For the second day in a row, Andrew L'Esperance got the better of Leandre Bouchard in a two-up sprint for the stage win. The Canadian retains his second place on GC with compatriot Bouchard holding onto the race lead with one stage to come.

"Leandre was very strong and marked me very closely. I did try to get away, but inside the 5km mark it was going to come down to a sprint," L'Esperance said, adding he is still dreaming of taking the win tomorrow. "I tried to put pressure on him [Bouchard], but no chance. I'm now 1:30min back, so tomorrow is going to be exciting. It will be every man for themselves and we'll see what happens."

For Bouchard, who is racing his first mountain bike stage race, explained that he was aiming to conserve ahead of the challenging final day time trial to Port Douglas.

"Today my goal was always to keep my lead - I knew, as long as I can stay with him I knew the time gap would remain the same," Bouchard said. "It's going to be interesting to see how we both react tomorrow after seven brutal stages. But I'm still feeling very well – Andrew seems still fresh, but I'm feeling good also. So I think I should be good for tomorrow, it'll be a short race, no tactics, so it will be all or nothing."

Hiroyuki Okamoto rode into third place overall but is well over two hours in arrears to the leading duo. The Japanese rider will take a ten-minute lead into the final stage over Ben May as he aims to make the podium.

Hayley Smith will start the stage tomorrow aiming to make it to Port Douglas and secure the women's GC victory.

Elite Results

Elite Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrew L'Esperance (Can) Forward Racing-Norco3:26:08 
2Leandre Bouchard (Can) BH SR Suntour KMC  
3Ben May (Aus) Bicycle Riders/Specialized/Infinit Nutrition0:11:28 
4Hiroyuki Okamoto (Jpn) Inpulse0:13:39 
5Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru-Marathonmtb.com0:32:21 
Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
12Haley Smith (Can) Norco Factory Team3:48:06 
Elite men general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Leandre Bouchard (Can) BH SR Suntour KMC26:20:55 
2Andrew L'Esperance (Can) Forward Racing-Norco0:01:31 
3Hiroyuki Okamoto (Jpn) Inpulse2:30:49 
4Ben May (Aus) Bicycle Riders/Specialized/Infinit Nutrition2:40:26