Brooker takes out ‘le Tour’

THE cycling faithful gathered at the Greengrocer last Friday for the launch of the Goulburn Grand Prix Cycle Challenge, Goulburn to City, Masters Championships and to watch a live telecast of some cycle race in rural France.

It wasn’t long before conversations turned to the Local Tour de France, with each handicap group huddled together to discuss tactics for Saturday’s final stage.

The 45km Range Road course is ideally suited to the strong climbers, with two climbs of the Col du Yurt Farm and the gruelling Alpe d’Pommeroy Station.

Sunny skies, light winds and a little chill in the air greeted the riders on Saturday morning. Yellow jersey leader and track sprint specialist, Brian Rawlinson ‘abandoned’ before the Stage - clearly the climbs were not to his liking.

Fiona Berry set off first and as a lone rider was always going to find it tough. She turned in an inspired performance, clearing the three climbs before the back markers caught her. The secret midweek training on the course is clearly paying dividends!

While the climbs split the groups there was some relief on the final descent of the Col du Yurt Farm with riders reaching speeds of over 70km/hr. In the fast run home the groups were unable to bridge the gaps.

The stage came down to a sprint finish with Ricky Brooker taking out line honours from Andy Cartwright by a second, with Angus Taylor a further three seconds back.

The finish by Brooker was enough to take out the Tour and the coveted yellow jersey. Fast finishing Graeme Allbon rode the quickest time of the day and was the only rider to finish under one hour and 10 minutes.

Contenders before the stage, Jim Hoskins and Chris Berry, turned into pretenders but provided some entertainment late as they tried to out fox each other in the race to the line before a large crowd of early finishers and spectators. The lead changed several times but this week Berry pipped Hoskins. The two provided one of the closest duals of the Tour.

Many thanks to the Greengrocer for providing the yellow jersey and first prize.

Next week cycling returns to Middle Arm Road for a time trial. Start time is 2pm at the Kenmore Cemetery. New riders welcome.

The winners

Stage 3

1) Ricky Brooker

2) Andy Cartwright

3) Angus Taylor

Fastest time: Graeme Allbon

First woman home: Fiona Berry

General classification

1) Ricky Brooker

2) Andy Cartwright

3) Graeme Allbon

Fastest overall time - Graeme Allbon

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