Sun Tour stage 1 comments

By John Trevorrow in Williamstown

AG2R Director John Beasley was pleased to be near the lead after day one, with second place behind winners Savings And Loans. "Yeah were really happy. Three seconds is a bit of a bummer and I'm sure if we rode it again we could go quicker, but everyone only gets one go and I'm very happy with the boys." Directeur Sportif Paul Brosnan reckons his team will be the quiet achievers of this year's Jayco Herald Sun Tour. "I'm as happy as a dog with two tails," said a smiling Brosnan after his team took fifth place. "The boys are motivated and it was a good day. We only lost six seconds and the boys were keen to keep pretty well in touch with the leaders and they have done that.

"The first real stage around Bendigo should see plenty of action and I feel that there will be a lot of attacking and groups going up the road. It's just a matter of making sure the right guys are in those moves. There aren't any time bonuses on the stages so that will suit us. After the Bendigo finish we should have a much clearer idea on what's happening. At the moment it's anybody's race."

Ben Brooks (Jelly Belly, 6th) said, "We tried to keep it together for the first couple of kilometres and then get into it in the headwind. We went OK and only lost eight seconds. Danny Pate seems to be flying, he was definitely the strongest out there today. If we can keep him in reasonable contact by the time trial then he'll go alright. But you never know what it's going to be like over the next couple of days, and with the side winds it could get turned upside down."

Hilton Clarke (VIS Jayco, 8th) was in good spirits. "I've signed for Navigators again," he said. "I had a bit of success in America and I'm really happy to go forward with them." On the TTT, Clarke said, "We gave it a red hot go but we split the team apart on the way back. It was a chance we had to take. In the end it probably cost us time but we had to have a crack at it."

Hilton's teammate Johnny Clarke was slightly disappointed with the time of the Jayco team, which was 12 seconds off the pace of the winners for eighth place. "We went alright but we missed the start a bit. Brett Lancaster was always going to be hard to match and along with Hilton and Brad Norton, they were the driving forces."

Lancaster added, "The boys went alright. For most of them it was their first team time trial, so it's probably going to be their hardest ride of the week. I was a little underdone with six days off the bike with my bike not turning up."

Henk Vogels (Davitamon-Lotto, 9th): "The team went OK. We probably lost a few seconds more than we wanted but it wasn't too bad. But this race is going to be won out on the roads over the next few days. I reckon one day there is going to be a group go away and that will be the tour. We just have to make sure that we get in it.

"Gatesy is going real well and he is the only one here that's just come off a three-week tour. Personally, I was happy with my ride at the World's. It was probably one lap too long for me and one hill too many. We had to bring that move back with two laps to go and it put a dent in me and Cookie and Gerro. If we hadn't had to do that we all might have been able help Robbie in the finish."

Russell Downing (, 12th) said, "We went alright but I think we had a bit of blockage from the flight. But the proper racing begins tomorrow. I guess we are all hoping for a stage, maybe a couple of stages each."

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