Kennedy claims inaugural Warragul-Leongatha race

The group before setting off on the 120km return ride to Leongatha from Warragul on Sunday.

The group before setting off on the 120km return ride to Leongatha from Warragul on Sunday.

The inaugural Warragul-Leongatha-Warragul was staged on Sunday.
For the past 64 years, the long weekend in June has seen the running of the Gippsland Three Day Cycling Tour. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Three-Day Tour is on hold until later in the year so local cyclists were forced to improvise.
Borrowing from two of cycling’s monuments, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Paris Roubaix, a winter one-day classic was organized. The Warragul-Leongatha-Warragul event borrowed the velodrome style finish from Paris Roubaix and the hilly Parcours from Liege.
Riders set off from Warragul in cool but dry conditions. They headed for Leongatha via the tough Seaview climb. The route took riders along the Grand Ridge road and some spectacular country. Chris Joustra set a solid tempo on the climb and soon distanced the bunch. Rob Monk and George Tambassis chose to climb at a steady tempo knowing the 115k race would probably come back together after the climb. They were met with some good fortune when Joustra suffered a mechanical near Mt Worth, allowing them to catch up.
Some quick descending towards Leongatha followed as Gippy Cycles rider Darren Spiteri displayed his superior bike handling skills as he distanced the peloton on the tricky descent.
Tambassis lost contact but somehow managed to re-join after the descent.
Following the rules of the event, riders needed to do a lap of the Leongatha Velodrome before heading back to Warragul. The route up Wilddog Valley Road took in some spectacular views and the major selection of the day was made on the 5km gravel climb to Arawata.

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