NRS - National Road Series

NRS - National Road Series

Thomas Second at South Coast

22 year old Ryan Thomas has secured Oliver's Racing's first ever podium in a National Road Series (NRS) tour general classification. Finishing the 500km, 6 stage _PORT OF PORTLAND-FULTON HOGAN TOUR OF GREAT SOUTH COAST in second place overall just 16 second adrift of Kiwi winner Brad Evans (Drapac-Pat's Veg) & just 1 second ahead of Evans' teammate Liam White. The Inverell boy who now lives in Brisbane, demonstrated that he has only gained strength in his 18 month absence from competing in Australia's premier road series. Taking a big time advantage on a decisive 137.6km stage 3 which started and finished in Port MacDonnall. It was in the crosswinds that Thomas, with the help of his teammates Rien Schuurhuis & Jack Sutton, along with 18 other riders, managed to gain a time advantage of over 5 minutes on the rest of the competition in appalling conditions. The tour started well for Oliver's, with Sean Whitfield taking 5th place in the opening stage 1 criterium held in Mt Gambier, followed by a 2nd place to Scott Sunderland (Isowhey Sports-SwissWellness) in the tours second stage later that afternoon. However it was the crosswinds and rain of Stage 3 that defined the tour and shaped the final overall classification. With the wind gusts of 50 km/h expected to cause havoc from a left hand turn at kilometer 8 of the stage. The Oliver's Racing team positioned themselves well and had 5 riders present in a group of 22 riders split off the front of the main field thanks to the pressure of all teams trying to ride the front. Included in this split was Robbie Hucker & Scott Sunderland (Isowhey), Jesse Coyle & four of his Mobius Future Racing teammates, & Drapac-Pat's Veg trio Brad Evans, Liam White & Matt Ross. Unfortunately less than 10kms later, Sean Whitfield & Nick White were caught up in a crash in the lead group, forcing them back to the peloton leaving Thomas with teammates Schuurhuis & Sutton for company. The lead group only gained time all the way to the finish, and with 20kms to go Schuurhuis & Thomas formed a breakaway of 5 riders which also included Drapac-Pat's Veg duo Brad Evans & Liam White and Jesse Coyle of Mobius Future Racing. The 5 would gain just over a minute on the line, making the Tour a very close and tactical race in the final three stages. After an undulating stage 4 ending in a bunch sprint from Heywood to Casterton, where Sean Whitfield finished 4th, it was onto Saturday, and the final road stage, a challenging 121km four lap circuit race at Cape Bridgewater. With the weather conditions not proving as difficult as predicted, it was Robbie Hucker (Isowhey) who tried a breakaway and was joined by Matt Ross (Drapac-Pat's Veg). With the duo threatening the overall positions of Ryan Thomas (Oliver's) & Jesse Coyle (Mobius), it was down to their two teams to chase and catch the escapees. With 5kms to go they were caught and in the sprint finish it was Scott Sunderland who again took victory. The final stage of the tour would be a 30 lap criterium in the seaside Port of Portland. With time bonuses on offer on every second lap at the finish line, it was a tactical and physical battle between the top 6 riders in the overall classification. Despite being caught in a crash in the final stages. Thomas did enough to secure second place overall at the finish of the tour. Oliver's teammate Rien Schuurhuis also finished a gallant 5th overall after supporting Thomas throughout the stage race. With the NRS rankings yet to be confirmed, it is expected Ryan Thomas will move into second overall in the under 23 classification, and his Oliver's Real Food Racing team into 3rd place in the teams standings. QUOTES RYAN THOMAS: "We had a great tour with a couple of podiums and 2nd on GC - I'm really happy with that. We've come in with really great form and the Oliver's guys were unreal yesterday pulling the time back to keep me up on GC."

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