Beth blitzes field to win Victorian criterium crown

Hometown rider Beth Duryea capped an impressive weekend’s racing by nailing the sprint finish in the women’s criterium around the Bendigo CBD yesterday.

Duryea’s triumph followed her third place in Saturday’s road race at Spring Gully, also part of the Hume and Iser Home Hardware-sponsored Bendigo Grand Prix and Victorian open road cycling championships.

The 34-year-old joined a breakaway including women’s Bendigo Grand Prix winner Felicity Wardlaw and Samantha De Riter midway through the 30-lap criterium.

Lisa Hanley joined the group, which established a 50-second gap with two laps to go before Duryea showed her sprinting prowess to the Lyttleton Terrace finish line.

The group of four crossed the line in 38:43 for the 25.5km race, 1:05 ahead of the next rider.

The Victorian state title, her second in as many weeks after winning the 7.5km motorpace, was down to timing, Duryea said.

“I knew when Flick (Wardlaw) went, I had to go,” she said of the final sprint in the City of Greater Bendigo-sponsored criterium.

While Wardlaw had to settle for second in the criterium, she won the overall Bendigo Grand Prix by collecting the most points across the three events.

Wardlaw was the individual time trial winner on Friday and was fifth in the road race.

“This is an honour,” she said. “I didn’t expect to come here and win this – I really came for the time trial, so to do well in the criterium was a bit of a surprise.”

Meanwhile, British Academy rider Chris Latham ended his three-week stay in Australia in style by claiming the men’s criterium in a photo-finish.

The 18-year-old edged SASI’s Robert-Jon McCarthy in a dramatic sprint and Rapha Condor’s Felix English was third.

Latham handled the scorching pace set throughout the 40 laps of the 850m CBD circuit with enough left in the tank for a sprint showdown.

“I think more halfway in when I wasn’t nailed like I usually am, I knew I had a bit of a sprint left,” he said. 

The cyclists set a cracking speed from the outset of the Andy’s Earthmovers-sponsored event, averaging just over a minute per lap for most of the race.

Many breakaways were attempted, but none came to fruition with the riders together for the closing stages.

The final lap was completed in a thrilling 57 seconds, with Latham crossing the line in 43:33. 

Bendigo’s Shaun McCarthy had a superb finish to be fourth, while fellow locals Robbie Hucker and Darren Lapthorne were sixth and eighth respectively.

Bendigo’s Tim Decker, now a coach at SASI, helped guide Harry Carpenter to the men’s Bendigo Grand Prix overall title.

The 19-year-old was seventh in the time trial, third in the road race and ninth in the criterium.

“I came over here looking to get a few results, so to get the overall was great,” Carpenter said.

“Tim Decker’s from around these parts so he always gets us over here racing. 

“It’s a lot of long trips in the car but I love it, it’s great racing here.”

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