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Shane van Gisbergen wins thrilling Bathurst 1000 ahead of Cameron Waters


Holden driver Shane van Gisbergen has won his first Bathurst 1000, holding off Ford’s Cameron Waters in a tight finish at Mount Panorama.

Two late safety cars compressed the field in the closing stages, making the final stages of the 161-lap, 1000km race a dramatic 18km shootout.

However New Zealand’s Van Gisbergen was good enough to keep distance between himself and the chasing pack to claim victory by just 0.8663 of a second, going one better than his second-place finishes in 2016 and 2019.

His co-driver, Garth Tander, secured his fourth win in the 161-lap race, after taking out the 2000, 2009 and 2011 editions.

Chaz Mostert finished in third spot for Holden to round out the podium, ahead of Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin in the Shell V-Power Racing Team Ford Mustangs.

Jamie Whincup provided the first drama of the race when he went wide with too much pace at turn three and slammed his Holden into the wall, bringing out the day’s first safety car on lap 33, ending his and veteran Craig Lowndes’ race prematurely.

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By that time, Waters had overtaken early leader McLaughlin and set an imposing pace to distance himself from McLaughlin’s co-driver, Tim Slade.

The pack was compressed again after Jordan Boys spun and slammed his Cub Cadet Mowers Holden into the wall on lap 52 for the day’s second safety car, but the race really spiced up when the promised rain began to fall on the mountain on lap 53, just after the safety car was brought in.

Van Gisbergen rose to the occasion in the slippery conditions, scything his way to the front of the pack as the rest of the field struggled for grip during the brief shower.

Van Gisbergen and Tander led from that point onwards, never relinquishing their position during the tense, tactical middle period of the race and its dramatic, high-paced conclusion.

Waters and van Gisbergen were well clear out front and duelling for first place with an exemplary display of faultless, high-pressure driving until two crashes forced the safety car to come out with nine laps to go.

Jack Smith from SCT Motor Sports skidded into a sand trap, and almost simultaneously Bryce Fullwood’s Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing Holden locked up and slammed into a couple of walls at the top of the mountain.

The race resumed with six laps to go, but soon after Zane Goddard barrelled into another wall and was left stranded on the track with three working wheels, prompting another safety car and a dramatic finish.

All through the tension, van Gisbergen kept his cool and masterfully drove away from his rivals to claim his maiden Peter Brock trophy.

Relive the drama in our live blog.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

Shane van Gisbergen wins Bathurst 1000

            

               

We’ll wrap up the live coverage here for now.

                

Thank you so much for joining me over the course of the day, it has been a pleasure to bring you all the action from Mount Panorama.

              

Fantastic performance from all the leading drivers, it’s too easy to forget that this was the ONLY endurance race of the season, at one of the hardest circuits in motorsport.

                    

Shane van Gisbergen has come so close before, no closer than last year, but this time he excelled and drove away from a field that was pushing to the very extreme of their limits, lap after lap of faultless driving.

           

I hope you enjoyed the coverage and we’ll catch you again next time.  

               

               

By Simon Smale

‘So special to win here’: Shane van Gisbergen

                  

               

Shane van Gisbergen was all smiles on the podium, and understandably so.

            

He said he had serious doubts as to whether he would ever get a chance to win the race after coming close the last couple of years.

               

“So special to win here. Got close so may times and then you just begin to doubt, especially in those last few laps, you start to think what is going to go wrong?

            

“But the car ran faultless all day and got better and better.”

Audience comment by bob gibson

congratulation holden team good to see you go out on a blaze of glory

Audience comment by Peter

By Simon Smale

I’ve never driven so hard: Chaz Mostert            

                

Chaz Mostert has been interviewed on the podium, where the Ford driver acknowledged that he had never had to push so hard.

            

“I haven’t [ever driven so hard],” Mostert said on the podium. 

               

“That felt like wildfires at the end. Congratulations to these guys behind me. They did a fantastic job all day and put entertainment on for everyone around the country.

             

“A big thank you to our whole team here and also in Melbourne. It has been a hard year and to all the Holden fans thank you for supporting us this year and we will see what happens next year.

By Simon Smale

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Bathurst 1000 race highlights.

By Simon Smale

The caption says it all.

By Simon Smale

Scott McLaughlin wins the Supercar Championship

               

           

This was confirmed last race, but Scott McLaughlin has been awarded the Supercars Championship trophy after what might be the last time he races in Supercars.

                   

“Congratulations to Shane and 888 racing for their win today. They made it happen today.

               

“It has been an amazing year. I think the comradarie between the teams.

                

“Obviously last year was pretty full on, tit-for-tat, then this year … everyone knows how hard it has been for everyone and there has been a lot of good hard racing, the best racing we have had.

           

“We didn’t have a turnaround to come back and fix the cars. Credit to the Victorian teams for the sacrifices they gave for us, their families, the sport, the volunteers

By Simon Smale

‘I didn’t need that last safety car’ Garth Tander

            

           

Garth Tander, who is now a four-time winner of Bathurst, has also had a chat with the TV team.

                   

“It was OK until two to go and the last restart, didn’t need that one,” Tander said. 

               

“Awesome job Shane, the way he managed the last three stints, amazing, very impressive.

               

“This will take a little while to sink in, it’s been such a strange year and sitting on the couch for six months and then firing up and being on the road for five weeks to do the race, really special one and I’ll sit back and enjoy it.”

Audience comment by Gaia

Great work on the blog today Simon. Nail-biter of a finish! I did try to send some more rain across to the races, but it fizzled out on the way there.

Audience comment by Jk

Brilliant! Great way to end the Holden brand.

Audience comment by Ritchie McC

Audience comment by Han

Been either going to or watching Bathurst since 1963. Fabulous memories and added another one today. Thanks Simon (wan-Kenobi).

By Simon Smale

‘I wish my mum and dad were here’: Shane van Gisbergen

               

             

Here is Shane van Gisbergen, the 62nd winner of Bathurst.

               

“Just awesome, van Gisbergen said.

           

“The last few laps were tough with the safety car, but the team did a faultless job and thanks to the guys, we had a great car and great way to send out Holden and thanks to Garth Tander, he did an awesome job.

           

“I wish my mum and dad were here.

           

“Each time [Cameron Waters] got close through turn two, with good grip and I knew I’d be OK. The last stints were just qualifying, just awesome.

                

“[It was a] real track position race, super hard to pass when the rain came.

         

“I was a bit slow at the start and got going and that got us to the front and we never left there. Awesome day.”

         

He said he was looking forward to getting back to New Zealand on Tuesday to celebrate.

Audience comment by Graeme

Great way to say goodbye holden

By Simon Smale

Celebration time for Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander

By Simon Smale

Thanks Simon, exciting blog, can I just ask, what time is Dan going to be on?

-Sorry, couldn’t resist.

           

No Dan, but we’ll hear from Shane van Gisbergen very shortly I’d expect. 

Audience comment by David (in Japan)

I’ve been kept updated all day thanks to your great commentary – much appreciated

Audience comment by at

By Simon Smale

Bathurst 1000 final results

                

             

                



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Richie Porte set for Tour de France podium as Tadej Pogacar crushes rival in thrilling penultimate stage


In an incredible climax to the Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar crushed his fellow Slovenian, Primoz Roglic, in the last stage before the finish in Paris.

Pogacar is now poised to win the Tour de France after claiming the overall leader’s yellow jersey after clocking 55 minutes, 55 seconds in the time-trial stage.

Pogacar not only secured the yellow jersey in the time trial, he won the stage too. Roglic had started with a lead of 57 seconds over his countryman.

The upset comes as Australian Richie Porte is poised to take third place on the podium in Paris.

He’s the second Australian to achieve the feat since Cadel Evans in 2011.

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The Tasmanian, who was sitting in fourth place, leapfrogged Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez into third place overall by finishing the 20th stage in third spot.

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Pogacar’s win all but guarantees the 21-year-old will become the youngest victor in more than 100 years, since Henri Cornet in 1904.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” Pogacar said after Roglic laboured to the finish, no longer in the race lead.

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Stage 20 was a 36.2-kilometre individual time trial between Lure and La Planche des Belles Filles.

Pogacar won the solo effort against the clock as Roglic cracked in the uphill section, a 5.9 kilometre climb at an average gradient of 8.5 per cent.

A person on a bicycle in lycra rides in the tour de france.
Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar wins and takes the overall leader’s yellow jersey as he crosses the finish line of stage 20 of the Tour de France.(AP: Thibault Camus)

“I don’t know what to say, it’s a dream,” said Pogacar, who now leads second-placed Roglic by 59 seconds ahead of Sunday’s final stage, a largely processional ride to the Champs Elysees in Paris where only the final sprint is contested.

“Getting the yellow jersey on the final day, we were dreaming of it since the start. I knew every corner on the road, thanks to the work of my team.

“I think that my head is going to explode.”

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A raw talent who holds no fear, Pogacar, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, now holds three distinctive jerseys — the yellow, the white jersey for the best under-25 rider and the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.

The upset echoes that of the last day of the 1989 Tour de France when American Greg LeMond won the race by eight seconds over France’s Laurent Fignon after starting the time-trial 50 seconds off the pace.

After losing all hope of overall victory following a crash in the opening stage, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot rode through impressive crowds and smoke in his hometown of Melisey, where the roads had his name and that of his goat Kim painted all over them, adding to the sense of surrealism on the day.

Porte says third place ‘feels like victory’

Porte said his brilliant time trial ride to all but claim third spot on the penultimate day of Tour de France felt as good as winning the race.

The Tasmanian started the 99 seconds behind Miguel Angel Lopez in fourth, but produced the time trial of his life to finish 1:21 behind Pogacar’s stunning 55:55 to leapfrog the Colombian.

Australia's Richie Porte wearing white rides up a French peak, mouth open as another cyclist smiles from behind.
Richie Porte is now poised to claim third place in the Tour de France.(Reuters: Stephane Mahe)

Porte has endured so much disappointment over the years, including an untimely puncture early in the 2016 Tour that eventually cost him a likely podium finish.

He also crashed out in 2017 and 2018.

But aside from a puncture scare inside the final 8km of the 14th stage last week, where he was forced to jump on teammate Kenny Elissonde’s bike to stay in touch with the main group, Porte has enjoyed a largely trouble-free Tour.

“This means so much to me,” Porte told ITV Sport.

“I came here without any real pressure. In the lockdown I didn’t even think this race was going to happen.

“There’s been so many years of disappointment, crashes and whatever and dramas.

“We’ve had dramas here like in Leon with Kenny’s bike the other day with the puncture so to come away with the podium is amazing.

“It’s no secret that I will be leaving Trek-Segafredo … but the way they have got around me this year and supported me has been fantastic.

“I had the world champion as my bodyguard and all of the boys have played their part it’s incredible.”

Porte’s involvement in the delayed running of the race forced him to miss the birth of his daughter Eloise last week in Monaco and he admitted he’d considered missing the race altogether but was persuaded to take part by wife Gemma.

“I missed the birth of my second child but my wife told me to race and said if she saw me sulking at the back of the peloton she would be upset with me,” he said.

“So to come here and finish third … this is sweet.

“I am over the moon, this feels like a victory for me.”

ABC/wires



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New Zealand hosts big crowds as Super Rugby Aotearoa gets off to thrilling start


Crowds have returned to New Zealand stadiums in earnest over the weekend, with packed houses watching the first two games of Super Rugby Aotearoa in Dunedin and Auckland.

Fans were permitted to attend, unrestricted, due to the New Zealand Government’s announcement on Monday that the country was coronavirus free, with the nationwide alert system relaxing to “level one” at midnight that day.

The Blues announced they had sold out Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.

As the Blues kicked off at Eden Park on Sunday, the commentator said the roar was akin to that of a Test match as fans revelled in the return of New Zealand’s national sport in its most populous city.

Fans were treated to a flyover by an air force plane before the match as the celebratory mood blossomed around the stadium.

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Pre-game ceremonies at both matches honoured essential workers.

At Eden Park over 43,000 fans, the biggest for a Blues Super Rugby match in 15 years, were in fine voice throughout, creating a carnival atmosphere in the ground.

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The majority went home happy as the Blues, buoyed by the optimism surrounding new signing All Black Beauden Barrett secured a 30-20 victory over the Wellington-based Hurricanes — Barrett’s former side.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, about 20,000 supporters roared on the Highlanders and Chiefs under the roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

The fans, including the raucous section of Otago University students standing behind the goal in a section known as ‘The Zoo’ were treated to a thrilling finish as the hosts stole a 28-27 win thanks to a last-minute drop-goal from Bryn Gatland.

That came just seconds after Damien McKenzie put the Chiefs ahead with a drop-goal of his own in a topsy-turvy match that featured five lead changes and a lot of penalties as players adapted to new refereeing interpretations at the breakdown.

Fans sit in a stadium and wave dark blue flags
Spectators were welcomed into stadiums in New Zealand with no restrictions.(Photosport via AP: Derek Morrison)

“I never imagined the game would be like this,” Highlanders captain Ash Dixon said.

“I think the game had everything and we were lucky to come out on the right side of the ledger.”

That was thanks to Gatland, who, playing just his first match for the Highlanders, was not expected to feature in the match, only being named on the bench late on Friday night when Josh Ioane broke down during the week.

What made the victory even more special for Gatland was that his father, British and Irish Lions coach Warren, was sitting in the opposition dugout.

Fans applaud as players line up in the foreground
Fans in Dunedin were treated to a classic, albeit one with lots of penalties.(Photosport via AP: Joe Allison)

“I’m not happy about the result,” Gatland senior said.

“But he showed a bit of calmness there, and he’s done that in the past and won games in clutch moments.”

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There was a mood of obvious celebration and relief as fans, deprived in lockdown of the shared experience of live sport, were able to return for the first time to a stadium in numbers limited only by the venue’s capacity.

There were no restrictions on their contact; they could hug, high-five, crowd in for selfies. There was no need for masks or social distancing. They could cheer as often and loudly as they wished and they did so enough to make the rafters ring at the indoor stadium.

“I’m so super excited,” one fan told AP before the game in Dunedin.

The Super Rugby Aotearoa competition is a 10-week competition featuring the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams, the Blues, the Chiefs, the Hurricanes, the Crusaders and the Highlanders.

Australia is hosting its own, five-team Super Rugby-branded tournament, featuring the Western Force, which will kick off on July 3 with the Queensland Reds hosting the New South Wales Waratahs.

Both competitions were set up as a temporary replacement for the international Super Rugby tournament, which was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABC/wires



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