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Strong sprint finish helps Greg Newton claim honours in Denmark Teardrop Handicap

Albany Advertiser
Paul Clifton, Greg Newton and Brent Schoof.
Camera IconPaul Clifton, Greg Newton and Brent Schoof. Credit: Albany Cycle Club

A big field, sensational weather, and some ferociously hard racing was on show for the Denmark Teardrop Handicap on February 18.

Starting at Rockcliffe Winery and weaving its way through the Scotsdale hills, including the big McLeod Road climb, the course offered both the climbers and rouleurs a reasonable chance.

The “go” group of Lucy Wellstead, Brett Turbill and Jill Bascombe had a 17-minute start on the scratch group of Ryan McLaren and Brent Schoof, but with the first 15km heading uphill, the front groups were under pressure.

In between the first and last groups, riders handicapped on ability were let go at 3, 5, 10, 11, 14.5 and 15 minutes with the aim of catching the next group and not getting caught from behind.

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Starting off three minutes Jenny Sammons, a noted time triallist, and Shirley Thurston made rapid inroads while behind them Liz Cooper and Paul Terry were riding efficiently together and quickly reducing the deficit to those ahead.

At the faster end of the field, all riders seemed to have the desire to get to the front of the race quickly.

The Matt Bascombe group of five off 14.5 rocketed off the line, seemingly intent on catching the field by the top of the first climb.

That came spectacularly unstuck as five became four and then shortly thereafter only three.

Three became two for a while before a regrouping at the top of the Alpaca ascent.

The dysfunction allowed both the chasing groups to connect with them on the top of the ridge across to the Point Hillier descent.

The McLeod Road climb saw this group fragment according to climbing ability.

Schoof attacked and opened a sizeable gap while Colin Ashton-Graham, Jimmy Watmore and Mike Staude slipped away from the big diesels of Bascombe, Dave Beckwith and Ryan McLaren but that gap closed again on the way back.

Despite various attempts to nip away on the out and back from the Silverstream turn, these six were together at the top of the final descent from Alpaca to Rockcliffe, with 15km to close down two minutes to the front of the race.

The 10-minute group of Kea Mumford and Greg Newton were caught by the 11-minute pair of Paul Clifton and Russell Hart.

After some toing and froing, Clifton and Newton were on their own and worked their way through to the front of the race before Schoof caught them near the finish.

The final 15km, all downhill, was flat out to the finish for the front and chasing groups.

Schoof caught Newton and Clifton and then decided that a collective effort was likely to be more fruitful than doing it solo.

Behind them six riders were charging hard eating into their advantage.

They collected Jenny Sammons, the last rider behind the front trio, and she was riding so well that she hung on to the group until the final surge for the line.

The ferocity of the chase told on the group with two riders dropping away but as frenetic as it was, the gap was 27 seconds and too large to overcome.

In the hunt for line honours, Local knowledge came into play with Newton knowing exactly when to unleash his sprint, rolling over Schoof for the win while fellow Denmark rider Paul Clifton was third.

Fastest time on the day was Schoof, completing the 49km and 600m of climbing in 1hr 2min. 50sec. at 33.9km/h.

The fastest female was Denmark’s Kea Mumford in 1:39.37 (29.9km/h).

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