October 16, 2005 – Navigators Insurance sprinter Hilton Clarke capped an excellent week of racing in the “Land Down Under” by winning the 7th, and final, stage of the UCI 2.1 Sun Tour. Riding the southern hemisphere race as part of an Australian composite team (Victoria Institute of Sport Jayco), Clarke has battled all week with Baden Cooke (FranÃ§aise des Jeux) for the best sprinter’s Green Jersey competition. Cooke, who has won two stages went into today’s final leg with the advantage over second-placed Clarke, but the Navigators rider climbed to the podium today to wear the Green Jersey as his stage victory put him back on top in the sprint classification.
“This is absolutely brilliant. To win the final stage is great but to take the green jersey off Cookie is unbelievable,” said an ecstatic Clarke. “I was the weakest out there [in the breakaway], the other two were really drilling it. I was always nervous about the peloton. I don’t know how many times I have ridden up Lygon Street, but today was certainly the fastest.” Overall race leader Simon Gerrans (ag2R Prevoyance) held his advantage to secure the final G.C. victory. Although the international racing calendar is now complete for 2005, at least in the northern hemisphere, many riders (and teams) from North America will be competing in events held in Australia and New Zealand over the next several months. Generally racing as members of local composite teams, Navigators Insurance will report on these activities periodically throughout this time.