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Warragul CC Shady Creek Series #1

July 10, 2004

Fantastique Shady Creek

Monique Hanley

Wind, rain and horrifying crashes may be plaguing riders in France during their first week of Le Tour de France, but for local riders, conditions were near perfect for a couple of laps around Shady Creek on Saturday. With the sun out and the wind settled, a great day for winter road racing welcomed a small bunch of 23 bleary-eyed cyclists as they tried to emulate the feats of Stuart O'Grady's breakaway win which had kept many of them from their beds during the week.

The A grade field yielded a small bunch of five riders, including a well rested Thomas Sandner, Masters Country Vic champ Chris Hunt, newly promoted B grade rider Wayne Chester, and Scott Keeble and Geoff Thomson, both returning from illness. Their first lap of the Stuhrs Road circuit was steady with the bunch together, but on the second ascent of the Nilma-Shady Creek hill Sandner stretched the pack out. He eased the pressure at the top, allowing the bunch to reform. No such luck on the final lap, where another change of pace by Sandner on the climb saw Geoff Thomson and Scott Keeble casualties, a fact which was stretched out on the descent. The remaining riders settled in for a bunch sprint, beginning early on the uphill finish. With his NZ altitude training, Sandner's lungs helped him cross the line ahead of Wayne Chester and closely followed by Chris Hunt.

The B grade peloton contained a more usual lineup, with the exception of a promoted Luke Hanley from C grade. Jeunes riders of the bunch, Steve Sandner and James Henry commanded a close eye as Steve attacked on the first climb of Nilma-Shady Creek, followed by an attack by James on the second climb. By the third time round, the two combined forces and attacked together, eventually finding a successful break by the top. They kept the pressure on throughout the descent and along the flats of Nilma North, before being reeled in by the chasers on Stuhrs Road. Meanwhile, father Ross Henry and Luke Hanley were also under pressure, but to maintain contact with the contenders. They too succeeded in making contact by the 'pavé' on Stuhrs Road. With the bunch intact, the field stayed together until Tim Lee opted for an early sprint, winding up from the gully prior to the hill finish. The move caused disarray, but allowed Steve Sander to get a jump on the balance and take the win ahead of James Henry. They were followed across the line by Justen O'Connor.

An unlikely C grade field were joined by promoted Dave Axford from D grade, resting B (and occasional A) grade riders Brett Rollinson, Pete Finlayson and returning to racing after a brief hiatus, Danny Dilger. Unused to having experienced riders join the more casual bunch, the field were happy to swap turns and advice, particularly concerning smooth changeovers from the higher grade riders, and in return they received normal race antics info from the C grade stayers. On the second climb, Monique Hanley lifted the pace over the remaining 400m, taking Pete Finlayson across the top, but declining to take advantage of the short break. The pack reformed by the back straight, and remained that way until Hanley attacked the bunch with just under 3km remaining. Michael Pridmore led the chase and the field regrouped yet again. A faux lead-out for a sprint undertaken by Danny Dilger was short-lived, yet prompted a response by Pridmore. The finish line was too far away to match his output, and he faded just as Hanley kicked in. She won the sprint and her first-ever club race (a long time coming!) ahead of Dave Axford and Pridmore.

The D grade bunch was on a first-name basis with only four starters in the field. A casual first lap was completed in order to keep the field together, but by the second lap Roger Bell had itchy legs. He attacked early on the second climb, destroying the bunch as Alan Hauxwell chased, followed by Rod Atkinson and Glenda Pridmore. But the damage was done by the top of the climb as Bell continued on his solo break for the remainder of the course. A trying Hauxwell could only watch as he battled to reclaim any ground towards the 'tete de la course'. Roger stormed home to claim his first ever club win and with a break of over 1minute 20 to Hauxwell. A short time later Rod Atkinson finished, followed by Glenda Pridmore.

Many thanks to the volunteers who assisted with running the race, including Staf Duncan, Karen Atkinson and Glenn Fisher. Merci beaucoup.

Round two of the Shady Creek Series is scheduled to commence from 2pm next Saturday. More information can be found at the club website


A Grade - 3 laps Stuhrs
1 Thomas Sandner            
2 Wayne Chester             
3 Chris Hunt                
B Grade - 3 laps Stuhrs
1 Steve Sandner             
2 James Henry               
3 Justen O'Connor           
C Grade - 2 laps Stuhrs
1 Monique Hanley            
2 Dave Axford               
3 Michael Pridmore          
D Grade - 2 laps Stuhrs
1 Roger Bell                
2 Alan Hauxwell             
3 Rod Atkinson              

Local results 2004