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“Second day in a row, second time on the podium, Drapac’s happy," Cantwell says







06.02.2014 @ 10:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After William Clarke's third place in the prologue, sprinter Jonathan Cantwell made it two podiums in a row for Drapac when he was only beaten by Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) in the sprint on stage 1. Having lost all his momentum due to a collision in the final sprint, Cantwell was pleased to continue the team's run of success.


Jonathan Cantwell held firm in the Stage 1 sprint finish of the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour to take home Drapac Professional Cycling’s second podium in as many days with third place in Ballarat. The 31-year-old finished strongly despite illness and a minor collision between his sprint rivals to finish behind winner Nathan Haas (Garmin Sharp) and Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge).


Cantwell said that his experience in Ballarat certainly paid dividends on Thursday.


“It’s always good when you know the course and you always know what it’s going to be like,” he said. “It makes a massive difference.”


All six members of the Drapac squad finished in the front group of 38 riders, which finished 15 seconds ahead of the second group on the road. According to Directeur Sportif Agostino Giramondo, “It shows that we’ve got the depth in our squad.”


“We all rode really well,” explained Lachie Norris, one of Drapac’s General Classification contenders, who opened his KOM tally by claiming third place over the second climb of the day. “When GreenEdge tried to make the move on top of the KOM we had three guys [Norris, Cantwell and Clarke] there straight away and then Lappers [Darren Lapthorne] and … Jack [Anderson] and Jordan [Kerby] came across just after that so it was a really good ride by everyone. I think it puts us in a good position for the week.”


Will Clarke, who played a role in splitting the bunch after the first KOM, maintains third place on GC (+9s) with Cantwell next best in eighth (+12s). Jordan Kerby’s prospects in the Under-23 classification also improved with his ride today, moving into second place just one second behind Harry Carpenter (03:07:19).


Directeur Sportif Agostino Giramondo explained that he was “very happy” with the Stage 1 result.


“Today I thought the break was going to go and we had three in the break which was good for us – we had Lachie there and Cantwell to finish it off,” he explained. “Unfortunately it came back with about 25km to go which meant then we had six riders in the leading group which is better for us.”


Clarke was the first rider to come into the finishing straight after a technical kilometre and a half through the back streets of Ballarat. That set up the lead out for Cantwell.


“Coming into the sprint I knew I had to be on Matt Goss or Steele Von Hoff,” Cantwell explained. “With about 250m to go as I’m sort of about to step up to the right – Von Hoff and Gossy collected each other. Steele pulled his foot and almost threw me over the barriers so I lost a lot of, all my momentum, so all I could do was just hold the wheel and hold my position.”


Cantwell, grateful to recover as well as he did, was still satisfied with his result.


“Second day in a row, second time on the podium, Drapac’s happy,” he said.


The race continues with tomorrow's 165km stage from Ballarat to Bendigo that sends the riders up the category 1 Mount Alexander 50km from the finish. However, a fast descent and flat run-in to the finish means that some kind of sprint is expected at the end.



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