IT was a day of perfect endings for Nick White as he claimed his first Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic on Saturday.
The 21-year-old wrote his name into the long history of Australia’s oldest one-day classic and completed a breakout summer of cycling at the 103rd edition of the iconic race.
White entered the event having claimed the under 23 national road race title at Buninyong in January.
The Team BridgeLane rider, who also finished third in the Young Riders and 14th in the overall classification at the Herald Sun Tour, carried his strong form into the gruelling 262-kilometre race.
“It’s a perfect way to end the summer of racing,” the Ballarat resident said.
“I had a few wins over the summer and a few cool experiences in some big races so it’s an awesome way to finish the summer and I’m pretty stoked to see what happens for the rest of the year.”
White, who finished in six hours, 15 minutes and six seconds, said an early 14-man breakaway group was his winning move.
“It was 90-kilometres into the race,” he said. “That is the longest I have seen a breakaway take to go and you could tell every single person wanted to be in it and you can see why.
“Once we got into it, it just seemed like the perfect break with every team in it and no one was willing to chase in the peloton and it all worked out well.”
White knew he had to pick the perfect time to launch his attack as cat-and-mouse tactics took over the breakaway in the final stages of the race.
“I knew I needed to follow people and try and keep it together for a bunch kick,” he said. “I had a bit of a dig about five kilometres and I don’t know what I was thinking but deep down I knew I had to keep it together.
“I was waiting for someone to take a fly with one-kilometre to go but it just never came. I guess everyone was pretty tired by the end of the race and it all worked out.”
Sydney’s Harrison Bailey (GPM-Stulz) and Canberra’s Brendan Johnston (Stitch and Dart) completed the podium in second and third respectively.
Another Canberra resident Sam Hill claimed a clean sweep of the other jerseys – taking out the King of the Mountain, Sprint and 200km championship. Tom Benton won the young riders classification.
Two-time reigning champion Nathan Elliott finished 10 minutes behind White in 16th spot. Penrith’s Peter Milostic, who at 44 years of age attacked at the front of the breakaway group with 30-kilometres to go, claimed the A grade victory and 11th overall.
Melbourne’s Adrian Little stormed home to claim the B-grade victory, while Seymour’s Brodie Sims secured the C grade title.
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