Cycling: Vogels pipped on final climb: Australian falls to a hill too far as Danish student digs deep

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The Independent Online
AN AUSTRALIAN named Henk Vogels took the Milk Race lead yesterday by finishing second, and if that baffles the uninitiated, imagine the uncertainty of the motor-racing crowd at Brands Hatch. They went to watch a championship car meeting and found an extra act on the bill - some 100 international cyclists racing two laps of the Indy circuit.

Then came the bonus. The leaders had covered the first lap, and Willie Engelbrecht was some 150 yards clear, when the rest of the field raced in to engulf the South African. He struggled clear and turned back to rejoin his co-leaders, who were taking a different route.

The riders had earlier got in the mood for Brands Hatch with some 35mph racing as, with the wind at their backs, they raced through the crowd- packed, postcard villages of Kent.

Vogels was involved in the important moves, particularly the action that took himself and others clear on Penshurst Hill. The next hill was the climb to the finish, and the 19-year- old was looking at victory until a Danish student, Frank Hoej, sprinted by.

'I did not see him. He came from nowhere. Still, I have the yellow jersey, and that's great,' Vogels said. 'It was a hard, fast race, and my coach really did not want me to lay it on the line too soon.'

Vogels had come second on Sunday after a close shave with a wall, and yesterday it was that last hill that got the better of him. Hoej waited his chance. 'They started the sprint too soon, then as they died from such a long effort, I came past,' he said. Aggregate time keeps Hoej second behind Vogels, the Australian having started the day seven seconds ahead of him. Hoej won a deduction of 15 seconds for his victory.

Today they race from Eastbourne to Portsmouth, and there could be a different fitting for the yellow jersey. There is only 13 seconds between Vogels and the third-placed, in-form Chris Lillywhite from the efficient Banana team who have a natural feel for yellow. They have taken home the colour twice in three years.

MILK RACE (stage 1, Tunbridge Wells circular, 117 miles): 1 F Hoej (Den) 4hr 28min 30sec; 2 H Vogels (Aus); 3 C Lillywhite (GB, Banana); 4 W Engelbrecht (Southern Sun, SA) all s/t; 5 C Rajch (Pol) +4sec; 6 R McLachlan (Aus) +14; 7 K Marcussen (Den) +24; 8 S Sutton (Banana, Aus) +35; 9 G Rice (Aus) s/t; 10 P Leitch (NZ) s/t. Overall: 1 Vogels 4:33:36; 2 Hoej +2sec; 3 Lillywhite +13; 4 Engelbrecht +24; 5 McLachlan +35; 6 Rajch +36; 7 Marcussen +45; 8 O Simensen (Nor) +50; 9 B Smith (Banana, GB) +51; 10 A Mizourov (Kaz) +53. Other British placings overall: 13 M Walsham (Banana) +57sec; 16 M McKay (amateur) +1:01; 18= M Postle (Britannia) +1:03; 21 I Gilkes (Britannia) +1:10; 22 M Stephens (amateur) +1:11; 23 S Farrell (amateur) +1:13. Overall team placings: 1 Australia 13:26:09; 2 Banana +28sec; 3 Denmark +46.

(Maps omitted)