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Port Fairy Cycling Club

Port Fairy, Victoria, February 7, 2004

Improbable win

Once in a while you hear of an athlete beating the odds, overcoming adversity and triumphing. Particularly in cycling, Greg LeMond, for example, nearly dying in a shooting incident and recovering to win a Tour de France. And of course every person in the western world has heard the Lance Armstrong story.

Port Fairy Cycling Club members witnessed their own 'back from the dead' performance on Saturday, when Chris West scored an unlikely victory after missing his groups start and having to set off on his own.

Having been allocated a generous mark of eight minutes and 45 seconds ahead of scratch, Chris must have thought he was in with a big chance of victory. Perhaps in a subconscious effort to even up the race Chris missed his groups send off and found himself chasing, on his own about a minute later.

The fact that it took around 20 kilometres for the group lead by Chris Carr and Mark Hyland to catch West indicated that he was in good form.

Further back the 'chopping block' group containing Phil Morris and Toni Hose were able to stay away from the scratch group until after the halfway turn around. Once these two back groups had joined there seemed hope that they could reel in the front markers, especially considering that the last 20 kilometres of the 40 kilometre road race were straight into a substantial head wind.

In a day that was much more suited to the back markers (strong winds and longer race distance) one be one the limit markers were picked off by the group containing Carr and, by now West. Eventually this group engulfed all of the front runners and with three kilometres to go the group would have known that the back markers were not going to catch them.

Head wind finishes require a more tactical approach than normal. To be in-front with 800 metres to go usually means disaster. Ideally, a rider would want to stay behind other riders until the last 200 to 150 metres and burst out of the pack for a win. Most of the riders in the lead pack had this in mind. Chris 'Lazuras' West, took advantage of this game of tactics and attacked the group from almost 750 metres out. Perhaps he'd thought that he'd been on his own for the entire first half of the race and that he would try to finish the race solo.

Fortunately for West, the other riders all waited for some one else to chase. By the time that a reaction occurred, West was preparing for his victory salute. Terry Sketcher picked up second in a sprint finish from Mark Hyland, third.

Any riders who would like further details about next Saturday's race can log on to the club's web site, or just arrive at the Port Fairy Showgrounds for a 2.00pm start.


1 Chris West
2 Terry Sketcher
3 Mark Hyland

Local results 2004