By John Trevorrow in Melbourne
Australian Matt Wilson (Unibet), so often a worker, stepped up and produced the ride of his life in stage seven to hang on to his three-second advantage over Swiss Steve Morabito (Astana ) and win his first Jayco Herald Sun Tour overall.
"This is just unbelievable," an overjoyed 30 year-old Wilson said. "It has been a tough road over the past couple of years and I knew I had to produce a good ride this week."
Although Wilson was obviously excited, that was nothing compared to his mum Lesley who was crying tears of joy and shaking with emotion when her son crossed the line. "This is just beautiful and it couldn't happen to a nicer young man," a proud Mrs. Wilson said.
"This is my best ever win and it has attracted some attention from interested teams." Wilson produced his most impressive performances up the slopes of Falls Creek and in the penultimate time trial. "I have shocked myself a few times in this race and I am starting to believe in myself a lot more. [Team-mate] Baden [Cooke] has always said I could win a lot bigger races and now I'm starting to believe it too."
Wilson's best mate Cooke was the happiest man in Melbourne after the finish. "I can tell you that if you had given me the choice before the start, of either Matty or I winning this Tour, I would have said Matty without a moment of hesitation. Matty has helped me over many years and given up his own chances, to help me in big events.
"We have been mates since we were quite young but we got really to be close when we raced together in Italy on the AIS [team]," said Cooke. "Then we both had our problems with me having a year out with tendon problems and Matty having a much more serious battle with cancer." Wilson overcame Hodgkin's disease and briefly quit the sport.
"I then got a contract in the states with Mercury and as soon as Matty came good he joined me on the team. We have been racing together ever since and I can't believe it's about to stop. Our Unibet team is finishing and I have a deal with Barloworld and as yet there isn't a place for Matty. I think we'll just have to try and change that," finished Cooke.
Queenslander Aaron Kemps (Astana) bookended the event after sprinting away from his two breakaway opponents, American Scott Zwizanski (Bissell-Priority Health) and Dutchman Camiel Deni (Netherlands' National Team). Kemps also won the pre tour criterium in Bendigo as well as the third stage into Beechworth.
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