Oliver’s Racing’s 2019 revelation William Hodges has taken out the 2019 edition of the David Reid Homes Grafton to Inverell, crossing the line in 6 hours 27 mins 12 seconds after winning a two up sprint against local favourite Dylan Sunderland (Team BridgeLane). The duo escaped from a 12 man lead group with just over 10 kilometres to go.
After the early morning breakaway was caught on the run in to Glen Innes after 150kms, a number of attacks into the head cross south-westerly wind were unsuccessful from the remaining peloton of 5o riders. Eventually a 9 rider broke from the peloton with 30kms to go, which included Oliver’s duo Brendon Davids, and Hodges.
An attack from Inverell local Dylan Sunderland at 15kms to go was quickly covered by Hodges, and they were also joined by Marcus Culey (Team Rauland). The trio worked well together and maintained a precarious advantage over the chase group which fluctuated from 10 to 40 seconds in the closing kilometres. On the final climb Sunderland rode a hard tempo which was enough to drop Culey, but Hodges managed to hold the Bridgelane rider’s wheel over the top, the duo rode into the finish in Inverell together to contest a two up sprint.
The victory for 22 year old Hodges is his first in the National Road Series and the first one-day Classic NRS victory for the Oliver’s team. An ecstatic Hodges celebrated the win immediately after crossing the line with his South African teammate Davids, who managed 7th place after an outstanding ride where he was present in all the key breakaways throughout the day. Former Oliver’s Real Food Racing rider Nicholas White (Team Bridgelane) rounded off the podium in 3rd
William Hodges: “It feels unbelievable at the moment [to win the race], it’s one of the hardest races on the calendar, and to win it like that, I’m just lost for words. It’s amazing! A huge thank you to everyone that helped make it happen, from everyone at Oliver’s Real Food Racing, our sponsors to my family and friends. It really is surreal to win this race, but none of it would be possible without the support of everyone around us. A special thanks on the day to my teammates who went out today and rode their legs off for me and gave me the opportunity to finish it off.”