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Tasmanian cyclist Bernard Sulzberger has scored a badly-needed win as the men's Jayco Bay Classic series standings received a major shake-up.
Sulzberger, his younger brother Wes, Australian star Baden Cooke and New Zealander Greg Henderson were in a four-man break that dominated race three tonight in Geelong.
Bernard beat Henderson for the win in a photo finish by only half a tyre width, with Wes third and Cooke fourth.
Michael Matthews retained the overall lead ahead of tomorrow's final round in the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown, but tonight's results have opened up the series standings.
The win is also a major boost for Sulzberger, 27, who was part of the Pegasus team that failed to gain a pro continental licence in Europe.
He is now effectively unemployed and is hoping that this win and a big result on Sunday at the Australian road race title will help him gain a new contract.
Sulzberger wants to gain a wildcard berth in the Tour Down Under later this month by winning the national title on Sunday or finishing among the leaders.
"Any exposure is good exposure and it's good exposure to get a win here," Bernard said.
"Hopefully something will eventuate."
It took the race judges several minutes to decide the photo finish and award the win to him.Henderson was the best sprinter in the break and so the Sulzbergers worked him over, with Wes going on a solo charge with four laps left.
"Greg had to do a lot of chasing and obviously that was ... weakening him for the sprint," Bernard said.
"I just had to time my sprint very well because to come off Greg is not an easy thing to do - I timed it really well."
It represented the second win in this four-race series for the Tasmanian-based E3/Pure Tas team.
Matthews won the bunch sprint for fifth and E3 team leader Matt Goss was one place behind him.
That means Matthews (23 points) has a two-point lead over Goss ahead of the final round.
Bernard has rocketed up the standings to third with 19 points and Henderson is fourth on 16, while Cooke moved up to ninth.
Wes is now seventh on 13 and technically any of the top seven could win the series title.
ELITE MENStage Three Results:1. Bernie Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania) 12,2. Greg Henderson (Team Sky) 10,3. Wes Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania) 8,4. Baden Cooke (Lowe Farms/Boomaroo Nurseries) 7,5. Michael Matthews (Urban) 6,6. Matthew Goss (E3/Pure Tasmania) 5,7. Allan Davis (Bikebug.com) 4,8. Chris Sutton (Team Sky) 3,9. Mark Renshaw (O2 Networks) 2,10. Joel Pearson (Genesys Wealth Advisers) 1.
Jayco General Classification after Stage Three:1. Michael Matthews (Urban) 23,2. Matthew Goss (E3/Pure Tasmania) 21,3. Bernie Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania) 19,4. Greg Henderson (Team Sky) 16,5. Chris Sutton (Team Sky) 14,6. Allan Davis (Bikebug.com) 14,7. Wesley Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania) 13,8. Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) 10,9. Baden Cooke (Lowe Farms/Boomaroo Nurseries) 9,10. Leigh Howard (Jayco VIS) 9.
Blood Hyundai Sprint Ace – After Stage Three:1. Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) 112. Graeme Brown (Urban) 103. Michael Matthews (Urban) 64. Wesley Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania) 6 Teams Classification – After Stage Three1. E3/Pure Tasmania 532. Team Sky 403. Urban 384. Bikebug.com 1