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October 24, 2015
Photography by Niels Juel/Cycling Australia
Sean Lake (African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team) has made history with the first ever back-to-back Crowe Horwath Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic victory, securing the 55th edition of the race with a solo effort to repeat his 2014 achievement.
Despite being unable to compete at the last stop on the men’s Subaru National Road Series calendar, an insurmountable points lead saw New Zealander Patrick Bevin (Avanti Racing) crowned overall champion.
While Jamie Drew won the iconic Grafton to Inverell in 1997 and 1999, Lake becomes the first cyclist to win consecutive editions of what is often labelled the hardest one-day race in Australia. The former rower broke away with 50 kilometres to go, before maintaining his lead on the Inverell descent to beat team-mate Cyrus Monk and Tom Davison (Avanti Racing) by over four minutes.
“It is absolutely amazing,” said an exuberant Lake, who has only been cycling competitively for two years, following his win. “I love this race, and especially with my team-mates finishing second and fourth to get our best-ever team result – I am just stoked.”
The 228 kilometre epic was particularly special for Avanti Racing, who claimed the Subaru National Road Series team’s title by six points after a tight year-long tussle with CharterMason Giant Racing and finished the season with Bevin in the aggregate leader’s jersey.
Bevin will soon become the latest Avanti Racing rider to join a World Tour team, with the Kiwi set to race for Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling in 2016. While Bevin had an unassailable lead atop the rankings prior to the race, he was pleased to confirm his victory after a strong year.
“To take the title is very satisfying personally and it really underlines a great overall season,” said Bevin, who is currently in the United States training with Cannondale-Garmin. “Being the sixth Avanti Racing rider to win the Subaru National Road Series shows the amount of preparation and work that the team does to have top riders every year and manage them through a long season.”
The Crowe Horwath Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic concludes the men’s Subaru National Road Series for 2015.
Race report courtesy of Cycling Australia
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