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Toovey wins Echuca stage of cycling race

Ayden Toovey won Friday's stage of the Tour of the Murray in Echuca, while Jesse Kerrison was the overall winner.

LUKE MCMANUS AND ERIN LYONS August 4, 2014 3:47am

Ayden Toovey wins the Echuca stage.


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Mudgee cyclist Ayden Toovey warmed to Friday’s wet and windy weather to claim stage five of the Tour of the Murray in Echuca.

Toovey, 18, outsprinted rivals down the 200m entrance to Echuca Racing Club to claim line honours four seconds ahead of Port Fairy’s Darcy Woolley.

Adelaide’s Tom Kaesler, who formed part of the breakaway group which sped away with 3km remaining of the 91.7km race, rounded out the podium.

Toovey said the conditions tossed up plenty of challenges during the race, which started in Murray Esplanade and raced through Echuca, Lockington, Rochester and Nanneella.

‘‘The conditions were pretty tough, but came out on top in the end,’’ Toovey said.

‘‘It started raining and it was a bit cold but everyone was in the same boat.

‘‘I’ve raced in a handful of tours but this is the first year I’ve felt confident up with the best of them so I’m really happy with my first series win.’’

Toovey, who races for team Subaru NSWIS, owed teammate Nathan Bradshaw.

‘‘Nathan helped me out a lot to keep me at the front,’’ Toovey said.

‘‘(He) got in the first break and I was lucky enough to get in the group that bridged across.

‘‘With 3km to go, we all started looking at each other.

‘‘A few guys got up the road and we worked well together until the final few hundred metres before we sprinted to the line.’’

Overall Tour of the Murray winner Jesse Kerrison had a more difficult time on the Echuca course, crashing inside the final few kilometres, alongside then tour leader Brenton Jones.

Jones, who retained his 12-second advantage despite Kerrison’s swift recovery, made his thoughts known post-race.

‘‘It was an unfortunate incident, but that’s racing,’’ Jones said.

‘‘The crash today added more fuel to the fire.

‘‘I’ll come out bigger, better and stronger tomorrow.’’

Jones did just that until yesterday’s final leg in Yarrawonga.

The Warragul-based cyclist, who led the tour over the first six days, suffered a mechanical in the final 300m, was overtaken and finished 11 seconds behind the bunch.

The tour started with a road race from Mildura to Robinvale on Tuesday, raced through Swan Hill, Quambatook, Kerang, Cohuna, Echuca, Nathalia, Cobram, before in Yarrawonga yesterday.

■ The women’s leg of the Tour of the Murray finally kicked off on Friday with Kendelle Hodges from the Australian Institute of Sport dominating the first stage.

The fifth event in the Subaru National Road Series started from the Murray Esplanade, finishing in Yarrawonga yesterday.

Hodges, who claimed the overall women’s title after yesterday’s leg, took out the first stage of the tour just two seconds ahead of her 18-year old opponent Ellen Skerritt.

Hodges, who raced alongside teammates Georgia Baker and Tessa Fabry, said aside from the unforgiving weather conditions, it was a smooth race.

‘‘I felt good going into the race, the team and I really wanted to have a good shot at taking the win,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m really happy we could pull it off,’’ she said.

Hodges and her teammates will compete internationally in the coming weeks.

‘‘We’ve had some great results and looking forward to heading to Belgium,’’ she said.

‘‘It was good to have a win before we go.’’

Echuca rider Minda Murray, who finished in the top 20 of stage one, was grateful she was familiar with the course.

‘‘I love it, no pesky hills to get in the way. I’m not great at hills,’’ she said.

‘‘Wind is probably my forte, but today it was just so tough, it was probably about 70 per cent crosswinds.’’

The fierce conditions on Friday were the worst Murray had experienced, but she made it work to her advantage.

‘‘I’m happy with the result considering it was one of the windiest, toughest days I’ve ever ridden,’’ she said.

‘‘It was still fun in a strange way because the wind is my playground to a certain extent.’’

Bicycle Superstore and the AIS were the danger teams in the competition.

‘‘There were a couple of bigger teams there that were at the front driving it,’’ she said.

‘‘In the end of the day it’s just whether you’ve got the legs and whether the race pans out how you want it to.’’

Murray said the main concern for her was dropping off from the leading group early in the first stage.

‘‘As long as it’s a southerly and we get a tail wind into Cobram I’ll be happy,’’ she said.

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