Neil van der Ploeg sprints to the top in tour

Neil van der Ploeg has sprinted to top honours in stage one of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Neil van der Ploeg has sprinted to top honours in stage one of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba. Picture: TARA GOONAN

MOUNT Beauty’s Neil van der Ploeg takes take a nine-second lead into the third-last stage of the Tour of Toowoomba today.

Van der Ploeg sprinted to top honours in stage one of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba, the fourth event in the Subaru National Road Series.

Van der Ploeg, part of the team that finished last week’s Battle on the Border on the Tweed Coast with a clean sweep of the general classification and three-from-five stage wins, took out the stage at Highfields ahead of Daniel Fitter (CharterMason) and Alistair Donohoe (Health.com.au-search2retain).

“I’m really happy to have won the stage,” van der Ploeg said.

“Last week we had such a great result as a team so it’s really nice to be able to continue that here in Toowoomba.

“There wasn’t much time to think about the sprint in the end because there were attacks going all day.

I went too early last year so this year I just held back a bit and got the timing right.”

Van der Ploeg leads the overall tour ahead of today’s queen stage — to the event’s highest point — which ends with a climb to the top of Mount Mowbullan in the Bunya Mountains.

“I’ll be looking for one of my teammates to take up the reins tomorrow,” van der Ploeg said.

“I’ve gone into it thinking I might be able to do all right in the past but two years is enough to know it is not a climb for me. It’s brutal.”

The tour concludes on Sunday.

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