Michael Tomalaris is not a betting man but calling Brett Lancaster to win stage two of the Tour of California would have been a sure thing given race circumstances.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

When I looked online and saw the leading selection of some twenty-six
riders during the final sections of the Tour of Californis's stage 2,
the name Brett Lancaster jumped out at me.

Among the big guns
were Hincapie, Rogers, Leipheimer, Armstrong and Schleck to name a few
but as I scanned my eye across the entire field, I leaned over to my ToC
co-presenter David McKenzie and hinted that "Brett" was going to win
the stage.

That was with about 20km to go and it was a damn shame
no international television pictures could be seen because of the
inclement weather in the so-called sunshine state - but that's another
story!

Look, I'm no fortune teller but it was a no-brainer, as
far I was concerned.

Lancaster is a sprint specialist who has
provided many perfect lead-outs for Thor Hushovd during his time at Team
Cervelo.

But Hushovd's non-appearance in California (because of
an untimely collarbone accident last week) allowed Lancaster to step up
to the plate.

What surprised me most was the fact that he managed
to clear all the category climbs on offer on the 182km trek to Santa
Rosa.

Lancaster has no track record of climbing huge hills, but
to stay in contention with the ToC's big-names shows he continues to
mature as a professional cyclist.

He hails from the northern
Victorian city of Shepparton - a flat, and hot region known for its
production of fruit with not a sign of a hill for many kilometres.

His
wearing of the yellow jersey for stage 3 will complement the maglia
rosa worn on day 1 of the 2005 Giro and the gold medal collected as a
member of Australia's Team Pursuit at the Athens Olympics.

Clearly
his cycling palmares suggests a rider who can capitalise when
given a chance to venture out on his own.

And capitalise he did,
the 30 year old veteran drove early for the line coming into the finale,
outlasting the fast charging talents of Peter Sagan and Lars Boom.

It's
not often I have the skills of picking a winner in any sport, let alone
cycling, but this was a personal selection I wish I had invested a few
bob on.