AFRICAN Wildlife Safaris rider Rhys Gillett secured his maiden national road series stage victory with a sprint finish in stage 5 of the Tour of Tasmania yesterday.
The 23-year-old finished ahead of Drapac duo William Walker and Bernard Sulzberger after launching a devastating solo effort inside the final 20 kilometres to bridge across to a breakaway group, which had begun to falter as they hit the challenging final climb to Great Lake.
``We had James [Rendall] in the initial break so the pressure was off for our team,'' Gillett said.
``One of the Charter Mason guys tried to cross the gap and I went with him, but when he decided to go back to the bunch I kept going on my own.
``I got James to give one massive turn to increase the gap to the peloton, and as soon as the break started to pull away [from the peloton] I just sat up a bit.
``Coming into the finish, I hit the break with Walker and Sulzberger and drove it to the line.''
The Adelaide-born rider's victory was also the development team's first in the national road series.
``I had all my teammates around me, they rode awesomely today,'' he said.
``There were some points when we were cruising along at 65 to 70 kilometres per hour on the flat and they just keep me up in front and out of trouble.''
Jack Haig (Huon-Genesys) retains the yellow jersey with a 1.48 lead over Robbie Hucker (Drapac) after the young rider finished in a bunch - 42 seconds behind the leaders.
Brodie Talbot's (Caterpillar) efforts in the final breakaway saw him move up to third place overall, two minutes 27 seconds behind Hucker.
``The race was quite fast and hard [from the start], there were a lot of people attacking and trying to get away, but the boys did a really good job to control it,'' Haig said.
``We managed to keep it all together [in the peloton] until Brodie got away, and then he managed to [join the breakaway] and grab a bit more time on me.''
Today'sstage 6 106.2km road race from Ulverstone to Penguin will get under way at 10.30am.