Dubbo cyclists have braved the Victorian heat to perform strongly at the Australian Road Cycling Championships in Ballarat at the weekend.
Kurt Eather, riding for Rauland Development, was the pick of the local talent, finishing fourth in the under 19 men’s criterium event, with MTOSS team rider Luke Ensor also putting in an impressive performance to finish eighth.
It was a feat in itself to finish the race in 40 degree temperatures; 18 of the 43 starters were unable to complete the 22 kilometres due to the heat.
There was local representation on the podium in the under 19 women’s event with Melbourne’s Ashleigh Jones taking the win and the gold medal.
Jones is a regular in Dubbo, training with local coaches and riders.
Nine years after she last competed at an elite national road cycling event, Simone Grounds matched it with the world’s best in the elite women’s criterium.
Grounds raced in her National champion club skin suit putting the Dubbo club colours and name in front of a national audience.
The heat attributed to the high attrition rate but Grounds – well acclimatised courtesy of the Dubbo heat – was in her element.
The 33 kilometre race was won by defending champion Rebecca Wiasak.
Grounds finished just one second behind in eleventh position in a bunch sprint.
World number three ranked cyclists Amanda Spratt finished in 17th position, seven seconds behind Grounds.
Ensor and Eather backed up on Saturday to take on the intimidating Mt Bunningyong course in the National Road Race.
The 104.4-kilometre race was taken out by a trio of Victorian riders – Patrick and Samual Eddy and Alastair Mackellar – but Eather performed well to finish the race.
Grounds sat out the elite women's road race, which was eventually taken out by a rider more than half her age in Sarah Gigante, to concentrate on the time trial event in which she would compete as NSW elite women’s champion.
Grounds performed excellently on the challenging, 29.5 kilometre course to finish eighth in a field of Australia’s best professional riders.
She will now turn her attention to the track, in the hopes of leading Dubbo’s champion pursuit team to another gold.
Locally, track racing resumed on January 8, with all riders are reminded they need to have their current 2019 racing licence.
The numbers are growing in the junior and women’s categories.
Club bikes are available and new riders are encouraged to join.
Visit www.dubbocycleclub.com.au/ for more information.