Peel cyclists put in some real hard yards

Theo Yates takes the win on stage four. Picture: Todd Elliot
Theo Yates takes the win on stage four. Picture: Todd Elliot

Peel District Cycling Club was represented by two teams as well as members making up the two Avanti and Uberquads teams, the Champion Lakes Racing team, most of the Lakes Ladies team and a number of other teams. Theo Yates was riding with Navitas Satalyst Racing, who along with Avanti Racing, races at the highest level in Australia, the National Road Series.

The first stage was a 7km uphill time trial. As all team members started at the same time, there were different strategies employed by different teams. Some teams sacrificed riders to get their best climbers to the steepest part of the climb fresh. Other teams worked together to get most of their riders to the line together. The later tactic worked for Avanti Racing, securing the first four places with Matthew Clark taking the win. Peel�s English import Lewis Keightley finishing equal 17th, Avanti Uberquads Liam Magowan 29th and Cass Higgs the first woman home in 65th.

In the Woman�s team event, Niche Living Women�s Racing employed similar tactics to Avanti Racing, securing the first three positions with Sarah Duffield taking the win.

The second stage was a 50km team time trial. This was a very important stage, as the results on this stage would determine the teams starting position for the next two stages. Peel�s first team consisted of Keightley, Higgs and four experienced time trial riders. They finished a credible 14th, with Navitas Satalyst first, Avanti Racing second and OTOC Vault third.

In the Women�s teams it was Niche Living Womens Racing continuing their dominance with Sub Six Women second and Cycle 4 Life third. Lakes Ladies was sixth.

The importance of results in the team time trial was shown the next day with stage three. The first five teams started 30 seconds ahead of the next five teams, with the next five teams 30 seconds behind. It was the only way the organisers could handle over 500 riders on the road at the same time. It also meant that members of the Peel team had to bridge a one minute gap to get to the front of the race. Keightley and a number of other riders bridged the gap during the 104 kilometre race, to be in a group of 28 contesting the finish. A small group attacked late with Chris Hamilton from Avanti Racing take the win from Darcy Pirottta second and Michael Fitzgerald third. Keightley was 25th and move to 16th overall.

Behind the Avanti Racing trio of Hamilton, Clark and Pat Shaw, Higgs finished 105th and increase her lead in the pink jersey contest for fastest women in open event to over seven minutes.

In the Women�s team event Duffield was first, with Erin Kinnealy from Sub Six Womens a close second and Liz Leyden third.

The final day was only a 52km race into a headwind to Yellingup. This time, the front five teams stayed away and did not let any riders bridge across, with Yates taking the sprint from Stephen Hall of OTOC Vault and Connor Lambert of Unicorn Specialized third. Hamilton finished in the group to secure the overall with, with his team mates from Avanti Racing, Shaw and Anthony Giacoppo second and third.

Higgs was involved in an accident, damaging her bike, she finished on a taller team mate�s bike losing close to 30 minutes and her pink jersey to Andrea Coleman.

In the women�s team event, Julia Kalotas from Niche Living Womens was first, Kinnealy was second again and Serene Lee from Cycle 4 Life third. Sarah Duffield finishing fourth, secured the event win from Kinnealy with Katy Duffield third.

The best performing Peel club members was Yates fourth overall and winner of the red sprinter�s jersey, Keightley 23rd and Magowan 26th.