Seven riders faced the starter in Saturday’s 28km handicap.
Shepparton boy Nick Torney, 16, and Numurkah rider Robert Nichols rode from the virtual scratch mark, giving one minute start to five very competent riders, in Mooroopna’s Graham Sylvester, Shepparton’s Rene Mol, Cobram’s Rod Armstrong, Barooga’s Gary Smith and Numurkah’s Corey Beatson.
Quite a daunting task for the two scratch markers riding into a strong north-easterly wind for the first half of the race.
This proved to be the case as Armstrong couldn’t match the pace and was dropped at the 7km mark. He had completed a 70km training ride prior to the race and was showing signs of fatigue.
Mol, riding off the one minute mark, was next to go, being separated from his bunch just after the turnaround point, with legendary triathlete Smith finding the going too hard and being dropped from contention with 10km to travel.
At the Back Barooga Rd point, just 7km from the finish, Sylvester and Beatson held a 300m lead and did not appear to be tiring.
Beatson, who has only started racing recently, has been showing excellent form, winning at Hume Veterans and setting great times in the GV Veterans’ time trials.
Sylvester, who has not raced for some time, was an unknown quantity, but possesses a devastating sprint and could emerge as the winner, not forgetting the chasing riders who were closing fast.
They all came together with about 2km to travel and it looked like an opportunity for Torney to post his second win in four starts. Going into the last kilometre the the bunch of four remained together.
Torney went for the sprint a little too early, giving the others a great chance of overtaking him.
Beatson went to the front with about 80m to travel, relegating the fast-finishing Nichols into second place, with Sylvester in third.
Nichols posted fastest time of 45.44 minutes, with the winner’s time being 59secs slower. Next followed Torney, Mol and Smith. Armstrong did not finish.
●The highly anticipated Wagga to Albury handicap over 135km, the John Woodman Memorial, was completed on Sunday, with limit marker Bendigo’s Chris Drew taking home the major prize money.
Cobram riders Travis Lindhe and Christian McDonald did not figure in the finish, being one minute and two minutes down respectively on the winner. Both rode very well in the 84-rider field but just failed to catch the out-markers.
They were both very pleased with their performance, particularly McDonald, being in the bunch for fastest time.
●Next Saturday sees a 15km time trial starting at 1.30pm, $5 entry. All suitably licensed time trial enthusiasts are welcome. The MON factory in Barooga is the starting point.