The 80km marathon from Atherton headed over the Great Dividing Range, covering more than 2200m of elevation. Huber, Pettina and Nissen were together for the first half of the stage, but the Dane had trouble with his front fork and had to slow for fear it would break. Huber had to respond to several attacks from Pettina, but then sped away to win the stage solo.
“Today my plan was to ride defensively, because I have a good lead overall by now,” Huber said. “There was three of us quickly from the start and then just Nicholas [Pettina] and I. He attacked twice or three times quite hard and I stayed on his wheel. Towards the end he fatigued and suggested to ride across the finish together, but I said, if you attack me that hard, I’ll finish my own race. I was able to break away and make up a bit more time.”
Pettina said the stage was the hardest one yet. “I love this race, because every day is different. Even during today’s stage the weather kept changing like five times – dry in the beginning, in the rainforest it was really muddy and it was just beautiful there, but really hard to ride,” he said. “I was able to hang onto Urs Huber. It’s a long challenge and today again he proved how strong he is. I’m happy with my second place and to be on the podium, but after four wet days, I hope it will get a bit drier. This is one tough race, but I enjoy it a lot.”
Sarah White was the first woman to finish and remains in the overall lead over German Regina Genser.
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