Smiles for miles

The Limestone Coast turned it on for the region’s biggest weekend of cycling with riders coming from far and wide to compete in two prestigious road events.

The 85th running of the Alex Roberts 100 Mile Classic, sponsored by She’s Apples and Lush Desserts was the main attraction on Saturday before cyclists rode rings around the iconic Blue Lake chasing the SA Kernesse Championship.

With hundreds of riders in town, the region lived up to the occasion and was bathed in sunshine to create perfect conditions for the big events.

The 85th She’s Apples and Lush Desserts Alex Roberts 100 Mile Classic title went to Arturs Markovs, who stole the show with a tremendous solo ride in the handicap race.

Markovs was well placed in the second limit group and bolted from the pack at the second feed station.

The brave move worked wonders as he quickly established a formidable five-minute lead which was enough for the solo breakaway to hold off the scratch bunch before the finish line on Bay Road.

Second place went to Port Fairy’s Cadel Howie, while William Robinson completed the podium.

The handicaps were just too far this year for the fastest riders, with Blake Agnoletto finishing fifth, taking out the fastest time award in their final bunch sprint, while Nicholas Kidman was the leading local.

The 111km Pristine Skin and Laser Clinic Women’s Classic was also run on the day, with the ladies in their own handicapped groups.

Katelyn Nicholson and Eloise Sandow managed to break away from their group and stay away from the chasing riders.

Nicholson had the extra gear in the dash to the line and won the fourth edition of the race, while third place finisher Chelsea Holmes was the fastest rider home.

Once the senior riders had left on their odyssey, it was time for the junior riders to begin the ASW Lawyers Junior Classic.

The Under 11/13 race was let off first, with Maximus Moore showing he will be a rider to watch in the future, winning the race after starting behind all others.

Ryan Underwood was runner-up, closely followed by Thomas Brinkley while Philippa Ward was the fastest female.

The Under 15/17 riders negotiated a 34km course, with William Brown winning a sprint in front of Jami Buckley.

The pair was 27 seconds ahead of Hunter Wood and fastest female Leani Van der Berg, while the quickest male was Kalan Tucker.

The perfect weather returned on Sunday and greeted riders for the South Australian Kermesse Championships held around the Blue Lake where many backed up for a second straight day of racing.

The junior riders were the first to leave with the Under 17 group followed by the Under 15’s and Under 13’s.

Three riders broke away quickly in the Under 17 Kermesse held over five laps and were able to maintain their advantage.

First across the line was William Mathwin, followed by Tucker and Jack Clark, while Van Der Berg won the female category once again.

The male Under 15 race was also held over five laps and William Brown soloed away to victory ahead of Underwood and Angus Corbett.

Paige Squire won the Under 15 female event, followed by Isobel Cranage and Lavinia Ward.

The Under 13 riders negotiated three laps of the Blue Lake for their Kermesse, with Moore remaining in front of Ryan Underwood and Thomas Brinkley.

The girls race was held at the same time, where Freya Miller finished in front of Molly Opperman and Philippa Ward.

It was then the opportunity of the male support riders to negotiate as many laps of the Blue Lake in their allotted 50 minutes.

In E Grade Peter Grivell finished ahead of Chris Winter and D Grade was won by James Kelly ahead of Harry Opperman and Nathan Thomas.

The C Grade race was a close bunch finish with eight riders contesting the final sprint which went to 100 Mile Classic winner Markovs from Alex Magarey and Robert Mann.

The B Grade Men’s support race was also close, with Andrew McCarthy edging out Angus Southerland and Patrick Shanahan for the win, while local Sarah Dally saluted the judges first in the B Grade Women’s race from Genevieve Zlatkovic and Emma Underwood.

It was then time for the Women’s Kermesse Championships held over 50 minutes plus two laps of the Blue Lake.

Chelsea Holmes emerged at the front of the thrilling bunch sprint ahead of Dharlia Haines and Elizabeth Young.

The Men’s Kermesse Championships was the grand finale where riders raced for 75 minutes plus two laps and reached speeds of up to 80kph.

A group of five riders broke away in the mid stage of the race and managed to stay away from the pack.

Lucas Hoffman had enough in the tank to claim the win from Angus Miller and Jason Thomason.

The event was organised by Mount Gambier Cycling Club member David Zeven, who said it was a great weekend from start to finish with local and international riders taking part.

“We had perfect weather which was ideal for cycling and everyone enjoyed themselves across a great couple of days,” he said.

“Three riders from the Australian men’s pursuit team in Josh Duffy, James Moriarty and Graeme Frislie came from Canada.

“They were part of the 104 starters for the senior race, but we were a little bit disappointed for the women’s race numbers with only 14 because a lot of the top women’s riders are in Belgium.

“It’s a great weekend that inspires riders to give it a crack and shows Mount Gambier is not that far from elite cycling.”

The cycling club now starts pedalling towards the conclusion of its Winter Series held each Sunday, while the next big event is the Crank the Crater in November.

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