Variety is the spice of life and three different winners to previous weeks of the Warragul Cycling Club races made for spicy racing. The highlight of the day was the defeat of Stiles in A grade and Gary Olsson’s maiden victory in B Grade. Shane Stiles dominance of A grade finally came to an end. Kane walker ended Shane’s winning run with a dominant sprint performance. A field of 12 riders contested the race with the pace remaining solid throughout. The race stayed together thanks mainly to the efforts of Stiles and Walker chasing down any breaks that looked threatening. Joustra was his normal combative self and when he was joined by Simon Baxter and Callan Barker the break looked menacing.After some conferencing in the peloton Stiles and Walker decided to close it down.
They brought the race back together quickly but in the process Paul Yeatman and Justin Gravett were dropped.
Stiles continued to chase down any moves and Walker chipped in when Shane needed a rest. In the final sprint Stiles headed for home first and only Walker could match his initial Jump. When Stiles tired Kane took over and took out the win. Simon Baxter took second in the best result of his career. Stiles scalp now hangs on his belt. Stiles took third, then followed Thommo and Callan Barker.
The B grade race featured many short lived break aways.
For 4 laps in a row various riders tried to break away on the King St Hill but none could split the field. The most threatening move was a mid race solo breakaway by Justin Prestidge.
He established a big break on the field and stayed off the front for nearly 3 laps. After the catch Rob Monk decided to try something different to break up the field. He let Thomas Sandner and Gary Olsson ride off the front and establish a break.
Monk then organised a chase from the rest of the field. Olsson and Sandner were not in the mood to be caught though and they quickly established a dangerous break. The chasing bunch split on the King St hill as Monk tried to bridge to the leaders. He did manage to get over to them and the trio of Sandner, Olsson and Monk quickly established a winning break on the remainder of the field.
In the sprint Sandner was first to jump for home. Olsson then put the power down and passed Thomas with 100 meters to go. Monk had the last crack at the win but he left his run a few centimetres too late. Olsson hung on buy a tyre to take a well earned win. Who said triathletes can’t sprint? Monk second, Sander third. A few minutes later Matt Kennelly took the sprint for fourth from James Lalor and Joe Patrick.
C and D grade combined into a bunch of nine riders.
They stayed together for the first 15 minutes with Steve Muggeridge, Paul Kennedy and Neil Walker doing the majority of the pace making while Junior riders Cy Monk and Jayden Manitveld hung on well. Tammy and Renee Patrick found some of Steve Muggeridge’s surges on the King St hill difficult to go with so they took the available lap out of racing to catch their breath before rejoining the race.With two laps to go Muggeridge finally cracked the field on King St. He time-trialled off the front and would not be caught. He took out the win easily and looks ready to join B grade next week. In the sprint for second Neil Walker showed good speed to easily take it out from Brad Venables. Then followed Paul Kennedy, Matt Williamson and Cyrus Monk.
Photos from the crit on 6th feb here.