Cycling club nearly conquers

By Brayden May

FOUR members of the Echuca Moama Cycling Club hit the roads of Bendigo over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend to compete in the Merv Dean Memorial three-day tour.

Malcolm McLeod (C grade) and Trent Stevenson (A grade) were the best placed members of the club after finishing in second and third place respectively.

Father-son duo Jamie and Chase Costello-Manning were also involved after competing in the B and A grade categories.

Stevenson’s effort was well received after finishing 19 seconds behind dual junior world track champion Luke Plapp who took out the event after finishing as runner-up in 2018.

‘‘It was certainly a tough field to compete against, so I’m proud of my efforts,’’ Stevenson said.

‘‘Chase and I worked as a team during various stages of the race and it certainly helped me earn the podium finish.

‘‘Everyone from the club should be immensely proud of their efforts.’’

An unlikely tour victory looked to be on the cards during the final stage when Stevenson was part of a breakaway with Chase and Liam Edwards — as the group led the peloton by 25 seconds with a quarter of the race remaining.

But a strong headwind meant they were able to be reeled in by the chasing pack leading to a sprint finish at the Huntly Livestock Exchange.

‘‘Russell Gill who won the stage had a strong turn and he deserves credit for the way he finished,’’ Stevenson said.

‘‘The other riders did extremely well to chase us down, the conditions weren’t easy.

‘‘I felt I was getting stronger the longer the event went on.’’

EMCC will host their Gunbarrel handicap race on Saturday as part of its winter road racing season.