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By Peter Winton
Mildura cyclists enjoyed fair skies and a refreshing south westerly breeze for Sunday morning's road race at the Deakin Avenue & Nineteenth St circuit. Nine laps of the 5.36 kilometre road network was the task at hand.
Competitor numbers are still down a little from earlier highs however 10 members and 1 visiting rider fronted the handicapper. The Club's race panel having to establish the starting order for the day decided on Michael Vaughan, Jack Lokan and Peter Winton to be the limit bunch. Some 4 minutes back saw Ian Brade (making a welcome return) with Arthur Anderson and Adam Wightwick, followed by Peter Mills, Damien Wells and Geoff Marshall. The mark of honor held by Rob McNally and Kevin Tankard.
Christophe Baudry, officiating in starter's duties sent the riders away into the cross wind. With Lokan and Winton maintaining a 9 minute lap time and Michael Vaughan managing to chip in for turns on the front where able, the following bunch did not make up much time. Expected to be rounded by lap 7 the limit riders were surprised to be pounced upon by a bunch including the scratch markers minus Andersons group on the 8th lap.
As always, the little bursts of speed which accompany the scratch riders tend to drop off some riders, Vaughan being the first to go. McNally powering to the line for the start of the last lap didn't quite split the bunch any further, then turning into the headwind along 19th Street the bunch speed slowed to allow for recovery in anticipation for a sustained break-away. No rider along this section attempted such a feat (I'm sure David Tozer would have!) and things were "normal" along the abattoir section which only builds the anticipation.
With the speedy legs of Damien Wells yet to cause much havoc it was rider watching rider listening for the tell-tale click of rear derailleurs notching up another gear or two. In a presidential move, Winton ended the nervousness and took the pack on in the down hill approach to Deakin Avenue. This move drew Wells out of hiding as he accelerated to the front within 20 metres of the intersection.
The bunch now spread out in the long finishing straight. From the writer's perspective (rear, looking forward!) It was Tankard taking Wells on and winning with third place going to Jack Lokan. McNally fourth, after he let Lokan in and then Mills and Marshall. The "Lantern Rouge", with encouragement, going to Michael Vaughan.
This week's events include a 16km time trial at Riverside and a criterium during next Sunday's Emergency Services Triathlon at the Rowing Club lawns.
1 Kevin Tankard 1.13.00 2 Damien Wells 3 Jack Lokan 4 Rob McNally
Previous Australian Results