Nathan Elliott is in a state of ambivalence over Saturday’s (May 7, 2016) Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic. On the one hand, he’s happy about doing better than his bronze medal of 2013. On the other hand, he’s really disappointed that he didn’t win the race - he really, really wanted to win.

Pat Lane of Avanti Isowhey pips KRD's Nathan Elliott to the post. Image courtesy of The Inverell Times

Pat Lane of Avanti Isowhey pips KRD's Nathan Elliott to the post. Image courtesy of The Inverell Times

KRD’s Director of Sport, Garry Elliott, observed that this was a tactical race.

And here’s Garry's potted account of what happened.

“The race started fast and a small group of 12 riders broke away with Nathan Elliott and Nick Miller. Sam (Samwel Ekiru) and Ayub (Ayub Kathurima) rode the first climb in which the bunch splintered into many small groups. Ayub made the front group while Sam made the second group up the climb.
“During the race Nathan was having issues with his gears, so we decided to do a bike change, where he had to chase back onto the break. Glad we had that extra bike all set up for him.
“The break away with Nathan slowly got smaller as there were a few attacks which unsettled a few riders. With 50 km to go, Nathan came back to the team car and said that the Avanti team didn’t want to work [with him] as they had riders trying to bridge the gap. I told him to attack the break. He did this and had an immediate result. Nathan went forward from the break with only one Avanti rider with him. 
“The team director for Avanti instructed Pat Lane, who is a close friend of Nathan, to sit on, and not to work with Nathan because they were hoping that their other rider, Pat Shaw (team captain), would bridge across. I then told Nathan to commit to the race. He did this and rode the front with 20 km to go. Pat Shaw attacked Nathan up the last climb but Nathan managed to get back on.
“With 5 km to go, Pat Shaw was less than 30 seconds behind so Nathan had to race for the line where Pat Lane out sprinted him for the line.”

This was indeed a “great cat and mouse [game] by two committed riders”, as eloquently described by KRD coach, Peter Richards. 

KRD was dogged by equipment problems. Nick Miller’s gear cable became jammed around the 150 km mark, and he was restricted to a couple of gears in his rear cassette, and consequently had to drop back. Nick was a real trooper and pushed-on to finish in 40th place. Nathan’s bike also developed gear problems, but fortunately, the team had prepared a spare bike for him.

The 2016 Grafton to Inverell is KRD’s first podium finish in Australia - quite an achievement for a team that’s not even 5 months old. This was also the first race for Sam and Ayub, a race which Garry describes as the “deep end of the pool”, and both men acquitted themselves admirably.

And here’s more info about how KRD performed.


Team Classification

Kenyan Riders Downunder - 4th (of 13 teams) +11:21

And the complete race results.

The 2016 Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic is part of the 2016 Subaru National Road Series organized by Cycling Australia.


Banner image: The Macintyre River as it flows through Inverell, NSW. Courtesy of Wikipedia

In-article image: Courtesy of The Inverell Times