HE was easily the smallest rider on the road for the Bathurst Cycling Club’s all-in-handicap last Sunday and the least experienced as well, but when it came time for the sprint finish Cadel Lovett had the goods.
In what was just his second race in the the senior ranks, Lovett took the honours ahead of former world masters champion Charlie Gascoyne and Steve Scott in a sprint to the line.
And considering he “stuffed up” his initial sprint, Lovett’s effort was even more impressive.
“It’s my second time racing with them and I sort of forgot where the finish line was and I sprinted way too early and ended up having to come back behind,” he admitted.
“I was kind of looking where everyone was because if someone goes, you have to try and go with them. I realised once I got around the corner that I’d stuffed up, it wasn’t a big sprint, but I realised no-one was going with me.”
Lovett made his senior debut in the annual screamer race on January 13 and impressed as he placed third behind two fellow talented teenagers in Eliza Bennett and Tyler Puzicha.
It was an experience he certainly enjoyed.
“It’s pretty good, I actually enjoy it more than the juniors, there are a lot more people,” Lovett, who is also in the Western Region Academy of Sport’s cycling squad, said.
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“It’s heaps more competitive too … but they really help me out. They really look after me.
“I actually rather that, the road than track, it doesn’t matter who I’m racing against, I really like my road cycling.
“I’m a bit skinny and I’m lighter than the other competitors, so most of the people I race are taller than me. It means no-one can really sit on me or draft.
“I can get up the hills a bit easier than some of the others too. It is hard though, they all have bigger gears than me and that kinda sucks.”
On Sunday Lovett returned for another senior race, this time a 40 kilometre all-in-handicap.
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He was a member of the 13 minute group which, driven by experienced racers Rod Esdaile and Darren Fenton, soon made up ground on those ahead of them.
Esdaile, Fenton and Lovett hit the front, but Gascoyne and Scott caught them to set up the sprint finish.
“It ended up being a three-man sprint and the guy that came in second place [Gascoyne], he really looked after me,” Lovett said. “I was so nervous.
“I’ve really got to thank the people who look after me. I know when I’m older and still racing at the club that I’m going to do the same to help out the younger ones.”
Lovett took the win in a time of one hour, 10 minutes and 23 seconds, while scratch marker Brad Rayner clocked a course record 58:40 as he came across the line in sixth.