ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY THE CANBERRA TIMES
WRITTEN BY JAMES HALL
Former Canberra resident Jesse Featonby stormed up Black Mountain to claim the second stage of the National Capital Tour on Saturday.
The triathlete convert racing for the South Australian-based Swiss Wellness Cycling Team absorbed the pressure and pace of the pack to place himself in a strong position before tackling the mountain.
Featonby said the riders were evenly poised at the bottom of the mountain, before the climbers took control.
“We started off with a street circuit around Lennox Gardens up around the embassies that was really fast. I think we averaged around 44km/h for 14 laps, so that took a fair bit out of everyone’s legs. By the time we got to [the] bottom of the hill everyone was racing to get in to a good spot,” Featonby said.
“Nearly all the riders came into the bottom together and from there Ben Dyball, who is one of the strongest climbers in the country, got away at the start and about 10 of us were behind him.”
Featonby lived in Canberra, training with the AIS as a triathlete, so he was no stranger to the suitable phases of the course to make his move.
“We didn’t catch him until about one kilometre to go, and in the last 500 metres, where it really kicks uphill, is where I thought I had to go. I looked behind and I was on my own, so it was pretty good.”
Andrew McCosker is riding for Canberra’s official men’s cycling team, Phoenix Cycling Collective, and said he was impressed by the level pace of the second stage. He hopes his own familiarity will help in the final stage, focusing on Mount Stromlo.
“We’ve ridden hundreds of kilometres around these courses, so the local knowledge is so valuable.” he said.
In the women’s stage Lucy Kennedy continued the dominance of High5 Dream Team, taking the stage win ahead of Ruth Corset and Lisen Hockings.
Rebecca Wiasak took out the time-trial stage on Friday and predicted Kennedy’s superior climbing ability would have her well placed to tackle Black Mountain.
Wiasak’s powerful track form will suit the flat course on Sunday.