A challenging day in more ways than one for the 29 riders who fronted up at Melville Caves in beautiful sunlight.
Several riders returning after long breaks with unknown form caused a few beads of sweat on the handicapper's brow, the 60 km circuit sent chills down a few spines, and a cross-head wind or block head wind for the first 40 km did the rest. All the action took place on the leg from Logan to Wedderburn where third scratch caught the combined 12 and 15 minute groups and scratch overhauled second. The right turn near Wedderburn ended the hopes of many. The leading bunch was decimated by a huge turn from Geoff Bennett jumping out of the corner leaving first five, then finally just two at the front with 15 km to go. Scratch and second scratch were similarly pulled apart at the corner and just five of them remained to chase in earnest. The gallant leaders were overhauled on the last big hill before the turn up to Melville Caves, about the same time that the scratch guys were starting to regret their decision to wait for Shaun White a couple of times early in the race because, yea, it came to pass that Shaun (scr.) creamed the rest of them in the uphill drag to the finish to win and record fastest time in front of Chris Landvogt (scr.) Brad Geyer (scr.) Mathew Grealy (scr.) and Brent Gibson (scr.). Andrew Innes (scr.) and Leon Yeates (4 min) fought back after losing touch earlier to come in 6th and 7th. Geoff Bennett (9 min) capped off a fine ride to run 8th followed by Murray Rankin (9 min) and Darren McKellar (4 min). Today's photo shows Paddy Hughes carrying out his after-race stretching regime.