TEENAGE Warrnambool cyclist Sam Lane will use the biggest win of his emerging career as confidence for further success.
Lane, 17, upstaged a high-quality field to claim the $1800-to-win Mersey Wheel Race, the feature event at the Devonport track carnival on Sunday.
The Emmanuel College student started the 2000-metre handicap off 160 metres and surged late to snatch a thrilling victory by less than a wheel.
He finished in two minutes, 9.24 seconds and averaged 55.74km/h. Mittagong’s Justin Tomlinson (120m) and Geelong’s James Blight (160m) filled the podium.
“We got a pretty good start. We had the front markers reeled in after a bit over half a lap,” Lane said yesterday. “Six riders from behind came past. I got on the back of them. They pretty much carried me around the rest of the two laps.
“Coming up with 150 metres to go I started to make my move a little bit and came up on the high bank.
“I managed to scrape through up high and come home.”
The surprise victory came just hours after Lane was involved in a crash during the Devonport criterium earlier on Sunday.
He was one of about half-a-dozen riders caught up in the crash on the second lap of the race.
“I was a bit unlucky there. There were a few people who had come off before me. I had nowhere to go,” he said.
“I was forced into the gutter. I was lucky to land on the grass.”
The Devonport races were part of a whirlwind racing trip to northern Tasmania between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Lane contested criteriums and track races at Latrobe on Thursday and Friday, Launceston on Saturday and Devonport on Sunday and yesterday.
His next assignments are at Burnie: a criterium today and track carnival tomorrow.
“It was more just for the experience at first, just to come over here and race,” he said.
‘‘Anything other than that was a bonus.”
But the summer on the bike doesn’t stop there.
Lane will start in support races as part of the Bay Cycling Classic from January 2 to 5.
The Austral Wheel Race on February 22 and the Sid Patterson Grand Prix on March 1, both in Melbourne, are also on his radar.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool’s Matt Lane and Mortlake’s Darcy Woolley will line up against some of Australia’s best in the Bay Cycling Classic.
Lane and Woolley are among 64 riders in the elite men’s section for the four-stage criterium series, which starts in Geelong on Thursday.
Lane is part of the Procon Telematics’ Cycle Racing Team.
Woolley is part of the African Wildlife Safaris team, which has former Melbourne to Warrnambool winner Joel Pearson as its director sportif.
Portland young gun Shannon Malseed will ride as an individual in the elite women’s section, which has attracted 74 riders.
Warrnambool pair Sam Lane and Ricky Smedts, Port Fairy’s Nathan McLaren and Cobden’s Jack Bell are in the men’s support races.