Insider: Velothon – Stage 3 – Obi Obi

A fitting way to round off three days of stunning riding on the Sunshine Coast and just one last challenge to overcome up the gruelling ascent of Obi Obi. A combination of tired 3 Day Velo legs and 1 Day Velo riders chomping at the bit to have a go, the final day of Velothon Sunshine Coast was always going to deliver a cracker.

Words: Alex Malone

With more than 800 riders taking to the start for the final stage of Velothon Sunshine Coast, Stage 3 from Twin Waters through Obi Obi and back to the finish in Maroochydore would bring a mix of smiles, suffering and elation. The 150km and 90km routes provided 3 Day and 1 Day riders a chance to enjoy the opening coastal start before taking into the hinterland around Noosa, where the real fun and hills would begin.

The day’s finish line results would again bring new winners to the stage with Kiwi Gary Hancock taking line honours after a long breakaway effort with his companion Mitchell Sincock, while the overall GC winner Phil Taaffe arrived with a charging chase group less than 30 seconds behind.

In the women’s field, it was again the ever consistent Lucy Coldwell who consolidated on her wins in Stage 1 and 2 to comfortable take out the female GC title.

The inevitable Obi Obi

A cooler start to the final morning of Velothon Sunshine Coast was quickly put aside as the bunch rolled out of Novotel Twin Waters and onto the coastal road towards Noosa. With many riders still looking for their chance to shine under the Queensland sun, the pace remained frenetic until a group of three eventually slipped up the road.

Content, or too tired to contest the breakaway’s efforts, the main bunch soon eased into steady pace that would provide the three ahead with plenty of rope to play with on the main challenge of the day up Obi Obi. With gradients reportedly pushing into the 40 percent margin, many were looking to conserve their energy for an effort that would see more than a handful of riders unclip and walk.

Overall leader Phil Taaffe was seemingly at home on the gruelling climb and quickly established a gap over the main group. Unfortunately for the Sydney local, the final rolling 30km were simply too fast to go alone and with a touch under 15km to go, the second group on the road would swell to nearly 20 riders.

After more than 350km of racing over three days, the former runner comfortably crossed the line in Maroochydoore maintaining his 31-second buffer over second-place to go one better than his result in 2017.

‘I couldn’t have hoped for a much better outcome than that. Last year they gave me the yellow jersey for winning the Masters but this year to do it overall against the young guys, I am pretty happy for a 41 year old.’

‘I think this year has been a little more competitive than last year at the front of the field. Some guys coming back from last year had some ambitions, which made it a bit more like a race. But in the end when you get to the final day you are working together, you are regrouping and riding together.’

‘It is just a great feeling of camaraderie and riding with people who are into the same thing as you. I think that is the beautiful thing about cycling, you can do it at any age. Some of the best juniors in the country were riding guys in their 50s and that is a great thing.’

In a repeat of the opening two days, local Coolum rider Lucy Coldwell finished strong to ensure she would leave for home later in the evening with a swag of jerseys and winners’ medals.

‘The legs weren’t all that good today. Early on I felt fairly good so I was okay on the first KOM but by the time we got to Obi Obi I was really suffering. Knowing the climb was a slight disadvantage because I knew what was ahead of me. At least I was in a good group so I just tried to hang on. There was no chat from me in the bunch, I was still suffering.’

‘Being a local ride it is a bit special and I am really happy with how things have worked out this year, personally and for the team ‘Multisport Mecca’. Last year there was a big build up and I didn’t manage to ride so it was great to be able to come and do it this year and met lots of new people, enjoy the bunch and enjoy the ride. It was great, winning the KOM, the Sprinters, Mixed Teams and taking out the overall GC – I can’t complain about that. I will definitely be back.’

‘It is important having events like this on the Sunshine Coast. It gets all the locals together, showcases the region and brings people up here at a lovely time of year to get a mini taste of what a tour is like . It may be winter but the weather here is perfect for both cycling and the beach, which is a lovely reason for people to come here on holiday,’ Lucy said.

Now, it’s back to Sydney and back to normal programming, that is until our next event at Reef to Reef. We’ll be sending a cracking squad of two riders to contest the men’s Masters category and will again be providing daily coverage and reports from each of the four stages. For those who are yet to get their head around R2R, head to our preview for the full scoop.

3 Day Velo GC


Pos – Cat – Name – Time – Stage 1 – Stage 2 – Stage 3

1 Masters Philip TAAFFE (446) 10:28:38 03:29:43 02:31:12 04:27:43

2 Open Alex MALONE (713) 10:29:09 03:29:23 02:32:05 04:27:41

3 Masters Andrew YOUNG (399) 10:36:53 03:38:48 02:29:07 04:28:57


Pos Cat Name Time Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3

1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 10:48:44 03:41:21 02:34:06 04:33:15

2 G/Masters Shelley NISBET (303) 11:08:40 03:53:51 02:36:22 04:38:26

3 Team Julie HAZLETT (696) 11:18:03 04:00:46 02:36:20 04:40:55

Stage 3 – 152km


Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Masters Gary HANCOCK (208) 04:26:30.347

2 Open Mitchell SINCOCK (351) 04:26:33.290

3 G/Masters Jon LEIGHTON (449) 04:27:09.643


Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 04:33:15.573

2 G/Masters Shelley NISBET (303) 04:38:26.627

3 Team Julie HAZLETT (696) 04:40:55.937



Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Team Jason BOON (613) 00:38:39.157

2 Masters Andrew YOUNG (399) 00:38:42.993

3 Team Stephane TORRENS (614) 00:39:00.933


Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 00:44:54.580

2 Masters Yvette EDWARD (177) 00:46:59.140

3 Masters Meagan HARVEY (214) 00:49:24.050

Sprint GC


Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Team David FANJUL (612) 00:08:20.527

2 Open Chris THORNTON (375) 00:08:23.003

3 G/Masters Jon LEIGHTON (449) 00:08:27.087


Pos – Cat – Name – Time

1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 00:09:00.360

2 G/Masters Shelley NISBET (303) 00:09:07.173

3 Team Julie HAZLETT (696) 00:09:19.543

Stage 3 – Details

Strava activity:
Training Peaks
Distance: 150.8km
Time: 4:21:35 (official time 4:27:41. Seems my puncture repair took far longer than it should have)
Total elevation: 2,029m (corrected)
Average speed: 34.6km/h
Maximum speed: 97.9km/h
Calories burned: 3,059
Heart rate TSS: 253 (a touch lower than expected, likely due to fatigue)
Prestigious KOM taken: Obi Obi Rd, 37.57