Davids destroys NRS field to take maiden tour win

Davids claiming stage 3 of Battle Recharge. Photo: Veloshotz
Davids claiming stage 3 of Battle Recharge. Photo: Veloshotz

Brendon Davids has taken Oliver’s Real Food Racing’s first ever National Road Series (NRS) tour victory, claiming Battle Recharge, held in Northern NSW last weekend. The 23 year of South African import stamped his authority on stage 3 of the race, with a performance that will go down in history as one of the most outstanding solo performances on the Australian domestic circuit. The Oliver’s rider went solo with over 100kms to go, and with temperatures approaching 38 degrees, held off all of his adversaries. Taking the stage victory with a 6 and a half minute advantage by the time he reached the finishing line.

The tour started with a 21km team time trial, where Oliver’s placed 4th, loosing 1min 29sec to winning team Isowhey Sports-SwissWellness. However only 12 seconds shy of a podium place. In the afternoon Isowhey rider Cameron Bayley assumed the race lead by taking victory in the stage 2 criterium.

The 129km Stage 3 will go down as one of the most memorable in the recent history of the NRS. Isowhey Sports-SwissWellness were in control of the general classification by a hefty margin going into the race and were expected to ride defensively as the mercury hit 35 degrees Celsius. Ice packs and chilled water were used constantly throughout the day.

An early break went, with all the major teams well represented in the 13-man group. This saw the peloton slacken off a bit and the break did the same, with a number of passengers in the move disrupting cooperation, particularly among the major teams. Brendon Davids made the most of the disharmony to launch an attack just after the first sprint point, catapulting away from an unconcerned breakaway with over 100km remaining on the stage.

Two riders drifted off the front of the breakaway soon after, with Kane Richards (McDonalds Down Under) and Oliver Smith (Cobra9 Intebuild Racing) going clear as they set the tempo on the climb and began to try and track down the lone figure of Davids. They found the challenge a hard one, however, the gap had shot out rapidly to two minutes back to the chasing pair, with a further four minutes back to chasing group, and another two minutes to the peloton with the race leader Bayly, putting Davids into the virtual lead on the road.

What followed continued to play into the hands of Davids, a depleted Isowhey Sports-SwissWellness wasn’t keen to take up sole responsibility for tracking down the move and nobody else wanted to take up the chase, so an uneasy semi-pace was maintained until the main climbs arrived again with 50km left to race. That was the launchpad for an attack of two riders apiece from Isowhey Sports-SwissWellness (Tim Roe and Jason Lea) and two Mobius Future Racing (Peter Livingstone and James Fouche), with the quartet cooperating well and hunting down the chasing pair of Richards and Smith, who had lost impetus out on the roads.

The injection of speed brought the gap to Davids down to five minutes, but it stayed at that advantage for some kilometres before things began going poorly for the chasing group. Livingstone punctured before rejoining and Roe blew up dramatically in the heat. Fouche struggled as well, Richards and Smith had no incentive to chase and it was left for Lea and Livingstone to chase down Davids.

Davids meanwhile, had clearly saved something in reserve for the finale and rather than being brought back by the chasers, he was re-establishing his gap, pushing out his lead over the final kilometers to win the stage by six and a half minutes in one of the most emphatic wins in recent memory.

 With a lead of 5min 17 to Jason Lea in second place in the overall classification, it was up to Oliver’s Racing to defend Davids’ lead in the 121km fourth and final stage. In a mirror of the Stage 3, there were a number of attacks when the flag dropped, however, riders found staying away difficult in the hot, windy weather. Tim Roe and Jesse Coyle (Mobius Future Racing) were the first to get away, and built up a lead of over two minutes to the chasing peloton. The duo were joined by a chase group of eight riders including Oliver’s Racing’s Ryan Thomas, and the break for the day was pegged mostly at 2 to 3 minutes as Oliver’s controlled the pace of the main field.

Over the final King of the Mountain Davids was isolated with attacks from his rivals, but he quickly received help in the form of Thomas, who deliberately fell back from the breakaway to help his teammate manage the time gap in the final 40kms.

 


Quotes:

Brendon Davids: “I’m pretty proud to give Oliver’s their first NRS win, it’s a very proud moment and I’m really happy to be able to share it with them. The guys just rode superbly on the final stage to keep my yellow jersey. I’m just super impressed especially with Ryan Thomas who sacrificed his own chances in the final to make sure I kept the race lead. I must say it was pretty cool to see the whole team so committed to the cause to win this tour.”

Sam Layzell – Manager: “It’s come at a very good time, we’ve been knocking on the door now for a little while so it’s good to finally pull [an NRS win] off. It’s been such a big year already for the team and we aren’t finished yet. We are hoping to keep on moving up the NRS overall standings and really challenge the big teams in the final rounds.”

 

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