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O'Grady wins Herald Sun Tour

20 October 2008

Veteran Stuart O'Grady finally sealed the elusive Jayco Herald Sun Tour on saturday when he safely negotiated the final stage criterium in Melbourne.

The 35-year-old won the seven-day classic, Australia's oldest stage race, from his CSC Saxo Bank teammate Lars Bak of Denmark with Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ben Day third.

O'Grady virtually ensured victory when he conquered yesterday's rugged 16km time trial in the Yarra Valley.

"Relief's a pretty good word," O'Grady said after surviving the Lygon Street criterium in the inner-city suburb of Carlton.

"You want to cross the finish line and get the job done. In bike racing anything can happen and that's the beauty of the sport.

"I was expecting a little bit more attacking but I think the guys have had a pretty tough hard week and had kind of conceded the placings were done," he said.

O'Grady, who has signed on with CSC for two more years, said his win had made him hungry for more success and refused to even rule out racing in the 2012 London Olympics.

"I'd never say never but yeah, at the moment, until I start getting my arse kicked -- and at the moment it's not getting kicked too bad," he said.

"I'm having fun, I'm still enjoying it. The hardest thing is being away from your family, missing three or four weeks at a time when I've got a couple of little kids.

"That takes a toll on everything, that's the hardest part."

Brad McGee, an Athens gold medallist in the team pursuit and O'Grady's CSC teammate, was riding in his last event as a professional following a 10-year career.

"The boys said to Brad, one last time mate, we're just going to ask those two legs of yours for one last big effort and then you'll never have to hurt them again," O'Grady said.

The criterium was won by South African Daryl Impie from South Australian Chris Jongeward after the pair formed a breakaway late in the stage.

Robert Grant

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