Riders ‘crank out’ cycling series

Cool weather greeted the riders for the final race in the Mount Gambier Cycling Club Autumn/Winter Series, but it remained dry for the race and generally calm.

A total of 12 riders signed on for the race with the handicapper organising them into five groups.

First away was the family duo of Jen and Jason Buckland who pushed to stay away from the chasers for as long as possible.

They held a 14-minute gap before the next group consisting of John De Pree, John Cranwell and Don Sforcina were allowed to begin the chase.

Dean Zeven, Elmer Buckland and Spek Peake were the next to leave a further two minutes later, with another five minutes allowed to elapse before the duo of Jami Buckley and Gerard Coote began their chase.

After another two minute delay the final duo of Malcolm Tirabassi and Matthew Opperman began their chase of the riders ahead, 23 minutes after the Buckland’s had started their race.

The Buckland’s rode to their anticipated average speed on the way down to the turnaround marker and began the return leg still ahead of the chasing riders.

The group of John Buckland, De Pree and Sforcina were riding strongly, halving the distance between themselves and the first riders while still keeping the riders behind at bay.

Elmer Buckland, Zeven and Peake worked well together, while further behind Tirabassi and Opperman had already caught up with Coote and Buckley before the 15km mark and the four of them set about working together to chase down those ahead.

With 4km to the finish line left Jen Buckland launched from the front to try and hold off the chasing riders but was caught by De Pree, Cranwell and Sforcina with approximately 2km of course remaining.

This trio was able to remain in front all the way to the line, with Cranwell celebrating his return to racing after an injury-induced lay-off with a victory followed by Sforcina, with De Pree rounding out the podium.

Jen Buckland finished fourth ahead of Opperman who claimed fastest time honours, timing his sprint to perfection over Tirabassi and Buckley.

Coote was next, closely followed by Elmer Buckland who had managed to overtake his father within 200 metres of the finish.

Many of the riders returned to clubrooms for morning tea and presentations, where Coote was named the champion of the Autumn/Winter Series.

With the Tour de France on the screens, there will now be a two month break before racing resumes with the Alex Bailey Memorial 50km Handicap to be held on Sunday, September 11.

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