LUKE Cridland doesn't like bunch sprints, so shortly after the bell sounded for the final lap in Saturday's men's division one Bathurst Criterium he did something about it.
The St George Cycling Club rider decided to attack and when he accelerated, no-one could go with him. It meant he rolled across the line for victory well clear of his nearest rival and avoided a bunch sprint.
"A few other sprinters had done a lot of work just before, so it was a good chance to really go for it," Cridland said.
"I don't like doing big bunch sprints, so if I can get out it's a bit better for me, I'm not that powerful."
It was much more frenetic race which played out before Cridland got the nod, with attacks coming throughout the 50 minutes plus three laps race in Bathurst's CBD.
Sam Hill, who eventually placed sixth, was aggressive throughout and launched multiple attacks. He spent more time off the front than any other rider in the field, which was whittled down from 39 starters to 18 finishers.
After Nathan Bonarius took out the first intermediate sprint, Hill claimed the second and he also led into the final lap.
But Cridland, winner of the third intermediate sprint, had more left in his legs for that final lap. He won ahead of Stephen Cuff and Myles Stewart.
"That first 10 laps I just made sure it wasn't too hard," Cridland said.
"Sam was so strong out there, he was just driving and driving ... when they chased I was like 'Thank you'."
One of those who did plenty of chasing throughout was Bathurst Cycling Club member Will Hodges.
Though he ended up as the last of the classified finishers, he gave everything he had to feature in the race in front of his home crowd, his green Oliver's Real Food kit not the only thing which made him stand out.
He sat near the front of the peloton from the get go and when others such as Hill and Scott Law attacked, he drove the bunch to bring them back.
As the race drew inside the final minutes and Hill, plus another Bathurst talent in Josh Corcoran, were working together off the front to try and establish a race-winning gap, Hodges was again active in the chase.
While Corcoran dropped back to the bunch, Hodges bridged the gap to join Hill in the lead.
That pair were in front when the three laps to go sign came out but a lap later, the effort Hodges made told and he dropped back through the field.
"It's always good when it's your home town race, we wanted to come out and make a show for everyone," Hodges said, with not only he and Corcoran, but another Bathurst rider in Craig Hutton spending time off the front as well.
"That last couple of laps to go, you couldn't go much harder. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out in the end. It was pretty amazing to have such an atmosphere in the town of Bathurst, it was so much fun.
"It's always good to be active in the race rather than follow and just roll in for fifth or sixth. I think it's always good to be on the front foot, have a crack and see what happens.
"I was flying solo today, but I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to go hard, I knew there were guys who would be favourites for the race no matter what happened, so I just opened the legs up."
Hutton ended up the best of the Bathurst contingent in fifth, while his GPM Stulz team-mate Corcoran placed 12th.