Gutter to glory for winner

CYCLING

By Geoff Newling

PHIL Kellaher “snuck up the gutter” to cause a major upset in the Tamworth Cycling Club’s A Grade criterium at Goddard Lane yesterday morning.

Young star Sam Spokes, preparing to return to Europe and another season of international riding, looked certain to win another criterium before self-employed cabinet maker Phil Kellaher arrived unheralded to “win by three inches”.

That was the margin, reckoned Tamworth Cycling Club publicity officer Mal Nash.

“Got him by three inches,” Nash said yesterday.

“And Yahoo Brendon Hallford was a close third too.”

Nash said it was a “shockingly hard day” with a blustery wind blowing up during the race.

“There was a big wind in the main street, made it hard, especially turning into that left turn.”

He said A grade was a quick race, fed by some attacks by Fraser Ashford.

Kellaher agreed.

“Fraser attacked a fair few times,” he said.

“I was able to bridge the gap to him and attacked a few times too. Then Sam (Spokes) drove everyone back on and we set a constant pace. On the last lap Sam looked like he was going to win it but he didn’t see me sneak up along the gutter.”

It wasn’t Kellaher’s first A grade criterium win, but his first for a while.

“It was a good result for me,” Kellaher said. “It was a tough day with that wind.”

The 35-year-old had a good year in 2013 riding the inaugural year with the 

J Fossey-Baiocchi and Griffin team.

Being self-employed means he can ride whenever work permits.

“Mainly early mornings,” he said of a weekly regimen of about 350km.

He is preparing for some big criteriums in Armidale and Koorgang (Newcastle).

“Then the road season after that,” he said.

“We’ve had a good break and it’s also been good to have Sam back. He should have been riding in the Tour Down Under but will ride the Sun Tour before he goes back to Europe.”

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