Early leaders in the epic mountain bike race, Terra Australis, were outclassed again by Beijing Olympian Dan McConnell and Luke Fetch in stage five. The TORQ Allstars repeated the pace and pressure again today and finally were rewarded with the leaders' jersey.
After four days in the lead, the Total Rush team of Mark Fenner and Sam Bach finally relinquished their jerseys to the TORQ Allstars. Despite winning the last four stages, it was only after this win that McConnell and Fetch finally managed to get the advantage by leading the overall time by just under 20 min.
This stage proved to be the turning point of the race and it was obvious that every team had a different race plan. The plan that proved most successful was the TORQ pair of McConnell and Fetch. The loop around Bright had riders getting a wide variety of climbing which ranged from long hard grinds to short sharp pinches.
The recent bushfires that destroyed the lives and homes of many Victorians were not forgotten today, as much of the original course had been affected. Organizers were able to amend the course which proved successful.
Today riders will depart and finish from Beechworth. The final stage on Saturday departs from Beechworth before the finish in the city of Wangaratta. The leading riders are expected to arrive at the Apex Park by 11.30 am with presentations planned for 1.30 pm.
At least three of the Terra Australis riders, Dan McConnell (Bruthen), Katherine O'Shea (Bendigo/Port Melbourne) and Zoe King (Neutral Bay) will then prepare to head overseas in the next few days to compete in the Mountain Bike World Cups which start in South Africa the following weekend.