MORTLAKE cycling export Darcy Woolley managed to shake his Tour of the Murray River hoodoo to claim second place in yesterday’s stage.
It is the 20-year-old’s best performance on the National Road Series and came after a horror start to the tour, in which he suffered a heavy fall in one stage and dropped considerable time in other stages as strong winds took their toll.
Woolley, who rides with African Wildlife Safaris cycling team, yesterday got into an early five-man break about three kilometres into the 91-kilometre road race at Echuca.
The break was joined by another five riders who bridged from the peloton mid-way through the stage.
In the final five kilometres Woolley said he laid on “a couple of attacks” and managed to bridge across to eventual stage winner Ayden Toovey and third placegetter Tom Kaesler, who had broken away from the lead group.
The trio then sprinted for the finish as the peloton closed in, with Toovey taking line honours four seconds ahead of Woolley.
Woolley said he was thrilled to get second place and happy to finally stand on the National Road Series podium with a placing.
“Second was the best I could pull off. I would have loved the win, but I’m still stoked with second,” Woolley said.
“I had a pretty demoralising day on Thursday, finishing about 15 minutes behind the leaders, so it was good to come out today and get back up there.
“I’m pretty sore now though. There are two stages left, so hopefully me or one of my teammates can get a first place.”
Warrnambool’s Matt Lane was 64th, one minute and 33 seconds behind the winner. Camperdown cyclist Dylan Hately didn’t start yesterday after failing to finish Thursday’s road race.
The tour continues today with a 104-kilometre road race from Nathalia to Cobram and wraps up tomorrow with a 36-kilometre criterium in Yarrawonga.