Photo: Bruce Wilson – Veloshotz
20 year old Nick White earned a place in the top 10 the hard way at the end of a grueling edition of Australia’s famous one-day classic: Grafton to Inverell.
A strong headwind made the 58th edition of the 224km event one of the toughest in recent history. With Nathan Elliott (Bennelong-SwissWellness Cycling Team) taking line honors in 6:44:16, nearly 1 hour slower than the 2017 race winning time.
White was part of an 18 rider breakaway early in the race, that escaped the peloton after 30kms of racing. The leaders built an advantage of nearly 7 minutes by the time they hit the major climb of the day up the Gibraltar Range. A selection of around 20 riders managed to then bridge the gap to the breakaway and made contact at the 100km mark which included Whites teammates Ben Andrews and Rowan Dever.
A small breakaway of 4 riders managed to then slip off the front of the lead group. This breakaway included eventual winner Elliot and Raphael Freienstein (Inform-MAKE). The duo managed to hold off the chase in the final part of the race, making it to the line with only 4 seconds gap over the group. White managed to feature in the sprint to finish 7th overall, and second best under 21 rider.
Nick White: “It was obviously a tough day out. All day into the headwind meant it was really hard to get those lead guys back. Benny [Andrews] did a lot for me when he got across to us. But unfortunately we just didn’t get them back. I managed to get myself boxed in in the sprint too which didn’t help. But still happy to come away with a top 10.”
Sam Layzell: “It was just a pure race of attrition. The gap to the leaders at the end was only around 45 seconds with 5 kilometers to go. But nobody had anything to chase the two off the front who, credit to them, rode super strong and deserved to go 1-2. From a team perspective, we got a little unlucky, with Dever suffering a physical problem at about 150kms, he had to drop off the lead group. Ben Andrews then had a crash and had to burn some energy getting back, and in the end that was a factor in the guys staying away”