Shepparton riders make good chain gang

March 22, 2018

Liam Edwards rode hard for his teammates in the Tour of Mansfield, helping two of them to secure top-five finishes.

The Victorian Road Series rolled on with the Tour of Mansfield last weekend, with Shepparton Cycling Club riders delivering quality performances.

The three-stage event featured a daunting climb up Mt Buller in the final stage, where Mooroopna’s Liam Edwards helped two of his teammates lock up positions in the top five of men’s A-grade.

Edwards himself finished 24th, racing with an eye towards this weekend’s Oceania Road Championships in Tasmania.

‘‘It was a really good weekend, and it was more in preparation for this weekend; it’s a bit of a warm-up, but I was very happy with how we went,’’ he said.

‘‘To get two teammates in the top five, I was very happy with that.

‘‘I didn’t have the best time trial, but it was still a good crack though.’’

Edwards’ teammate Alex Evans, who finished eighth at this year’s Herald Sun Tour, was the team’s priority and finished fifth, upstaged by another Mobius-BridgeLane rider Connor Brown who finished third.

He said windy conditions made for a difficult Sunday up the mountain.

‘‘It was pretty tough even before the climb, there were 100km/h winds, and a tail cross-wind made things very interesting,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a really fast climb, it was really windy and there was a lot of debris.’’

In B-grade, Byron Woods had a brilliant weekend on the road finishing third.

After dropping nearly two minutes on the opening time trial, Woods excelled finishing second on stage two, sealing his podium finish with a strong fourth place on Sunday.

Rhianon Norton started well in women’s B-grade by winning the time trial by five seconds.

After finishing fourth in stage two, Norton didn’t complete the final stage.

The racing rolls on this weekend for Edwards with the Oceania Championships — the 18-year-old said he wasn’t expecting too much in the under-23 category as a bottom-age rider.

‘‘Under-23 and elite class ride together, so it will be a lot harder than last year (where he finished sixth in under-19),’’ he said.

‘‘I’m feeling good, I had really good legs on the climb and still finished top 20 after working for the teammates.

‘‘It’s not really a hill climber’s course, one of the real hardmen will win, it’s who can hang in the longest.’’

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