Young cyclist Lionel Mawditt delightfully summed up what it feels like to join such distinguished company as Cadel Evans, Richie Porte and Cameron Meyer.
Asked about joining that trio of Australian world-beaters as winners of the Tour of Tasmania, the 22-year-old Victorian said: “It feels like a dream and I’m expecting to wake up at any minute.”
In a fascinating finish to five days of sun-drenched racing which had produced new stage winners and leaders every day, Mawditt claimed the title in awkward circumstances.
Heading into the final-stage 54-kilometre criterium in Devonport, the Inform Tineli rider had been 17 seconds behind individual James Whelan who has been staying with the team all week ahead of joining them full-time next season.
Mawditt said the team did not want to attack but seized the chance to join a 13-rider break which finished 38 seconds ahead of the main pack containing Whelan who found himself devoid of other willing chasers.
“It was a bit awkward,” Mawditt said.
“James is staying with us because he is joining us next year but everyone has been really mature about it because we didn’t want to ride against James and it was a very delicate situation.
“I thought the Tour was done for me and I would probably finish second but I just got in the break and it fell nicely for me. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Mawditt only started road racing early last year, joined this year’s National Road Series and described the result as “definitely my biggest win”.
“I had not won an A-grade race before so it’s an unreal feeling. I want to go pro and have been training hard for this, it was a big target for me.
It feels like a dream and I’m expecting to wake up at any minuteTour of Tasmania winner Lionel Mawditt
“I’d love to ride WorldTour. If I don’t get there, that’s OK, but I want to give it everything I have.”
A philosophical and sporting Whelan was among the first to congratulate his soon-to-be teammate.
“Bitter-sweet,” was how the 21-year-old summed up his emotions after missing the break.
“It was a tricky situation and very awkward.
“I missed the move and that was down to me. And when I went to the front everyone said it was my race to lose. I had to go to teams without riders in the break and ask them to ride with me but they were a bit complacent.
“That’s racing and I’m glad I’m going to be in their colours next year.”
With Whelan isolated behind them, the 13-man break stretched its lead out to 45 seconds.
This enabled Harrison Bailey (GPM Stulz) to take a sprint finish from NSWIS duo Ryan Cavanagh and Dylan Sunderland with the chasing pack 38 seconds behind.
“I wanted to get a stage win and was lucky enough to get into the move so it went really well for me,” said Bailey, 21, of Sydney.
“I’m really happy to get my first NRS win, it means a lot to me.
“It’s my third time doing this tour, it’s the pinnacle of the NRS and everyone aspires to getting results in it.
“I will definitely have happy memories of Devonport.”
Whelan’s consolation was to take the KOM category while Mawditt also won the young rider classification as Cavanagh added the final stage most aggressive rider award to his overall points victory.
TIS rider Zac Johnson, of Launceston, was the first Tasmanian overall in 21st (+5:05) followed by Wyena’s Alex Lack (Van Diemen Cycling) in 28th (+9:46).
Despite missing the final tour, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Michael Freiberg, of Isowhey, was the overall National Road Series champion for the year.
- Stage – 1. Harrison BAILEY (GPM) 1.05:30, 2. Ryan CAVANAGH (NIS) +0, 3. Dylan SUNDERLAND (NIS) +0, 4. Brendon DAVIDS (OLI) +0, 5. Angus LYONS* (MBS) +0
- General classification – 1. Lionel MAWDITT (INF) 9.30:33, 2. Angus LYONS (MBS) +12, 3. James WHELAN +23, 4. Dylan SUNDERLAND (NIS) +38, 5. Ian TALBOT (TPR) +53
- Young rider – 1. Lionel MAWDITT, 2. Angus LYONS, 3. James WHELAN
- Sprint – 1. Ryan CAVANAGH (NIS) 12, 2. Liam MAGENNIS (NIS) 11, 3. Peter LIVINGSTONE (MBS) 10
- KOM – 1. James WHELAN 22, 2. Peter LIVINGSTONE (MBS) 12, 3. Dylan SUNDERLAND (NIS) 11
- Teams – 1 Mobius Future 28.36:20, 2 AMR Renault +2:26, 3 NSWIS +6:39