by Jayman Prestidge
Good weather conditions saw 35 racers take to the Darnum Handicap circuit. After a week’s break from racing to celebrate Australia Day it was clear that the more competitive racers were keen to test their fitness levels.
The out markers had a sixteen minute advantage over the last rider out of the blocks.
Cyrus Monk, who has recently signed with a domestic professional cycling team would be starting last.
Abbey Taylor and Sue Elsdon were the first riders away with the Terry Kelly and Nicole Summerfield led group three minutes behind. Several minutes further adrift were the Richard Bridge and Sam Abbot led group. Along with some brute strength in Bruce Staben and Zvonko Maric this bunch were in a good position to stay away if they worked together. They also had new teenage racer Cody Orgill who was excited to ride in a field of this size for his first time.
Next group on the road was led by Geoff Thomson and Brett Kennedy who had assistance from elder statesmen Neil Edwards and Colin Brown. They were sent off two minutes ahead of the Rob Monk and George Tambassis led group.
The second last group to leave was the Shane Stiles and Chris Joustra led group. With a 30 second advantage over Cyrus Monk they would need to work hard to keep the young professional away from them.
Cyrus had other ideas. Armed with a nasal clip that was inserted into both nostrils that increased his oxygen intake by 38%, Cyrus produced record power levels and had cleared the deficit within the first three kilometres. He then proceeded to increase the pace of this group and by the half-way point of the race a large group of riders had formed after multiple bunches had been reeled in.
With the exception of two riders who had not yet been caught, the Handicapper had clearly got it wrong. As the field massed to approximately 25 riders with one lap to go, Cyrus and the chopping block group upped the pace along the false flat to shed another ten riders.
The legs of riders were further weakened by attacks on the hills past the Fonterra factory by Cyrus Monk and Matt Parkingson hot on his heels.
With only seven riders remaining into the last corner Rob Monk decided to use his considerable weight to lead the group out.
After Rob Monk blew up like a powder puff with 250 metres to go Cyrus Monk took the initiative to simply stamp on his pedals and take victory. His new nasal clip clearly paid off as he also set a new course record for five laps of the Darnum circuit.
Shane Stiles followed in second place, Dave Salton in third, Paul Makepeace in fourth and Matt Parkingson in fifth.
Whilst Club racing is terrific, it was great to see Warragul Club Member Kane Walker race alongside Cadel Evans on Sunday at the televised Cadel Evans Road Race. Kane was riding very well until a crash in front of him saw his lose contact with the leaders. Thankfully he is uninjured and will take to the start line with fellow club member Brenton Jones at this week’s Herald Sun Tour. We wish these two professional riders all the best.
Racing returns next Saturday to the Endeavour Street, Warragul circuit. The circuit is a fantastic way to start racing so buy a race licence and come along.