Report: Cootamundra Handicap Weekend

Report: Cootamundra Handicap Weekend


An Antarctic blast brought chilly temperatures and brutal crosswinds to this year’s state open handicap weekend in Cootamundra.

Cootamundra Annual Cycle Classic (77km)

On Saturday, 144 starters braved wintry 40km/h crosswinds across the entire circuit of the Cootamundra Annual Cycle Classic.

With half an hour to make up, Scratch was decimated in the chase, with only two riders—Dylan George (Manly Warringah CC) and Michael Vink (New Zealand)—reaching the front in contention for victory.

They were joined by Luke Britten (Illawarra CC) and under-19 Harry Jones (Canberra CC) from Chopping Block, Matthew Curtin (Northern Sydney) from Bunch 3, and Benjamin Treble (Manly Warringah CC) from Bunch 4.

The form guide must have been swept away by the wind, because it was the broad-shouldered Treble who defied expectations to steal a march on his more-fancied rivals. On the steep climb to the finish on Suttons Lane, Treble launched early and held on to take a surprise win ahead of Jones and Vink.

It was Treble’s fourth appearance on a state podium this year after a brace of third places at Tolland and a criterium win in Broke.

“Those guys had to work a lot harder coming from Scratch to get to me in the first place,” Treble said about the final sprint. “I had an easier first two-thirds of the race. Coming into the last kilometres, I managed to sit out on a few turns and rest up.

“Coming into the final climb, I waited, and no one seemed to be kicking. I’ve got a fairly long sprint, so I just put in a massive kick, I saw a gap open up, and I just went for it,” he said.

After starting from Bunch 7, Katie Banerjee (Harlequin) soloed to the title of first woman, with Lillee Pollock (Illawarra CC) 37 seconds behind.

Handicap Results

1st          Benjamin TREBLE                              Manly Warringah CC       2:15:53 

2nd        Harry JONES                      Canberra CC (ACT)          

3rd         Michael VINK                    International (NZL)         

4th         Dylan GEORGE                  Manly Warringah CC       +0:01    

5th         Matthew CURTIN                             Northern Sydney CC       +0:03    

6th         Luke BRITTEN                     Illawarra CC        +0:09    

7th         Myles STEWART                                Tolland CC           +1:32    

8th         Rohan HAYDON-SMITH                 St George CC      +1:33    

9th         Fintan CONWAY                               Hunter District CC

10th       Jordan LOUIS                     Sydney Uni VC   +1:36

20th       Katie BANERJEE                Harlequin            +2:58    

21st        Lillee POLLOCK                  Illawarra CC        +3:35


Fastest Time

1st          Michael VINK                    International (NZL)          1:45:53.91

2nd        Dylan GEORGE                  Manly Warringah CC       +0:01


Cootamundra Haycarters Handicap (77km)

Sunday’s Haycarters Handicap was held on the same 77km course as the Annual, but in the reverse direction. Mercifully, the winds had eased to a gentler breeze and the sun came out to produce milder conditions.

Of the 123 starters, a larger Scratch group of about 10 riders approached the front of the race with 12km remaining.

As Scratch neared, a high-speed crash in what was then the leading group, made up mostly of riders from Bunch 3, tangled up several riders including Ryan Britten (Illawarra CC), Andre Dubier (Lidcombe Auburn CC) and Josie Talbot (Camden CC). Talbot suffered the worst of it, and was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone and a knee wound.

On the final climb about a kilometre from the finish, the cream rose to the top:  once again, Dylan George and Michael Vink broke clear, this time by following the attacks of Benjamin Hill (Canberra CC). Into the downhill sprint, Vink jumped first before George came around to take the win, with Hill finishing second.

The result continues a standout year for George, who had already won the U19 Australian road race title, the Orica Kermesse and the Tolland Open handicap.

“Saving some energy today without the crosswinds definitely helped,” George said. “It came down to three Scratch guys in the end, so it was easier than beating some of the guys from Bunch 3 and 4 that were fresher.”

After Emma Viotto was also delayed in the crash that involved Talbot, Dayna Davidson (Southern Cross CC) took the crown of first woman, riding strongly and smartly from Bunch 7.

Handicap Results

1st          Dylan GEORGE                  Manly Warringah CC       2:07:17

2nd        Benjamin HILL                   Canberra CC (ACT)

3rd         Michael VINK                    International (NZL)         

4th         Sean WHITFIELD                              Canberra CC (ACT)           +0:10    

5th         James HARVEY                 International (NZL)                          +0:29    

6th         Cameron ROGERS                           Canberra CC (ACT)          

7th         Brayden BLOCH                 Randwick Botany CC      

8th         Jack RENSHAW                  Northern Sydney CC       +0:32    

9th         Myles STEWART                                Tolland CC          

10th       Christopher BALL                              Manly Warringah CC

43rd       139         Dayna DAVIDSON                            Southern Cross CC           +5:13


Fastest Time

1st          Dylan GEORGE                  Manly Warringah CC       1:42:17.33

2nd        Benjamin HILL                   Canberra CC (ACT)

Full results:


Feature photo by Rosanne Brooker

Podium photos by Ryan Miu