Avanti IsoWhey Sports have won the first National Road Series event of the year, the time-honoured Grafton to Inverell Classic
The Avanti IsoWhey Sports team headed to Grafton late last week keen to start the 2016 NRS on the front foot. The hype around the race with the possibility of Sean Lake making history again as the race’s only three time winner dominated the media in the lead up to the event with many predicting the team would ride for Sean to secure the historic triple.
Avanti IsoWhey Sports isn’t about individuals, it’s about the team. Every rider is given the opportunity to put themselves in a position to do their best. When it is clear that there is a situation that has a high percentage of success, then they throw everything they have into making it happen – which is exactly what happened on Saturday.
Pat Shaw and Pat Lane followed the plan to perfection by representing the team in the early break of 11 riders. With many of the contenders choosing to follow Sean it was the perfect subterfuge as it instantly put them in a situation where they were forced to chase or sit back and hope the race would reform later on.
As is often the case arguments and brinkmanship allowed the gap to ballon to more than nine minutes by the Gibraltar climb, meaning that any chase that was to come would have to be organised and in it for the long haul.
After the climb the boys in the break were keen to improve their chances of victory with a series of attacks reducing the break down to just eight riders. Behind them a few teams tried to get organised in the chase but no one was prepared to commit for long enough to make a real difference. The rest of the team were doing a great job of protecting the guys in the break ensuring that the few attacks that did come were quickly snuffed out before they gained any momentum.
Pat Lane attacked at 50km to go dragging Nathan Elliot with him. They rode well together and opened up a minute gap on the chase group with Pat Shaw playing policeman and getting a free ride in the process. Over the top of Wire Gully the two at the front were still clear while behind Pat attacked the chase group going clear with Aiden Toovey from NSWIS. Behind them the main field was now only 25 riders strong with the remaining five Avanti IsoWhey boys deciding to start attacking once it was clear that the boys at the front of the race would not be caught.
Joe Cooper and Neil Van Der Ploeg were the first to escape and set about doing a two up time trial to the finish. Not to miss out, Sean Lake also managed to escape and went into time trial mode.
Back at the head of affairs despite attempting to get rid of Nathan Elliot, Pat Lane was unable to do so and so set himself for the sprint which he managed to take with a well timed jump only 200m from the line.
Pat Shaw came home for third behind Elliot with Joe Cooper 5th, Neil Van Der Ploeg 6th, Sean Lake 8th and Robbie Hucker beating home what remained of the peleton in 10th. Avanti IsoWhey Sports won the teams classification while Pat Shaw won both the King of the Mountains and the Sprint Jerseys.