Bendigo cycling rising star Belinda Bailey's 17th birthday is one that she will remember forever.
Bailey, who was the youngest athlete in the field, celebrated the occasion today on two wheels while competing at the iconic Santos Festival of Cycling in South Australia.
"It really was a lot of fun to be in the race and to have the opportunity to be alongside so many elite riders," Bailey said after the final stage on Tuesday.
"Today was definitely the hardest of the three stages...I managed to stay with the group for most of the day but then lost distance once we reached the gravel section of the race.
"Overall it was a lot of fun and my goal was to finish and that's now done."
The 17-year-old had no nerves heading into the iconic race and relished the chance to test herself against the best.
"I love riding in groups and I did pinch myself a little bit when some of the big riders would come up beside me," Bailey laughed.
"Today while I was in the bunch Ruby Roseman-Gannon came up beside me and wished me a happy birthday which was pretty cool."
Roseman-Gannon went on to win the third stage and the race general classification, followed by Nicole Frain in second and Maeve Plouffe in third position.
With her debut at the Festival of Cycling now ticked off the list, Bailey has her eyes set on refining her ability on the road in the coming months at NRS events.
But first or all she will celebrate the successful finish and birthday with her team-mates tonight.
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