SEVEN months ago Harry Bryant was hospitalised after a horror accident in his Blayney to Bathurst long course debut, breaking his back in five places.
On Sunday he was standing atop a podium after taking out the 49th edition of the Bathurst Cycling Club’s coveted Rockley Cup.
Orange local Bryant only got back on the bike one month ago but worked hard to get his race fitness back in time for Bathurst’s toughest club race.
In his first race since jumping back on the bike Bryant produced a strong ride from the 14 minute handicap mark.
He held off a challenge from scratch rider Will Hodges to win the prize and take a big step forward in his recovery.
Bryant made a late entry into the race and was happy to be back riding on the open road.
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“I only decided to do the race on Friday,” he said.
“I was always going to get back on the bike, but it was just a question of when because of the HSC this year and studying for that.
“I couldn’t really do much for the first two months of recovery. I was doing three sessions a week on the trainer and that was about it.”
Bryant is regularly a scratch rider in club racing but after his time away was given a time buffer.
He worked hard in the race to chase down 30 minute starter Chris Davis who had broken away in his bid for a solo victory.
Hodges and visiting rider Andrew Finlayson (North Western Sydney) had put in the hard yards from scratch to pick their way through the field.
Davis was eyeing off success before Bryant and Hodges got by him in the late stages.
Finlayson finished powerfully to take fourth place ahead of Orange’s Ray Straney.
Hodges’ one hour, 42 minutes and 52 seconds was the fastest individual time.
“We had Harry just ahead of us but I’m pretty happy with how we did. It was a good hit out,” Hodges said.
“We tried to keep it together as much as we could but it fell apart a bit towards the end.
“[Finlayson] and I were matching each other the whole way and he was pulling some big turns to get us back there.”
“I thought I was in for a tough day when I saw them all lined up at the start but I was happy enough to stick in there towards the end,” Finlayson said.
“It was just unfortunate I got pipped on the line by a guy with better legs.”
Recent bronze medallist at the NSW Masters Championships at Orange, Jillene Harris, won the Rockley Cup women’s title.
Harris defeated Jodie Martin, who has been the top female finisher three times going back to 2002.
Rosemary Hastings added another trophy to her collection by winning the Little Roc D Grade Trophy.