International cyclist bounces back from fall

SAM Spokes returned to race riding from a nasty fall to win Sunday’s Tamworth Cycling Club A Grade criterium at Goddard Lane.

The 21-year-old had planned to return the previous week but thought a “sleep in’ after his 21st birthday party was a better option before cranking it up for a return in Sunday’s A grade crit.

He had five opponents - Phil Kelleher, Mitch Carrington, Mick Sherwood, Fraser Ashford and Ray Griffin - and had them all looking throughout despite him not having ridden for some six weeks since he suffered a nasty fall near the Powerhouse Hotel, breaking a collar bone and ripping a heap of skin off.

“That was about six weeks ago,” he said.

“Today was my first ride back. was going to ride last Sunday but I’d had my 21st the night before and I was a bit under the weather.”

 Sunday’s return was also good for him as he prepares to race in the Australian road titles at Ballarat in January before returning to his European team in February.

“I’ll do the nationals again in January,” he said.

“Do a lot of work over the next month to get ready for them and then head back over. I will try and get as good as possible.”

He said the race was a good contest.

“There were a few attacks from Fraser,” he said.

There was also plenty of friendly banter between he and his opponents.

Mitch Carrington and Fraser Ashford were mindful of not letting Spokes steal the race but had a bit of a shock when Mick Sherwood jumped out with two laps to go.

Then Spokes chased and Carrington looked around to realise he would have to try and reel the two in.

While they caught gallant Sherwood entering the final lap they couldn’t pull Spokes back.

“Good to see Mick back himself,” Mitch Carrington said.

“But we couldn’t pick Sam up. And I had Phil on my wheel to. I spent everything trying to catch Sam and Phil got me on the line.”

It left Spokes a winner by a good margin with Kelleher second and Carrington, who was also returning after a brief “holiday” to settle with third.

Second grade was won by Jack Pianta with Jess Saunders winning C grade and Brooke Cameron winning D Grade.

* The TCC Thursday night track cycling racing continues at the Tamworth Velodrome this week.

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