Teenager Fergus Browning celebrated one of the biggest wins of his cycling career when he took out the Merv Dean Memorial Tour on Monday.
The 18-year-old from Hawthorn finished five seconds clear of Hamilton's Jack Aitken after a tense final stage at Harcourt North.
Browning and Aitken shared the lead going into the 58.5km final stage.
Browning shadowed Aitken everywhere he went, picked up a valuable time bonus during the five-lap kermesse and then crossed the stage finish line ahead of his closest rival to secure the trophy by five seconds.
"This is awesome,'' an elated Browning said after crossing the finish line.
"I know there's history in this race with some great riders winning this race previously, so I'm super happy to have my name alongside them."
Browning said his pre-stage plan had worked to perfection.
"I knew I had to follow him everywhere,'' he said.
"I kept going for some sprints (during the final stage) and I was confident I had the legs at the end to get over the line.
"It's my first general classification win, so it rates right up there for me."
Browning's long-term goal is to join Australia's elite road riders on the world stage.
"I'd love to get to Europe and see what I can make of the sport,'' he said.
"In the short-term there's not a lot of racing in Australia this year, but I might do the Tour of the Tropics or head to Europe and try and get some races in over there."
South Australian visitor Oliver Bleddyn outsprinted the bunch to win the final stage.
Bendigo's Ronan Teese capped a fine tour by finishing third in the general classification, 20 seconds behind Browning.
Carnegie Caulfield's Matthew Sherwin was fourth at plus 31 seconds, while Hawthorn's Andy Sampson rounded out the top five at plus 42 seconds.
The Jason Lowndes Encouragement Award was presented to Bendigo teenager Nate Hadden.
Named in memory of late Bendigo cyclist Jason Lowndes, the award is given to the rider who showed the most grit and determination over the three-day tour.
Hadden finished 16th overall - 3:44 behind Browning.
Fellow Bendigo riders Curtis Harrison and Blake Agnoletto were 18th and 21st respectively.
Ballarat's Jerremy McInnes took out the B-grade tour - 26 seconds clear of Bendigo's Harry Nankervis.
Seymour's Andrew Garrett dominated the C-grade tour.
Another strong ride in Monday's final stage saw him win by two-and-a-half minutes from clubmate Daniel Johnson.
Leon Yates was the best-placed Bendigo rider in fourth - 4:26 behind the winner.
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