Woolley breaks through in East Gippsland tour

MORTLAKE export Darcy Woolley hopes a breakthrough stage win in cycling’s Tour of East Gippsland will be the impetus for more triumphs this season.

The 20-year-old won Sunday’s final stage — a criterium around the streets of Lake Entrance — in his opening event of a big year.

Woolley finished fifth overall in the tour with his African Wildlife Safari teammate James Rendall third.

The stage win was Woolley’s first in a top-grade Victorian Road Series event. It came after he made a breakaway with two laps remaining.

“I wasn’t actually supposed to win,” he said.

“There were a lot of sprint points up for grabs and James was fourth on the GC (general classification) before the criterium. Our job was to ride to the front and keep it reasonably lined up throughout the race and help push him through.

“It just happened I went at the right time. When I first went I thought ‘what the hell am I doing, I’ve just stuffed this up’ and when I looked around there was quite a substantial gap so I pushed even harder.”

Woolley said his preparation hadn’t been what he would have liked — he had struggled to get significant kilometres in his legs.

But he will step up training now in the lead-up to another VRS race at Mansfield next month. Then he will head to Perth and Adelaide for National Road Series events.

Woolley said he and his team were eying NRS stage wins. “Hopefully there’s many more (wins) to come for me and the team in the season,” he said.

Warrnambool rider Matt Lane was 10th in the general classification.

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