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by Matt de Neef
May 15, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Nairo Quintana climbs into maglia rosa on stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia; Anna van der Breggen wins the women’s Amgen Tour of California; Marcel Kittel takes opening-stage honours at the men’s Amgen Tour of California; Clément Venturini takes overall honours at the Four Days of Dunkirk; Michael Storer and Lucas Hamilton go 1-2 at the GP Industrie del Marmo; Neil van der Ploeg wins the Grafton-Inverell in record time; Grace Brown takes victory in the Mersey Valley Tour; Nightmare for Team Sky and other GC favourites as police moto causes Giro crash; Wout Van Aert to focus on the road in 2018; Video – The dangers of riding alongside stopped traffic; Video – Bike falls off back of a car.
Victoria’s Neil van der Ploeg (IsoWhey-SwissWellness) has won the 57th edition of the Grafton to Inverell, the first race in the 2017 men’s Subaru National Road Series (NRS). Van der Ploeg took the sprint victory from a group of five at the end of the gruelling 228km race, edging out Mathew Ross (Carnegie Caulfield) in second, and Ayden Toovey (NSWIS) in third.
Image: Bruce Wilson – Veloshotz
“At the end of the Grafton to Inverell, it is just a case of who has some legs left in the final sprint,” said van der Ploeg after crossing the line 12 minutes ahead of the previous race record. “Special thanks to the whole team. We have a great team and they all did really well. I have a lot to be thankful for. Big thank you to Pat (Lane), he had some mechanical trouble today, but he put in a great effort and basically set me up for it.”
Earlier in the race Nathan Elliott (IsoWheySports-SwissWellness), Leighton Cook (Veris) and Toovey broke away from the peloton but the trio was caught before the top of the infamous Gibraltar Range climb. Another trio, Sam Crome (IsoWheySports-SwissWellness) Sean Trainor (AMR Renault) and Peter Milostic (Rauland), was the next group to get away, gaining three minutes over the bunch, before Elliott, Dylan Sunderland (NSWIS) and Ryan Thomas (Olivers Real Food) bridged to form a six-rider lead group.
The race splintered as many riders attacked in the final 50km, and it was a nine-rider group that emerged in the closing kilometres. And when it came time for the sprint, van der Ploeg proved too strong, winning the first men’s National Road Series race of the year and taking the lead in the series’ individual classification.
The men’s NRS continues on July 26 with the Tour of the Great South Coast.
Follow the link for full results from the 2017 Grafton to Inverell.