Tough conditions on Caves Road

HARD TO THE LINE: Mike Bakker and John Cranwell sprint to the line in Sunday's Mount Gambier Cycling Club handicap race on Caves Road.

WINDY conditions met Mount Gambier Cycling Club riders on Sunday along Caves Road for a 20-kilometre handicap race.

A strong South-South Easterly meant the 19 riders who nominated would find the going hard out to the turnaround point.

Riders were placed into six groups and a late scratching saw the field depleted to 18.

The limit group of Michael Dethmore, Jami Buckley, Jen Buckland and Jason Buckland started with a two-minute gap to Harry Opperman and Brady Dethmore.

A spirited trio of Mike Bakker, John Cranwell and Spek Peake were next to begin, a further two minutes behind, then Niel Van Niekirk and Bruce McLaughlin gave up a six-minute head start to the frontrunners.

With nine minutes on the clock the starter allowed the group of Rob Mann, Gerard Coote and Colin Weatherill to begin the chase, followed by the final group of Matthew Opperman, Ash Herrewyn, Dave Bryant and Nick Kidman a further two minutes behind.

As the racers neared the halfway mark the front group was reduced to Michael Dethmore and Jen Buckland, with the trio of Bakker, Cranwell and Peake closing to within one minute.

McLaughlin and Van Niekirk worked well together in the middle, a further minute behind, while the final chasing groups had joined forces, with Kidman driving the train hard.

With five kilometres to go, Cranwell and Bakker had caught what remained of the limit group and continued to power towards the finish line.

Cranwell continued to ride hard and won the sprint for the line in front of Bakker, with 41:40 on the clock.

The scratch group finished only 12 seconds further back, with Kidman home in third place, also with the fastest time of the race (30:52).