Both found plenty in their pursuit for Bendigo International Madison glory
Crome, Pieters power way into cycling folklore
SINCE it began 42 years ago the Bendigo International Madison has had its share of upsets.
Sunday night's victory by Bendigo's Sam Crome and Dutchman Roy Pieters rates as one of the greatest.
Seize the day is exactly what they did in the last quarter of the 200-lap battle for glory in the McCaig Airconditioning Daikin backed classic.
At 40 laps to go it looked like the title would be decided in a sprint duel between Glenn O'Shea and Alex Edmondson against Miles Scotson and George Tansley.
A few laps later and the wheels had turned dramatically.
Crome and Pieters, pictured left and right, broke away from the pack and powered on to gain a lap.
All of a sudden they went from seventh to top of the leader board.
It was a move reminiscent of those completed by Eaglehawk's Chris White and Natimuk's Tim Decker, and Castlemaine's David Maltby and South Australia's Pat Marcucci to win Bendigo's great race.
The victories by Maltby-Marcucci in 1993, White-Decker in '96, and now by Crome-Pieters show what's so great about the madison, and sport.
Occassionally the underdogs triumph.
As Sunday's race rolled on it looked as if the favourites would reign supreme.
Crome and Pieters would have none of that as they outpointed rivals who have excelled at world titles and Europe's six-day circuit.
Tactics were far from complicated.
"I said to Sam it's time to go," Pieters revealed shortly after the race was over.
Both found plenty in their pursuit for Bendigo International Madison glory.
At race end, Sam Crome was embraced by two of his greatest fans, mum Lyn Crome and grandmother Joan Purtill.
I can still recall the conversation with Decker in the minutes after he and White won 18 years ago.
"I'm a B-grader at best," Decker said.
At that time he was usually in the B-grade scratch field instead of A-grade at open carnivals across Victoria.
What could not be taken away was Decker and White being Bendigo International Madison winners.
Decker later moved from Natimuk, near Horsham, to become a key figure in Bendigo's cycling scence.
He powered on to win a Melbourne to Warrnambool, and has or still does play a key role as coach for the likes of Glenn O'Shea, Zak Dempster, and many other of the country's young stars.
O'Shea's quest for a third Bendigo International Madison title was thwarted by Crome and Pieters.
A few years ago and it was Crome watching on from the terraces at the Bendigo International Madison carnival.
Inspired by those who have raced before him, Crome is a shining example that anything can happen.
It's why hundreds of fans keep rolling back to the madison each year.