The overall leaderboard at Australia's premier mountain bike race Pure Tasmania Wildside MTB took a new look following the misfortunes of four-time winner Sid Taberlay on the second day of racing.
The Tasmanian suffered a series of punctures less than one kilometre after the first of two stages in the state's west coast region. The mishap cost Taberlay top spot on the overall standings, losing around 20 minutes to Victorian rival Daniel McConnell, who is the new race leader.
It was a case of history repeating itself for Taberlay who suffered a similar fate at the same location in the last year's four-day classic. "The same stage earlier last year I sliced my tyre and couldn't keep the tube in so I knew it was 'race over' and it's all about stages now," he said.
Taberlay is now hoping for a minor miracle if he's to claim a fifth title after sliding down the leaderboard - around 14 minutes in arrears - but realistically his chances have evaporated.
The second day of competition was held over some challenging but breathtaking tracks through Tasmania's rugged wild-west. Such was the toughness of the conditions, the more experienced riders chose to carry their bikes in some places, while others resorted to cooling off in the river crossing that lined the picturesque course.
Hobart's Rowena Fry resumed the overall leadership in the open women's section from Heather Logie in what's developing into a tight contest.
As the 450 competitors negotiated the second race of the day, riding on two wheels became impossible for the suspension bridge crossing at Montezuma Falls.
In the second race stage of the day, Taberlay made up for his earlier disaster and opened up a sizeable margin from O'Connell, who wasn't interested in chasing down the four-time Wildside winner.
"I just knew I had to stick with Josh [Carlson]. He's the main man now so as long as I do that I'd be pretty happy," O'Connell explained immediately after finishing.
Taberlay came good on his pledge to concentrate on winning stages and rode solo to the finish, three minutes ahead of the next rider. O'Connell took fifth but will enjoy a 1:33 overall lead from rising under 23 Victorians Steel van Hoff and Paul van der Ploeg.
Logie took over the overall leadership from Fry and has a 1:09 advantage over the Tasmanian in a contest that's expected to go down to the wire before Tuesday's finish in Strahan.
"She's certainly technically so much stronger than me but I guess suffering is something I do well, so this leg probably suited me better; but damn she's close so it's probably going to be tit-for-tat," said Logie.
"It's great fun it's really close but I don't know if it's good thing or a bad thing but it makes for really good racing," said Fry.