by Rob Monk
Warragul riders took out A, B and D grade in the 50th running of the Gippsland 3 day tour. In A grade Warragul riders filled the first 5 places on the general classification. Cyrus Monk became only the second 17 year old winner in the history of the race.
Cy was second after the stage 1 time trial which was taken out by Warragul’s James Henry. In the stage two road race also beginning in Heyfield Cy was well beaten by Warragul’s Jarryd Jones. On the Sunday stage at Leongatha Cy attacked the bunch at the bottom of the Mardan climb and by the top of the hill he had a 45 second gap. He still held a 10 second advantage 20k later at the finish. He went into the final stage at Yinnar on Sunday with an 12 second lead. Cy managed 3rd on the final stage which meant he won the tour by 11 seconds. James Henry was second, Kane Walker third, Jarryd Jones fourth and Jayden Manintveld fifth.
In B grade Paul Yeatman was a picture of consistency. He was second in the time trial and second on Stage 2, 3rd on stage 3 and 4th on stage 4. This gave him a 2 point victory over Geoff Thomson who was riding his 40th Gippsland 3 Day Tour. The prologue was won by LCCC rider James Timmer-Arends. Alan McCulloch came in third. Yeatman rode his usual attack off the front style during stage two and was off the front with Craig Skinner for half a lap. A late attack by Brent Sword of the Wellington Cycling Club saw nobody willing to chase and Sword secured victory in Stage 2. During stage 3, Yeatman was dropped on the Mardan climb and it took half a lap of hard chasing to get back to the bunch. He would not be dropped on the climb on lap two. Another late break this time saw Kristy Glover of Wellington take the win. The final stage was a numbers game. Yeatman had marked Thommo, Timmer-Arends and Glover and he only chased if these riders made a move. Monk soloed off the front after the lap 3 hill climb and stayed off the front until the highway. In the end, it was a bunch finish. It only took him seven attempts to finish on the podium.
Duane McDonald was the most successful Warragul rider in C Grade. He won the fourth stage at Yinnar after soloing off the front of the group for 30 km.
The D grade race was close and Frank Bensted won on a count back from Steve Muggeridge on the final day. Frank won the first stage as well as the last stage to take the overall victory. A great reward for recent months spent training hard. Adele Whelan raced well to win the prize for first female.
Notably, the winners in three of the four grades placed on the podium during the time trial.