Thomas Sandner can’t sprint. He’s strong but slow- a time trialist- an individual. To win a race Thomas must breakaway and stay away alone. Everyone knows this but that does not mean Thomas won’t try repeatedly to get away from the bunch.
To counteract the breakaway specialist the other riders will often conspire to let Thomas have a small break for part of the race and then work together to bring him back near the finish. In cycling terms this is referred to as “letting him cook”. Saturday’s combined A and B grade race was a fine example of how to slowly cook a German Sausage.
Four laps of Shady Creek was on the menu and Sandner was keen to go from the start. His first effort near the top of the Shady Creek hill took Jayden Manintveld with him but not for long. On the decent heavy weights Prestidge and Monk reeled them back quickly. Neil Walker and Graeme Parker were animated on the flats on lap one, trying often to break away but not succeeding. Sandner would chase them down then attack them. He wanted to break away along. On lap three he finally was allowed to go and the peloton settled into chase mode. Sandner was allowed to establish a 400 meter lead which he maintained for a lap and a half. At the bell he was still off the front but the peloton could smell he was nicely cooked. At the bottom of the Shady Creek hill the last time up Stiles made the call that “The German Sausage’s skin had split. He was done.” Sure enough on the decent Sander was caught.
Neil Walker sensed that peloton was likely to reluctant to chase a break this near the finish so he took off at the bottom of Sthurs Rd. Shane “Peanut” Styles had kept himself reasonably under control for most of the race but he had to jump over with Walker to keep him company.
Walker’s prediction of a fragmented chase effort proved correct. Prestidge tried to organise the chase but individualist Sandner immediately attacked the chasers destroying any cohesion in the group. The gap to Walker and Styles slowing increased. Monk finally came to the front to help Charlie Davine and Pete Whelan in the chase but it was too little too late.
Stiles rode away from Walker to take the A grade win. Walker took out B grade. In the bunch sprint for second Pete Whelan led out Graeme Parker from 600 meters out. Parker was spent by the time the lead out finished and Monk then Thommo blew past. Thommo was too quick in the sprint and took second from Monk. Then followed Parker, Davine, Prestidge, Whelan and a very well done German Sausage finished last.
Pre race betting before C grade had established Glen Marriot as a clear favorite. He was expected by all to take the prize and be promoted to B grade. Tambassis was expected to be his main opposition but then Tambassis suffers on Shady Creek Hill and Marriot was expected to dispose of him on the climb.
Marriot and Tambassis had made the fatal mistake of underestimating their opponents.
On lap one Paul Yeatman made sure he got up the climb on lap 2 before the others by taking off on the decent. Never one to shirk some work off the front Yeatman did lap one on his own. Muggeridge organised the chasers but Tambassis and Blythe were reluctant to roll through.
Yeatman was caught on lap 2 and dropped on the climb on lap 3 but he clawed his way back with the help of Graeme Parker. Marriot and Tambassis were reluctant to really work to keep the chasers off the back. This proved their downfall. Muggeridge set a solid tempo between the top of Sthurs and the finish. Tambassis and Marriot eyed each other off for the sprint. Yeatman had recovered from his earlier exertions and for a change was fresh at the end of the race. After Marriot flagged after he lead a surge with 800m to go, Yeaman initiated then blew Marriot and Tambassis away in the sprint. Then followed James Blythe, Steve Muggeridge, Graeme Patrick and Zvonko Maric.
D and E grade combined to race over 3 laps. Lap one the field stayed together with Kate Prestidge spending some time off the front after the climb while the Davine Boys and Mick Blackwood worked together to bring her back. Blackwood struggled on the climb but hung on grimly. Kate Prestidge gave it everything up the hill on Lap 3 dropping all but Pete Davine. The young fellow dug deep to hold on. The pair worked together till the home straight when Davine decided he would win a sprint and Prestige decided she had to get rid of the young fellow.
Kate tried some attacks and long efforts but Pete would not be dropped. In the sprint he never even changed out of the small chain ring and took it easily. Kate was second and John Davine took third three minutes later. Blackwood finished fourth and is getting stronger each week.
Racing next week is at Cloverlea.