All 3 Warragul Cycling Club races were won by the sprint specialists in the respective fields. These are the riders who sit in the bunch, rarely attacking. They just hope to hang on over the climbs. But the rest of the field should know that unless they get rid of them before the finish they are always a chance to take out the race.
In A grade a strong field of 8 riders set off at a gentle pace. The field stayed together for the first lap in a time of 28:52 around the Sthurs Rd Circuit. The second lap was a little quicker and Danny Dilger decided a chat with Staf Duncan was a better option than riding the third lap on his own. The third time up the Shady creek climb Thomas Sandner cranked up the pace half way up. James Henry went past him near the top of the climb then Jason Kruger took over and tried to escape on the decent. The field were having none of that and reeled him in before the turn into Sthurs Rd. Thomas again upped the tempo and this time the improving Luke Handley jumped across to him. Luke and Thomas worked hard to stay away but Jason Kruger and Trent Brown led the rest of the field back to them. The group settled for a few kilometres before the final 2 km turned into a flurry of attacks. First Thomas Sandner jumped up the road, Luke chased him down and tried to go on his own. Pete Finlayson, and Geoff Thomson had, up until this stage, allowed others to do the attacking and chasing, but now they approached the front of field with 500meters to go. Thomas jumped for home first but Thomo anticipated this and flew past him to record a brilliant tactical win. Thomas was second, and Pete Finlayson was third. Next home was Luke Handley followed by Jason Kruger and Trent Brown. James Henry brought up the rear.
B and C grade combined with 9 riders in the combined bunch. The first lap was completed under control with Pete Bailey, Lee Irvine and Paul Yeatman doing the majority of the pace making. At the bottom of the Shady Creek climb Bailey and Irving took off. After some urging from Rob Monk to let them go, the remainder of the bunch let get a 300 meter break by the top of the climb. A determined and organised chase by Paul Yeatman, Col Brown, Bill Murphy and Micheal Pridmore soon ate into the handy break that Iriving and Bailey enjoyed and by Sthurs Rd the bunch was back together. Mark Oakley Brown and Paul Yeatman looked strong and opened up 40 and 50 meter gaps on the rest of the bunch but Bailey and Irving were not keen to let them go. Irvin punctured at the end of the 2nd lap. Col Brown rolled away from the bunch on the shady creek climb the 3rd time up. He got a 50 meter break but was caught and passed by Bailey, Pridmore, Monk and Simon Cuckson before the top of the climb. Bill Murphy, Paul Yeatman and Mak Oakley Brown were dropped on the climb. The super strong descender Paul Yeatman rejoined the leaders before the turn into Sthurs Rd but Bill and Mark were destined to time trial on their own to the finish. The bunch rolled some solid turns over to make sure the chases were out of the race. It was clear that no-one in the field was keen to really try and get up the road so a bunch sprint looked inevitable. The group rolled along at 24km/hr with no-one wanting to be on the front. As is usually the case, someone runs out of patience and in this race if was Simon Cuckson. He attached from the back of the bunch with over a kilometre to the line. Pete Bailey dragged the bunch up to him and latched onto his wheel. Col Brown then jumped and again Bailey brought the field up. Bailey took the lead with 150 meteres to go but Rob Monk, who had been on his wheel for all of the last kilometre, rolled over the top of him just before the line. Paul Yeatman finished strongly to grab 2nd spot with Bailey in 3rd. Next home were Micheal Pridmore followed by Col Brown then Simon Cuckson.
In D grade Dave Axford, Alan Hauxwell and Brendan Pridmore rolled around the first lap in a tidy 32 minutes. Axford, who is struggling for form at the moment was dropped on the climb and Alan was left to do mose of the pacemaking with Brendan enjoying the ride. When it came to the sprint the younger Brendan had too much speed and took it out. Dave came home 2 minutes later in 3rd position.
Long time chief organiser, handicapper, recorder, judge, jury and executioner Staf Duncan, has announced he’s taking a break from duties. All racing members of the of the Warragul Cycling club would like to thank Staff for the hours of work he’s put in over the years to make our Saturday cycling experience both safe and enjoyable. We’ll miss Staf’s sense of humour, appropriate perspective on cycling’s increasingly bureaucratic regulations and the waft of cigarette smoke as you roll past him and he rings the bell shouting “One to go!!”. All WCC members extent their thanks and best wished Staf, and we hope to see you back on the clipboard soon.