JEREMY Bartlett has finally conquered a Calala Inn Nemingha-Nundle-Nemingha Road Race.
The 30-year-old Tamworth engineer found the right gear in the final, hectic dash to win the Tamworth Cycling Club’s feature race yesterday.
Three years ago he had finished second in the out and back race and followed up with a close third the following year.
Last year he went ever so close again for another second before vanquishing those near misses with a flying finish yesterday.
A member of the Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey team Bartlett thanks his team members, particularly Ray Grffin and Darren Traill, for their support.
“Ray and Darren did a lot of work for me all race,” Bartlett told The Leader.
“They made sure they chased down a lot of attacks for me.
“At the end there wasn’t a lot of room, it got a bit tight in the final 400m but once we got through we were right.”
It was a good day for the Baiocchi Griffin JT Fossey team with Griffin second and.
Another team member, Fraser Ashford also won fastest time.
Ray Griffin said he and Darren Traill started from a nine minute handicap and caught the leading bunch with about 35km to go.
“We caught Jeremy’s bunch at the foot of Chaffey Dam on the way out,” Griffin said.
“We were able to shut down any attacks.
“Mick Holt attacked with about 2km to go but we were able to catch him too. Then we got Jeremy in the right position. For a while there I was going so well in the lead-out that I thought I might even win but then Jeremy put the after-burners on and that was it.”
TCC publicity officer, Mal Nash, said weather conditions made it a “good race”.
“It was a really good ride,” he said.
“We had had 40 riders too, even with a lot racing up in a Battle of the Borders”. Meanwhile, veteran Australian Cadel Evans replaced compatriot Michael Matthews in the overall leader’s pink jersey following the 179km eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia from Foligno to Montecopiolo.
The 37-year-old Evans, Tour de France champion in 2011 and third in this race last year, placed fifth on the stage, eight seconds adrift of Italian Diego Ulissi, who was winning his second stage of this year’s race.
“The stage went just as we had hoped even if we were a little tired from the previous days,” said Evans.
“A two-second lead on a climber such as (Nairo) Quintana (who is 1.45sec behind in the classification)....I am very satisfied with the first week. It would have been hard to hope for better.
“But the Giro is long. Who do I have to look out for? Again, it’s too early because there plenty of good riders within two minutes.”
Evans also praised the work of Swiss teammate Steve Morabito who is fourth overall.
“Steve was really the man of the day for us,” he said.
“The team was going all day and he was there all the way to the finish.”
Matthews, a sprinter who had led for six days and began Saturday with a 21-second advantage over Evans, was already a quarter-of-an-hour behind approaching the final 6.4km climb. He eventually finished more than 34 minutes beind the leaders.