Written by Mal Sawford
The forecast torrential rain, hail and gale force winds didn't materialize in Modella, and those who ignored the forecast (and the awful weather in Melbourne) were rewarded with a fine and unusually warm afternoon. The wind got up enough to make things tough midway through most races, and all race winners well and truly earned their trophies today.
Numbers were kept low with many expecting a washout, and as a result the Open Men's bunch comprised Under 19, Elite and Masters 1-3 riders. The field split on the first climb into three distinct groups, with six riders forming a strong lead group.
Joining former Giro d'Italia rider Tom Leaper (2XU-Aussie Crates) were fellow Elite riders Rowan Dever (Total Rush) and Andrew Christie (Lawson Homes), Under 19 star Brent Nelson (Croydon Cycleworks) and strong Masters riders Ciaran Jones (Bicycles Inc) and Stefan Kirsch (Great Doherty's).
The other two groups maintained the chase for the duration, and only lost a couple of minutes by race end. Leaper attacked the lead group on the final climb but was chased down nearing the final turn a little over two kilometres from the line. Despite his earlier solo effort, Leaper led the sprint out a long way from home. Jones loomed up on his shoulder with 100 metres to go, but Leaper dug deep to hold off the challenge and take an impressive win, with Nelson third home.
The next bunch on the course contained the Open and junior women, and the older Masters riders. In the women's race, Steph Ives proved too strong on the climb, and rode clear with nearly 60km to race, and maintained a healthy margin over Suzanah Molloy all the way to the line. Emma Lyall and Anna Collins chased together on the flat section, before Lyall rode clear on the second set of climbs to wrap up third.
David Anderson (6am-ers) was the most aggressive of the Masters 4&5 contingent, but couldn't open up enough of a lead to keep the climbers at bay. Six survived in the lead group on the run into the finish, but the sprint proved a formailty forTom Walker, who took the win well clear of Chris Halley (O'Mara Cycles) and Gary Rosengarten.
Kyle Thompson and Hayden Eynaud were the best climbers in the junior one lap race, and finished well clear of the chasers, with Thompson winning the sprint. Camden Bush (The Freedom Machine) rode in solo for third place.
Drew Morey climbed well to take a solo win in the Under 15 section, with John Cochrane winning the bunch sprint for second ahead of Angus Flood and Warragul visitor Jayden Manintveld.
The younger juniors tackled a 20km out and back course, and all the boys were quite content to let Emily Dunk (Degani) set the pace all the way to the top of the climb. She wasn't able to shake off the limpets, with Liam Pino sprinting well to take the win ahead of Blackburn pair Callum Parlevliet (Quick Cycle) and Kyle Muir.
Thanks as always to the host of corner marshalls and support car drivers for allowing the race to be run safely. including traffic controllers Bruce Will and Greg Walker, corner marshals Russell Nelson, Alan Barnes, Colin Thompson, John Groves and Robin Dunk, lead car drivers Bob Quirk, Russell Hunt, Neale Adams, Judy Flood and Penny Robinson, construction crew Darren Cathie and Frank Cipriano, and race officials Ann Johnstone, Doug Moody, Monica Imberger and Melissa Nicholls.
|1||Tom||Walker||St Kilda||Masters 5|
|Under 11 & 13|