SAM Spokes returned from the Sun Tour and National Under 23 Road Racing Championships to set himself a testing challenge in yesterday’s Tamworth Cycling Club A Grade Criterium at Goddard’s Lane.
The 20-year-old cyclist, who returns to Luca in Italy’s Tuscany region in mid-February to link with his professional team Etixx-Inhed (a secondary team to Quick Step Omega Pharma), won the 30min plus two lap A grade criterium in a blanket sprint finish from Fraser Ashford, Mitch Carrington and club president Ray Griffin.
Spokes was outstanding, re-handicapping himself by letting the pelaton roll away to an almost lap lead, Griffin said.
“Sam thought he needed some extra training so he let us have almost a lap lead before he started chasing,” Griffin said.
“We didn’t really know what had happened – thought he might have punctured – but then when we realised what he was up to we made him earn it.
“Mick Sherwood attacked with about five or six laps to go and then I attacked with three quarters of a lap left.”
Griffin went on his favourite turn but was grabbed in the final straight by the swooping Spokes, Ashford and
“Sam was too strong,” he said.
“He’s just back from the Sun Tour and National Under 23s.
“At the Sun Tour he helped his teammate Calvin Watson win the tour by chasing down some big breaks.”
Spokes said the first few days of that Sun Tour were tough on his legs.
“I didn’t have the legs the first couple of stages,” Spokes admitted.
“I came good after that.”
He also rode well at the National Under 23s at Ballarat.
“I was eighth in the criterium,” he said.
“I got away with 11 other guys and with six to go I went solo but they caught me with two laps to go.”
He finished 12th in the time trial and 22nd in the road race where he joined 23 other riders in a breakaway.
“But I stuffed that up.”
He returns to Italy mid-February after his older sister, Brook, is married.
“I go back to Luca in Tuscany to train in the snow,” he said. “I have a couple of big weeks training in front of me before I go back to get some k’s in the legs.”