GUN cyclist Blake Agnoletto charged to glory in the Frank McCaig Memorial Wheelrace (1600m) at Thursday night's Bendigo and District Cycling Club track racing.
From the scratch mark, Agnoletto teamed brilliantly with Isaac Buckell (scratch), Nate Hadden (20m) and Jade Maddern (30m) to reel in the outmarkers on the Tom Flood Sports Centre track in Barnard Street.
After his racing career was cut short at the age of 28, Frank McCaig was long-time Bendigo DCC handicapper, and promoter of the Bendigo International Madison carnival of which older brother Alan was a key player in the formation of.
Thursday's classic was sponsored by the McCaig family - Raeleen, Rik and Jane, Brent and Leah, Holly and Luke, and families, and Ian Turner.
At the bell the field was right across the track and it was Agnoletto, Isaac Buckell and Nate Hadden who showed great bike-handling skills and speed to overtake many rivals.
Agnoletto was in third place at 300m to go and by the 200m mark was in front.
Runner-up in the Austral Wheelrace and Australian Madison Championship the previous Sunday night on the Darebin Velodrome boards, Agnoletto powered on to victory ahead of Buckell and Hadden.
Fourth and fifth were the Humber sisters, Alaya and Iesha from marks of 250m and 240m.
"A 1600 metre wheelrace is always incredibly tough," said Agnoletto who is in top form ahead of the upcoming national track titles in Brisbane.
"The frontmarkers had a fair gap on us and there's not a lot of time to make up the distance.
"Isaac and I had a plan on what to do off scratch and it worked incredibly well.
"We would not have caught the field without the work of Jade Maddern.
"At two laps to go I looked across the track and the leading pack was moving well.
"Jade's turn (almost 1 1/2 laps) was brilliant."
Agnoletto won the Lindsay Harrington Memorial Wheelrace (2000m) at the Bendigo leg of the Christmas carnivals last December.
"For a race to be a memorial means Frank (and Lindsay) did a lot for the club and for cycling. I am incredibly honoured to have won."
An impressive list of Frank McCaig's victories includes Golden Mile wins in 1963, '65 and '67.
Agnoletto said his form is back to what it was when he won the Golden Mile in 2020.
"It's been a tough couple of years, but the hard work has its rewards."
At nationals, Agnoletto is likely to contest the individual pursuit, teams pursuit, omnium, and points score.
Had he won the Austral, Agnoletto would have joined Merv Andrea (1968), Bill Stevens (32m in 1970), Phil Sawyer ('83), Terry Schintler ('84), Ashley Harding ('94), Tony Hughes ('95) and Zak Dempster (2004) as a Bendigo winner of the race.
Racing for seniors began with the DCK Real Estate-backed Crystal Classic women's wheelrace in which outmarker Addison Torr (190m) worked incredibly to hold off the fast-finishing Alaya Humber (25m), Iesha Humber (20m) and Haylee Jack (10m) in the 1000m contest.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.