71st Annual BikeBug Midlands Tour
Most famous for its use as a secret testing ground for heavy vehicles, the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea showcased the cream of Australian cycling with the staging of the Footscray Cycling Club 2012 Midlands Tour. This 71st staging of one of Victoria’s true Road Classics, the bikebug.com Midlands Tour, is held in honour of the late ‘Tas’ Johnson, who reached the pinnacle of Australian cycling by representing Australia at both the 1934 Empire Games and the 1936 Olympic Games.
In the 120 km feature race, 19 year old Jayco AIS Team rider Calvin Watson proved that fortune favours the brave by taking the win after getting into an early breakaway. Frankston resident Watson is just back from 6 months of racing in Europe, and this was his first race for the under-23 feeder team for Orica Greenedge. ‘This is my first race in Australia so it’s great to get the win. When the break went so early I thought it would be a big ask, but all the guys in the break were willing to work and once our lead was out to over 2 minutes we started to relax a bit. The race really lit up with about 5 laps to go, when me and John West rider Matt Clark got away together and I thought that would be the race, but to his credit Jason Spencer bridged across and brought a few other riders with him; in the last few laps though lots of guys were in survival mode and really feeling the hill; it really busted up then.’ Watson and Spencer crossed in first and second 27 seconds ahead of third placed Clark, with riders finishing in dribs and drabs after the final few climbs had taken their toll. In the teams classification, John West Cycling took the win, with John West rider Matthew Clark also taking the king Of The Mountains classification.
As well as the main event, a separate Women’s race and Masters A, B & C races were held, with 32 year old Lower Templestowe resident Stephen Lane clinching the A-Grade Race. ‘My team mate Shane Miller smacked it up that first hill pretty fast to try to break the bunch up, we realized it would keep coming together so we had to make sure we got away on the last climb, and we did. It’s a great course; I liked the back section with that tight descent and the long climb. I heard there was a gravel section but I thought they were joking until we got to it!’ 30 year old Cheltenham resident and Holden Cycling Team rider Miranda Griffiths took out the Women’s race; the Audiologist not realizing that so much of the race involved the climb. ‘We wanted to make it pretty hard pretty early but Chloe (McConville) and I were regretting that when we had to stay away for so long, but we managed to hang on and I attacked on the climb on the last lap, which was always going to be the plan, and pulled off the win.’ An early breakaway and disorganized bunch saw B-Grade’s race overtaken by C-Grade’s breakaway; both breakaways sticking with Richard Longmire taking out B-Grade and Matt Hand taking out C-grade, rounding off a competitive and successful day’s racing.
(2012) - Midlands Tour
Main race : Individual: 1st Calvin Watson, 2nd Jason Spencer, 3rd Matthew Clark, 4th Nathan Elliot, 5th Mitchell Cooper, 6th Jay Bourke, 7th Trevor Spencer, 8th Trent Derecourt.
KOM: Matthew Clark.
Team : 1st John West Cycling
Women’s : 1st Miranda Griffiths. 2nd Chloe McConville, 3rd Lucy Coldwell, 4th Lisa Hanley.
Masters A : 1st Stephen Lane, 2nd Roy Clark, 3rd Michael Hay, 4th Matthew Heath.
Masters B : 1st Ritchard Longmire, 2nd Geoffrey Robertson, 3rd Vince Condello, 4th Brendan Mahony.
Masters C : 1st Matt Hand, 2nd Roger Byrnes, 3rd Andrew Cook, 4th Phillip Tehan.