51 riders lined up in hot conditions for the start of the 70 km opening stage of the 2018 Tour de Riverina – The Rock Classic, hosted by Tolland CC. Riders were graded across five bunches, with limit receiving a mark of 17 mins, followed by second limit at 11 mins, second block at 5 mins, block at 1 min 45 secs, and hunted by an nine-man strong scratch bunch.
A fierce pace was set by scratch, who steamrolled along to catch block 20 km into the race. Scratch/block continued to keep a strong pace and work together quite well, consistently driven by absolute workhorses in Steve “Killa” Kilpatrick, Andrew Francis and Joshua Bretag. Approximately 43 km in, Scratch managed to make contact with second block, the riders of which certainly didn’t hang up the boots to call it a day, with riders from second block contributing well to the work – notably Adrian Hamilton and Paul Millyn.
By the time scratch had caught second block, the race was well and truly in the balance. First and second limit had not yet contacted each other, with second limit 4 mins up the road from scratch and limit another 2 mins ahead. In particular, impressive efforts from Gary Halloran, Jack Douglas, Billy Hindmarsh, and several unidentified Griffith riders had ensured the success of limit, and had given them a real shot at taking this one to the finish.
The straightness of the road ensured that back behind in scratch, riders had a clear view of the limit bunches ahead – who were hovering at a distance very strikable by scratch. However, legs were beginning to tire, and the mind games had begun – hence scratch proceeded to run out of steam and conceded to the limit bunches ahead, content to leave it to the battle for the fastest time prize.
Up ahead, although nervous they may have let this one slip through the fingers, second limit finally made contact with limit 3 km from the finish. Facing the final hill in the race, Brad Wild floored the accelerator pedal to inflict whatever damage he could and soften up numbers for the finish. One kilometre from the finish, Luke McMahon tried his hand at dropping a tactical nuke on everyone by making a searing acceleration to force a gap, however his efforts would not prove fruitful with Shane Lenon laying down some serious watts in the sprint finish to set himself up for the win. However, Mick Harrison had timed his sprint effort to perfection, and came around Shane late to claim the chocolates and take stage victory after a tough day of racing.
Peter Treloar led scratch home 1 min 30 secs behind after pulling clear from a three-up sprint between himself, Myles Stewart, and Brodie Pearce to claim fastest time prize in a time of 1 hour 34 minutes 51 secs.
Kylie Johnson also laid down a superb effort, only falling off the pace in the closing kilometres of the race, to claim the first female prize.
The hot temperatures had made for some zapping conditions, with many riders caught on the wrong side of some perhaps slightly misjudged “weight vs. water” decision-making, wishing they’d just taken that extra bottle. Thanks goes to The Rock Memorial Bowling Club for hosting presentations, to Tolland CC for hosting the race, and to the efforts of drivers, volunteers and officials.
The Tour de Riverina continues with Stage 2 – Stockinbingal Fair (hosted by Cootamundra CC) on Sunday, 18th March.
- 1st – Mick Harrison (Tolland CC)
- 2nd – Shane Lenon (Tolland CC)
- 3rd – Cameron Oke (Wagga Wagga CC)
- 4th – Tim Doyle (Tolland CC)
- 5th – Jack Douglas (Cootamundra CC)
- 6th – Billy Hindmarsh (Tolland CC)
- 7th – Nick Martin (Tolland CC)
- 8th – Brad Wild (Tolland CC)
- 9th – Andrew Piffero (Tolland CC)
- 10th – Peter Stockwell (Griffith CC)
Fastest time – Peter Treloar (Tolland CC) 1:34:51
First Female – Kylie Johnston (Tolland CC)
General Classification after Stage 1
- 1st – Mick Harrison (Tolland CC) – 11 pts
- 2nd – Shane Lenon (Tolland CC) – 10 pts
- 3rd – Cameron Oke (Wagga Wagga CC) – 9 pts
- 4th – Tim Doyle (Tolland CC) – 8 pts
- 5th – Jack Douglas (Cootamundra CC) – 7 pts
- 6th – Billy Hindmarsh (Tolland CC) – 6 pts
- 7th – Nick Martin (Tolland CC) – 5 pts
- 8th – Brad Wild (Tolland CC) – 4 pts
- 9th – Andrew Piffero (Tolland CC) – 3 pts
- 10th – Peter Stockwell (Griffith CC) – 2 pts
- Best Scratch Rider – Peter Treloar (Tolland CC) – 1 pt (count back on no. of fastest time prizes)
- Best Female Rider – Kylie Johnston (Tolland CC) – 1 pt (count back on no. of first female prizes)