In an event that harkens back to the great history of the Melbourne to Warrnambool as one of the great handicaps, the Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool saw a fierce fight for the win, with Robert Hibburt of Melbourne University emerging victorious in the sprint.
Xavier Coppock (Footscray) was second while Jade Frankel (Warrnambool) took third. The three podium-finishers all started in the group 17 minutes in front of scratch, catching and eliminating the groups that started before them while holding off the backmarkers to allow Hibburt to sprint to an impressive win.
“I’m pretty chuffed,” said Hibburt. “It was a pretty good ride from our group. We worked well together and ended up just being the three of us in the end, rolling turns and then it was a good bunch sprint in the end. It was a real good contest.”
Hibburt, who rode the event in 2020 finishing in 15th, admitted the sprint up Raglan Parade after the 76-kilometre was a hard slog in crosswinds.
“My legs were jelly,” he said. “I didn’t have much left and I wasn’t sure how much of a sprint I was going to pull out but it ended well so I’m happy.”
The Port Campbell-raised cyclist, who got into the sport 18 months ago, said unity within the second limit bunch helped them secure the victory.
“We tried to work all together because we knew we could get ahead of limit and keep ahead of the groups behind us if we worked well together in the winds,” he said.
Coppock was the first masters rider, Penshurst’s Erin Bertram was the first female across the line, Hawthorn’s Logan Taplin was the first under 19 rider to the finish and Warrnambool’s Eddie Worrall (scratch) had the fastest time.
Royal Bikes Port Campbell to Warrnambool Full Results: https://results.auscycling.org.au/Road/2021/m2w/2021_pc2w_result.html