After two second place finishes on stages at last week’s Tour of the Tropics, 23 year old Angus Lyons has broken through to claim his maiden National Road Series victory. Out-sprinting former Oliver’s rider Ryan Thomas (Drapac Cycling) and Sam Hill (Team Nero Bianchi) in a three up sprint on stage 1 of the Tour de Tweed which finished in Tyalgum.
Hot and windy conditions greeted the peloton at the start of the 127-kilometre road stage in Tyalgum, with constant attacks at the front of the peloton for the first 20-kilometres splitting the peloton before they even reached the Stokers Siding circuit.
With just under 60 kilometres remaining, Lyons, Thomas and Hill went clear from the group at the start of the final pass across the circuit. Working well together, the trio established a lead of 40-seconds as they made their way back along the lumpy, winding roads back into Tyalgum.
Sensing urgency, the peloton reacted and when the advantage was reduced to less than twenty seconds inside the final twenty kilometres, it appeared it would be a repeat of the earlier women’s finale.
However, the main bunch were unable to reel the trio in, with Lyons taking the win over Thomas and Hill, with the bunch finishing 38 seconds behind With the victory Lyons also claimed the race lead with two days and three stages remaining. Despite a valiant effort by his Oliver’s Racing team, Lyons was unable to defend his lead in a very difficult 148km second stage, which included 7 King of the Mountain climbs, and a dirt section which was raced over 3 times on a hard finishing circuit.
Lyons showed his form the following day, finishing second in the morning Individual Time Trial just 6 seconds off the win despite the huge effort of the previous day. The strong ride elevated him to a 10th place finish overall for the tour. Lyons and the team will now focus on the upcoming UCI 2.1 Tour d’Indonesia which starts in 1 week from Yogyakarta on the island of Java, and finishes on Bali 5 days and 825kms later.
Sam Layzell – Team Manager: “It was of course disappointing to lose the race the way we did. I put our lads on the front early to try and set the tone, show we were strong and discourage attacks, and banking on other teams interested in the stage win or a podium overall to help us towards the end. We had some bad luck with mechanicals, but in the end we ran out of guys. Frustratingly no other team came and helped us at all. I spoke to Pat [Lane – Inform-MAKE] after the race and his reason for not chasing earlier was because he has a very young team of riders. This is likely the same reason ACA and some others didn’t commit to chasing. Which I can understand. But on the flip side, I had a team with a median age of 21, and the NRS is the development series for our young up and comers to “do their cycling apprenticeship”. So I think more teams have to commit to riding more positively. Right now there’s many with a “sit on and survive” mentality. Combine that with teams already marking each other out thinking about the NRS overall series points, and you get what happened up at Tweed. My philosophy for Oliver’s is to race to win, always. So that’s what we did.”
Angus Lyons: “Pretty stoked to get an NRS victory on the board, we came close twice last week so it is nice to finally get one. It was always going to be tough to defend the race lead, we did a recon on thr course in the lead up, and we knew with the wind it would be hard on the flats and the hills and that it would be hard to control. I’m still proud of the lads for how we raced and hopefully it’s good experience for the future.”