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1st Nick Gates Classic - NE

Australia, November 8, 2008


Gates ends career with solo victory among friends

By John Trevorrow

It was a fairy tale finish to a stellar career for Aussie cycling legend Nick Gates. In his final race in the aptly named event, Gates stormed clear with two laps to go and punched the air in a euphoric salute to 17 years on the bike. But a delayed flight meant that teammate Cadel Evans had to swap the bike for a microphone and help his mate from the sidelines.

Many of Gates's teammates and friends saddled up against a strong local contingent for a 45-minute plus three lap criterium in the inaugural Nick Gates Foundation Classic in Townsville.

Nick's fiancé, Belinda Drake, is from Townsville and after spending some time in the north Queensland capital, Nick saw the potential in some of the youngsters and was made aware of the many problems that these youngsters face, being more than 1,000 kilometres from the state capital.

Gates decided to form the Nick Gates Foundation to provide these promising juniors with some financial help.

Move forms halfway through

The race was held under extreme conditions with 30 plus degrees and extreme humidity. At the half-way mark a group of 10 got clear with many attacks from Columbia pro Scott Davis and Jittery Joe Duo Jon Cantwell and Trent Wilson. With six laps to go Gates got clear with teammate Robbie McEwen, Davis and Henk Vogels. Gates attacked with two laps to go and McEwen managed to negate the efforts of Vogels and Davis to help his best mate take the victory.

"That was really hard out there today and I am rapt to take out my final race. It was an awesome day," Gates said.

"It was so bloody hot out there that I am as wet as if I had ridden straight into the bay," an exhausted McEwen said. "But I was so happy to see Nick take it out and it gave me great pleasure to help a mate who has put his all into helping me over many years," McEwen said

Vogels, who pipped McEwen for second place, didn't seem to be upset with losing to his long time friend. "I did try to beat Nick today but he was too strong on the day. But if I wasn't going to win then I couldn't think of a more deserving guy. We have been teammates, room mates and close mates for 15 years and I am as happy as if I had won myself," Vogels said.


1 Nick Gates (Aus) Silence - Lotto                              
2 Henk Vogels (Aus) Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team        0.03
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto                           
4 Scott Davis (Aus) Team Columbia                               
5 Trent Wilson (Aus) Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team         0.07
6 Cameron Jennings (Aus) Pezula Racing                      0.09
7 Chris Klem (Aus)                               
8 Matt Wood (Aus) Ord Minnett - Triple Play                     
9 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team    0.22
10 Josh Prete (Aus)                                         0.23