After a relatively subdued start to the 2020 season last week, the intensity ramped up considerably this morning at Woodstock when a strong field of 40 lined up for the 47 km handicap.
Numbers were bolstered by a contingent of Swan Hill visitors and new members James Howden and Nigel Barham, and the depth of the field was evidenced by a few long-time scratch riders starting off second. Scratch flew down to Laanecoorie with the aid of a tail or cross-tail wind, but unfortunately for them so did all the other bunches. The 17s caught the 19s on the south-bound leg then were overtaken by the 10s and 14s with about eight kilometers to go, putting the big bunch at the front of the race. Second and third scratch had come together at the 33 km mark but were still a minute and a half behind the leaders when they turned at Newbridge for the run home. The head wind hurt the leaders more than the chasers who made contact with not much more than two kilometers out. Peter Michael Ladd saw an opportunity on the second last hill and opened up a good break, perhaps not appreciating that Woodstock Heights still lay in front. The rest of second scratch let him go but had to jump in when others started to chase him down. Peter (4 min) looked like he had the race in the bag but Richard Mcintosh (4 min) rolled him on the line after a great long-range sprint. Leigh Wallace (4 min) was less than a bike away in third, followed by Alan Pye (4 min), Chris Draper (10 min), Mathew Grealy (4 min), Murray Rankin (7 min), Paul Dynon (10 min), Nigel Barham (17 min) and Tom de Vries (17 min). Despite averaging more than 43 km/hr scratch came in about a minute after the winners with Darren Lapthorne recording fastest time