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Egan powers way to criterium victory

Shepparton sprint supremo Leigh Egan surged home in trademark fashion to take out the first ever Shepparton Cycling Club Lake Criterium on Sunday.

DAMEN FRANCIS January 15, 2013 4:10am

Leigh Egan streaks clear of the pack to win Sunday’s Lake Criterium in Shepparton.


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Shepparton sprint supremo Leigh Egan surged home in trademark fashion to take out the first ever Shepparton Cycling Club Lake Criterium on Sunday.

After 45 minutes of racing, the veteran cyclist was sitting in a comfortable position at the bell and eased clear to lead a packed bunch across the line.

Egan admitted the race played into his hands perfectly, but said he was just happy to be part of a successful new local road racing series.

‘‘Being such a free flowing circuit, it’s very hard to get away,’’ Egan said.

‘‘A bunch finish is obviously going to suit me, I’m a sprinter, but also for the first race it’s good for spectators to see that big bunch cross the line, rather than ones and twos.

‘‘No doubt in future races there will be breakaways, but today was just more about showing people it’s good to watch and it’s a nice free flowing circuit for other blokes that want to think about racing.’’

Egan was followed across the line by David Mohi and Nathan Glynn in second and third places respectively.

The race also featured two sprint primes, both of which were taken out by Glynn.

Steven Jennings won the B-grade race ahead of Andrew Hudson and Anthony Portia.

Light rain made conditions a little bit tricky for riders to navigate the short course, which looped around Victoria Park Lake.

The lead group of riders averaged speeds of more than 40km/h, with Egan recording a top speed of 66.9km/h down the final straight.

‘‘We were lucky, the veterans copped a bit of rain, which made it very sketchy on the corners,’’ Egan said.

‘‘It dried out for us, thank God, because we were flying around there.

‘‘The leaders in the group were sort of policing it a bit anyway, we didn’t want to see anyone go down.’’

Egan was full of praise for the new event, which attracted more than 50 riders between the two grades and Goulburn Valley Veterans Cycling Club races, in what could become a monthly summer series.

‘‘Road cycling can be very boring for spectators because normally they disappear into the distance and aren’t seen again until the finish, but when you can get a closed circuit like this there is a bit of action,’’ Egan said.

‘‘The Shepparton community don’t like change much, so if we can get in and get it done without (annoying) too many people then it’s a bonus for everybody.

‘‘It’s a good concept and if the community can bear with us for a couple of hours on a Sunday once a month then we’ll get some people back into our town and get a bit of colour here around the lake.’’

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