Following a weather-forced rest day on Wednesday, the peloton made a rapid start under blue skies to the 75.1 kilometer road race from Westbury to the Great Lake.
An early 13-man breakaway built a comfortable lead before the major challenge of the race – a climb of approximately 1000 meters in elevation – caused difficulties for the riders.
Gillett launched a devastating solo effort inside the final 20 kilometers to bridge across to a breakaway group which had begun to falter as they hit the challenging final climb to Great Lake.
“We had James in the initial break so the pressure was off for our team. One of the Charter Mason guys tried to cross the gap and I went with him, but when he decided to go back to the bunch I kept going on my own.
“I got James to give one massive turn to increase the gap to the peloton, and as soon as the break started to pull away I just sat up a bit.
“Coming into the finish, I hit the break with Walker and Sulzberger and drove it to the line,” Gillett remarked.
Gillett’s win was also the development team’s first in the Subaru NRS.
“I had all my team mates around me, they rode awesomely today,” said the Adelaide-born rider. “There were some points when we were cruising along at 65 to 70 kilometers per hour on the flat and they just keep me up in front and out of trouble.”
Jack Haig (Huon-Genesys) retains the yellow jersey with a 1.48 lead over Robbie Hucker (Drapac) after the young rider finished in a bunch 42 seconds behind the leaders.
Brodie Talbot’s (Caterpillar) efforts in the final breakaway saw him move up to third place overall, two minutes 27 behind Hucker.
“The race was quite fast and hard , there were a lot of people attacking and trying to get away, but the boys did a really good job to control it,” Haig commented. “It was a lot of climbing today – it was pretty much one big mountain at the end that we all had to go up.
“We managed to keep it all together and grab a bit more time on me.”
Haig and his team mates remained in the peloton for most of the stage, despite the efforts of Nathan Earle and Jai Crawford during the climb.
“Nathan and Jai were attacking off our group to try and leapfrog Darren Lapthorne and Robbie Hucker and move up to second and third in general classification,” Haig observed. “We’ll probably see those tactics for the rest of the tour,” Haig quipped.
After yesterday’s wind and rain, the riders were undoubtedly ecstatic at the clear blue skies that greeted them at the Westbury start line. Yet having finished their mammoth climb, the riders were met with icy winds and a light dusting of snow.
“It started snowing at the end here, and we managed to jump in the car and keep warm and dry,” Haig added.
Stage six will take the riders from Ulverstone to Penguin on Tasmania’s northern coast, with the 106.2km road race to get underway on Friday at 10.30am.
General classification after stage 5
1 Jack Haig (Vic) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers Pro Cycling Team 9:18:04 2 Robbie Hucker (Vic) Drapac Cycling 0:01:48 3 Brodie Talbot (NSW) Caterpillar 0:02:27 4 Darren Lapthorne (Vic) Drapac Cycling 0:03:05 5 Nathan Earle (Tas) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers Pro Cycling Team 0:03:38 6 Jai Crawford (Tas) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers Pro Cycling Team 7 Ben Dyball (NSW) Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers Pro Cycling Team 0:04:13 8 William Walker (Vic) Drapac Cycling 0:04:34 9 Karl Evans (SA) Budget Forklifts 0:04:48 10 Matthew Clark (Vic) Chartermason Drapac Development Team 0:05:30 11 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Drapac Cycling 0:05:33 12 Joshua Prete (Qld) Budget Forklifts 0:05:35 13 Jason Spencer (Vic) Chartermason Drapac Development Team 0:05:37 14 Peter Herzig (Qld) Budget Forklifts 0:05:42 15 Oliver Martin (Tas) Team Polygon Australia 0:05:56 16 Harry Carpenter (SA) Euride Racing 0:06:35 17 Oscar Stevenson (Vic) Jayco/Apollo Vis Men’s Road Team 0:06:38 18 Eric Sheppard (Vic) Search2Retain P/B Health.Com.Au 19 Josh Aldridge (NZl) Downer Edi Mining National Cycling Team 20 Jordan Davies (NSW) St George Skoda Hp Team 21 Timothy Cameron (ACT) St George Skoda Hp Team 22 Jacob Restall (Qld) Caterpillar 0:06:44 23 Mark O’Brien (Vic) Euride Racing 0:06:45 24 Justin Gassner (SA) Veneziano Blefari Cycling Team 25 Mitchell Cooper (Vic) Satalyst Giant Racing Team
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