Squillari rules in cycling trial

GEELONG'S Nicholas Squillari and Benalla's Felicity Wardlaw reigned supreme in Friday's start to the Victorian Open road cycling titles near Bendigo.

Cyclists contested the individual time trial on the windswept course at Emu Creek.

The race against the clock was the first leg in the three-day battle for the Hume & Iser and Andy Earthmover’s-backed Bendigo Grand Prix.

Sqilliari won his first Victorian Open road title as he completed the 30km duel in 38 minutes 59.62 seconds, average 46.2kmh.

The 30-year-old won gold ahead of Blackburn's Jason Spencer and now Bendigo-based Tasmanian Mark Jamieson.

Squillari said the state time trial had been a major goal this season.

He finished third in the time trial at Emu Creek when the Victorian Open and Bendigo Grand Prix was run last January.

"I am stoked with this win. I am just so proud to win a title, especially in Victoria which has a strong cycling scene."

Wardlaw achieved consecutive time trial victories on the Emu Creek course.

She won gold after finishing the 24.6km  test in 35 minutes 15.41 seconds. Average speed was 41.9kmh.

Nicole Whitburn claimed silver and Bendigo's Rachel Ward was third.

A long-term goal for Wardlaw is to win the national time trial at Ballarat in January.

The cycling ace works full-time in the forestry and fire division for the Department of Environment and Primary Industry in Benalla.

Work commitments mean she will not race Saturday's road race at Spring Gully or Sunday's criterium in Bendigo's CBD.

The Victorian Open action rolls on Saturday when the Rising Sun Hotel-sponsored women's road race (79km) starts at 8.30am.

The Bendigo Advertiser-backed men's road rce (142.2km) starts at 12.30pm.

Crterium racing is on Sunday along the Lyttleton Terrace circuit near Bendigo Town Hall.

The Coates Hire women's race (30-laps) starts at 12.45pm and will be followed by the Symes Motors Nissan men's 40-lap duel from 2.30pm.

Pre-race entertiainment starts at 11.15am. 

Meanwhile, cycling enthusiasts have a chance to ride and mingle with the Orica-GreenEdge men's, and Orica-AIS women's teams on December 1.

The River and Ranges Winery Ride will be held from Mitchelton Wines in Nagambie.

There will be 24km, 48km or 138km treks through the Nagambie winery region and Strathgobie ranges.

"We received fantastic support from our fans in Australia. So I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to join the fans, and personally thank them," said Orica-GreenEdge star Simon Gerrans.

Registrations are now open or email info@wineryride.com.au 

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