Andy Blair hopes Port to Port win leads to Games selection

Andy Blair hopes Port to Port win leads to Games selection RELIEVED: Andy Blair is first across the line at Nobbys Beach in the inaugural Port to Port race. Picture: Ryan Osland
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Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

Port to Port Mountain bike stage race. Day 4. Picture Darren Pateman

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PORT to Port mountain bike race winner Andy Blair is hopeful he will be celebrating Glasgow Commonwealth Games selection later this week.

Yesterday the 34-year-old from Canberra became the inaugural winner of four-day Port to Port by an overall time of 29 seconds from Bendigo teenager Chris Hamilton.

Blair won the 45-kilometre stage four from Swansea to Nobby’s, which journeyed through Blacksmiths Beach and Glenrock reserve, in a time of one hour, 44 minutes and 48 seconds.

There was a seven-man sprint to the finish line with also included the Hunter’s top cyclist, Wangi Wangi’s Chris Aitken.

Aitken was fourth in stage four and finished fifth overall, 14 minutes behind Blair.

While the Port to Port is not part of the Commonwealth Games selection criteria, Blair said the victory was invaluable practice.

‘‘I don’t know if I’m going to get a call up yet, but this has formed part of my preparation,’’ Blair said.

‘‘It’s really good training, this sort of event, where you’re racing day in day out. It’s really good intensity.’’

Blair’s victory was set up on day one when won the first stage at Nelson Bay by almost three minutes from Hamilton.

On day two Hamilton beat Blair by a second in a sprint to the line.

Blair’s lead was then shaved to just 28 seconds following the third stage where he finished seventh and 2.22 minutes behind Hamilton.

That meant it was vital Blair finished in the lead group on stage four.

‘‘It was a relief,’’ he said yesterday.

‘‘Yesterday really ate up my margin for safety. Any little problem could have been really bad with just a small lead of 28 seconds.’’

Blair’s partner Jenny Fay won all four stages in the women’s to be the overall series champion by almost 40 minutes.