Tour of Bright begins
No superstorm in sight this year as clear skies pave way for annual threeday cycling event
AFTER last year’s Tour of Bright was cancelled due to a predicted superstorm that never eventuated, the weather for the 2019 edition of the race could hardly have been better.
Clear and sunny skies were present for the three-day event which consisted of a time trial around Roberts Creek on Friday and then stage rides on Saturday and Sunday.
The first took riders through the Kiewa Valley and up Tawonga Gap while the second was a mountain finish at Mt Hotham.
“A lot of work goes into it so it was a shame last year for it to not go ahead,” race director Aaron Smith said.
“Everything went well, the weather was good this year which was nice, we had a bit of a scare Sunday morning with some thunder and lightning but all worked out well and good in the end.”
Albury cyclists Jesse Featonby claimed overall honours in this year’s Tour finishing 28 seconds ahead of Bendigo rider Alexander Evans with Michael Potter of North Sydney 44 seconds back in third.
The A grade women was won by Gold Coast’s Emily Roper with a one minute and 21 second gap to Justine Barrow who was 10 seconds in front of fellow Melbournian Michaela Parsons.
Just over 400 riders lined up in this year’s Tour of Bright, a figure down on recent years.
However, Smith said there was still plenty of top class riders across the three women’s and seven men’s grades.
“There are so many race options at this time of year but we’re still happy with the numbers and the fact that we’re still one of the largest races on the calendar,” he said.
“We got our usual bunch if top-level riders and then riders in all grades from all across the country.
“There was plenty of good hard racing especially on the last two days where the mountains sort them out.”
There were also some good results for locals cyclists with former professional Wayne Hildred finishing second in the masters 6+ while Alpine Children’s Services general manager Jenny Griffiths was second in the C grade women and Peter Varley the sprint winner in B grade masters.
STILL GOT IT: Wayne Hildred was fifth in Friday’s time trial before ending the 2018 Tour of Bright on the podium while fellow Bright rider Peter Varley showed strong sprinting form across the three days. PHOTOS: Jean-Pierre Ronco