Date: Friday, 24 September 2010
Posted by: Cycling Southland

Last week our team raced the Tour of Tasmania. The following involves an in depth report of the race.

Tour of Tasmania - N.R.T.S (Tas) Final Result: 10th (G.C)

Stage 1 – 20 laps of a 2.1km Crit (Strahan)
Report: It was a pretty filthy course and the bad weather just made things even more difficult. The steep climb on the back straight whittled the field down substantially by the end. I was feeling strong but just rolled around in the bunch and conserved energy for the afternoon’s stage.
Stage 2 – 90km Road Stage (Strahan to Roseberry)
Report: This afternoon’s weather involved heavy rain, snow, hail, extreme wind and cold. I have never been that cold in my life, the temperature sat on 2°C for most of the afternoon. My legs weren’t too bad but the rest of my body was useless, I had no felling from my shoulders down to my fingers. I had a bit of a dabble at crossing to the leaders in the final stages of the race but things stayed together till the finish. I was so happy to get that stage over and done with. A breakaway of two riders stayed away, I finished in the chase group.

Matt Marshall Tasmanian Tour 1

Stage 3 – 4.8km Mountain Team Time Trial (Queenstown)
Report: I woke this morning with a sore throat, most likely the start of the flu as one of the other riders in our team is already pretty crook with the virus.
The time trial went well. We posted a decent time just under 20 sec from the winners and finished 5th equal.
Stage 4 – 86km Road Stage (Queenstown to Zeehan)
Report: The stage involved a long, high speed decent though narrow roads in the rain during the first half of the race. I tried to get into some moves at the start of the race to avoid going down the decent in the main bunch, but nothing was getting away. There were a lot of crashes and riders dropping wheels, I was happy to get though it without hitting the deck. The weather turned foul again around the half way mark, there was heavy rain and a fair bit of wind which whittled the bunch down by the end. During the end of the stage we managed to get a team mate away for a solo victory.

Matt Marshall Tasmanian Tour 2
Stage 5 - 30 laps of an 800m Crit (Burnie)
Report: I pretty much rode this morning’s crit as a passenger as the afternoon’s stage is anticipated as the queen’s stage of the tour. The legs still felt reasonably good, but am already feeling the initial effects of the flu.

Stage 6 - 8 laps of a 12km circuit (West Mooreville)
Report: There were no climbs exceeding 1.5km in the circuit but the share frequency and steepness of the climbs defiantly took a toll on a lot of riders.
About 3km into the stage I managed to get up the road solo and establish a bit of a lead on the peloton. I stayed away for the majority of the first lap and ended up claiming the first two K.O.M’s and a sprint prime. I hoped that a few riders would come across to me but that didn’t happen. Not long into the second lap the peloton had just caught me so I sat up and had a bit of a breather. During that time three riders went up the road, they were given a fair bit of reign before anything else happened. Coming into the second lap there were numerous attacks, I was getting involved in most of them but I missed the vital move when 11 riders went off the front just before the start of the third lap. Most of the teams were represented in that move, so the main field sat up and quickly opened up massive time to the two groups in front. When it had become clear that the leading groups would stay away I decided to bridge across. I put in a series of attacks late into the third lap in an attempt to cross the 3min gap to the leaders, after finally getting away from the main field I began the epic trek across the gap. I took another rider with me but he blew about 15km into it. It took me around 35km to get across. By the time I made contact with the group they had just begun attacking each other, our group stayed together till the end of the stage but the lack of organisation resulted in the leading group staying away. 

Matt Marshall Tasmanian Tour 3

Stage 7 - 20 laps of a 4.3km Kermesse(Devonport)
Report:  Today was a real battle. I must have gone pretty deep yesterday while crossing that gap, the legs were pretty tired and useless today. I treated today as a recovery day and was just a passenger in the bunch.
I’m still battling that flu, my lungs aren’t working real good at the moment either.

Matt Marshall Tasmanian Tour 4
Stage 8  – 30 laps of a 1.2km Crit (Ulverstone)
Report: A group of 10 riders went off the front very early. They established a decent lead and no one chased too hard as none of those riders were a threat to the G.C. They won the race, the rest of us had a pretty cruisey stage really. I felt pretty good this morning.
Stage 9  – 78km Road Stage (Ulverstone to Penguin)
Report: A series of 2 – 3km K.O.M’s early in the race eventually led up to the penultimate climb of the tour; an extremely steep 3km wall  around 45km mark.
My legs and lungs felt pretty useless during the first 20km of the race but I soon came right as the hills came in to play. We smacked it down the long decent leading up to “the wall” following the second last K.O.M. I managed to get myself in good position around this point which was just in time for 4km of strong crosswinds leading up to “the wall”. I hit the base of the climb in good position and rode close to the front during the initial stages of the climb. I was feeling really strong and basically tapped up the first half of the climb as things really began to split up. At this point there was just a around 13 riders left. During the final 1.5km of the climb the group began to really string out. Four of us managed to slip off the front during the last 500 meters of the climb. I managed summit the Cat 1 climb on 3rd wheel, by this stage we had opened up a 30 sec gap over the group of 10 chasing riders. The four of us lapped it out hard but we still had about 20km to go to the finish. With about 12km to go the two groups came together which marked a series of attacks. I got involved in a few moves but I missed the move where 4 riders went off the front during the final km’s of the race. We came in just a few seconds behind them in the end. I was pretty happy with my form considering I was only running on half a lung. I’m still pretty crook with the flu and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better.

Matt Marshall Tasmanian Tour 5
Stage 10 - 40 lap 1.4km Crit (Westbury)
Report: I woke up this morning barely able to breathe. I was battling the flu big time. I don’t know how I managed to get through the final stage. A breakaway had got away with a 40 sec lead and were well on the way to winning by the halfway mark. I still put in a few attacks near the end of the race but I couldn’t get myself away. Our group finished just behind the leaders. I wasn’t real happy with how the tour went. I wish I didn’t get crook. If I wasn’t sick I’m sure that I would have been able to do more.

Matt Marshall

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