Ffast CC)    
39 Sam Stow (Pensar Hawk Racing)    
40 Oliver Dharma-Ratne (Manly Warringah CC)    
41 Jacob Kauffmann (Manly Warringah CC)    
42 Thomas Patton (Parramatta Racing Team)    
43 Hadleigh Milligan (Pensar Hawk Racing)    
44 Damien Wright (Lifecycle CC)    
45 Ben Jesberg (Ipswich CC)    
46 Samuel Layzell (Kooragang Open CC)    
47 Bradeley Hall (Plan B Racing Team)    
48 Antony Dimitrovski (Parramatta Racing Team)    
49 Brendan Jones (Aussie Hotel Inverell)    
50 Etienne Blumstein-Jones (Canberra CC) 0:20:30  
51 Wesley Hurrell (Parramatta Racing Team)    
52 Tomas Szollosi (Pensar Hawk Racing) 0:38:14  
53 Joshua Apolony (Pensar Hawk Racing)    
54 James Stretch (Aussie Hotel Inverell) 0:38:17  
55 Brad Hannaford (SUVelo Racing) 0:45:16  
56 Nathan Bonavius (SUVelo Racing) 0:45:21  
57 Tamas Allanby (SUVelo Racing) 0:45:32  
58 Ronald Visser (SUVelo Racing)    
59 Tom Petty (SUVelo Racing) 0:46:17  
60 Ben Cutajar (Team Down Under) 0:46:54  
61 Brad Eastwood (Northern Sydney CC)    
DNF James Ibrahim (Plan B Racing Team)    
DNF Mark Jamieson (Aussie Hotel Inverell)    
DNF Jake Magee (GPM Wilson Racing)    
DNF Scott Law (GPM Wilson Racing)    
DNF Geoff Straub (Team Down Under)    
DNF Douglas Freeburn (Team Down Under)    
DNF Alex Wohler (Team Down Under)    
DNF Jayden Copp (Team Down Under)    
DNF Trent Carman (Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer)    
DNF Patrick Shaw (Genesys Wealth Advisers)    
DNF Luke Ockerby (Team Budget Forklifts)    
DNF Jesse Ewart (Kooragang Open CC)    
DNF Aidan Mckenzie (Uni CC)    
DNF Matthew Werrell (GC CATS CC)    
DNF Hayden Kegg (Parramatta Racing Team)    
DNF David Brown (Data#3 CISCO)    
DNF Callum O'Sullivan (Data#3 CISCO)    
DNF Samuel Volkers (Data#3 CISCO)    
DNF Todd Greenland (Parramatta Racing Team)    
DNF Daniel O'Keefe (Parramatta Racing Team)    
DNF Nicholas D'Ambrosio (Parramatta Racing Team)    
DNF Simon Hammond (Parramatta Racing Team)    
DNS Alexander Symth (Plan B Racing Team)    
DNS Joshua Taylor (GPM Wilson Racing)    
DNS Correy Edmed (Balmoral CC)    
DNS Jamie Lacey (Toowoomba CC)    
DNS Ryan Obst (Norwood CC)    
DNS Duncan Houston (Caravello CC    
Team classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Team Budget Forklift 18:41:26  
2 GPM Wilson Racing   0:00:58  
3 Erdinger Alkoholfrei - Downer EDi Mining    
4 Team Down Under   0:02:19  
5 Genesys Wealth Advisers   0:08:06  
6 Aussie Hotel Inverell   0:20:52  
7 Plan B Racing Team   0:23:12  
8 Pensar Hawk Racing   0:40:46  
9 Parramatta Racing Team   1:00:47  
10 SUVelo Racing   1:30:37