by Jason Tubnor
It was Club Road Championship day for Warragul cycling club members on Saturday. The club road championships is always a tough test of racing. The race was 78 kilometres long and included 4 ascents of the Shady creek hill. Strong cross winds before and after the climb added to the struggle.
The race started as a sedate tempo until the base of the Shady Creek hill on lap one. Bryce Edhouse thought he was Alberto Contador and set a hard tempo at the base of the climb. He had everyone quickly in the red zone and Pete MacDonald and Leigh Jamieson were dropped and were unable to return. Jayman Prestidge and Connor Bagot also found themselves distanced at the top of the hill but managed to catch the group on the descent.
The quick ascent of the hill on lap one took the sting out of the field and the ascent on lap two started more sedately. Alan McCulloch, fresh from an altitude training block in Colorado, was super strong on the climb all day. He put the pressure on and Matt Malacarne was keen to go with him. They established a small gap near the top and Matt Parkinson sensed an opportunity and flew over the gap to Malacarne and McCulloch. Al was just distanced near the top and Malacarne and Parkinson settled it to establish the small break they had on the descent.
The straggles on the climb caught McCulloch and started the chase. Brett Kennedy, Rob Monk and Bryce Edhouse were keen to get them back quickly Col Brown did what he could. Pete Whelan, Graeme Parker, Jayman Prestidge and Connor Bagot seemed unable or unwilling to contribute much to the chase.
Malacarne and Parkinson’s gap to the chasers increased. The chase group lacked cohesion and soon the inevitable attacks from the group started. Brett Kennedy had had enough of the non-contributors and he attacked in the cross wind in along Darnum Shady Creek Road. Monk was able to go with him and they established a gap. McCulloch managed to drop the rest of the group and caught and passed Monk and Kennedy on the hill the final time up.
By this stage it was clear the Malacarne and Parkinson would not be caught. Their lead was out to a minute and a half. They worked hard to the finish where Parkinson was too quick in the sprint and took the win and the title as Club Road Champion. Malacarne was second.
McCulloch and Monk worked together to try and hold off the chasing group of Whelan, Parker, Edhouse and Kennedy. Monk had just enough energy left to sprint for third position overall and held off a fast finishing Kennedy by about 10 seconds. McCulloch took a well-deserved fifth place.
Overall Championship: 1st Matt Parkinson, 2nd Matt Malacarne, 3rd Rob Monk.
Masters 123: 1st Matt Parkinson, 2nd Brett Kennedy
Masters 456: 1st Matt Malacarne, 2nd Rob Monk, 3rd Al McCulloch
Master 6+: 1st Col Brown
U19-Elite: 1st Connor Bagot