It wasn't overly hot for the men's Day 6 of racing in the National Road Series (NRS), but 87 per cent humidity made for oppressive conditions on the reduced day of racing. The races had been reduced with consultation with the teams and the race organisation, though not all teams were happy at the prospect of taking in one fewer of the 35-kilometre laps of the Mooball-Stokers Siding loop.
Essentially, teams that have riders that prefer longer races were unhappy, Oliver's and Nero Continental foremost among them.
If there was any dissatisfaction within the Oliver's set-up it was answered emphatically with their stage result as Lyons swept to victory ahead of a pair of Bridgelane riders, winning the sprint in convincing fashion.
"It's been a long year, so to come away with something, and the something being a great stage like that, I'm pretty happy,' said Lyons after the finish.
Lyons is a stalwart of the Australian peloton. A hard worker in service of some exceptional talents like Lucas Hamilton early in his career, he has come into his own since then and is now a consistent threat to take results for himself in big races.
The early race was very hard, with a really concerted attempt at a breakaway shut down by ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast, before another break went later, again without ARA-Sunshine Coast representation, and the move broke the virtual elastic band between itself and the peloton, and was allowed to gain a lead after a tough fight.
"It was either the break or the side of the road at that point," said Lyons. Absolutely smashing it for the first 10-15 minutes to get the break out and away. Once we heard it was out at three minutes we relaxed a little bit and went from there."
The peloton seemed to be allowing for a relatively quiet day, after a series of hard-fought races leading into the Mooball race, but again there was a late rally from the peloton that came perilously close to taking the win from the breakaway as Malaysian team Memil joined ARA-Sunshine Coast in dragging the break back. They almost managed it as well, with Elliot Schultz running seventh, second in the bunch sprint behind Jensen Plowright (Team Bridgelane).
But the win was fought out from the front group of five, with Ben Metcalfe, Matt Dinham (both Bridgelane), Rhys Robotham (Balmoral) and Mat Ross (Cycle House) present, reduced from the initial break of six after Myles Stewart (Nero Continental) was dropped.
"Out of that group, coming at the end of a long day," said Lyons, "I'll back my sprint, it's sort of what I do! I was pretty happy with that situation."
Lyons is a Ballarat native, but had been planning a move north to the Gold Coast just as the lockdown of the state was happening. With no cases in Ballarat, he thought that it was respectful of public safety and managed to get out a day before the border closed, and take up his new life in Queensland. The sunny life in Queensland seems to be paying off for the former Victorian.
"That was good timing I've got to say," said Lyons. "It's been a hard year for a lot of guys on the team. To come and finish on a high note in the next couple of days will be good."