Crome, Buckell ride to big wins

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 09-Feb-2018

Sam Crome wins the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour on Sunday. Photo: Con Chronis.

BENDIGO cyclists Sam Crome and Isaac Buckell have enjoyed a golden run, with success on the road and track last weekend.

Crome recorded a breakthrough win at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, claiming line honours on the final stage with a powerful sprint finish into Kinglake.

It came days after the teenaged Buckell claimed an National Track Championship with the Victorian team pursuit lineup.

Crome’s big finish to his debut Sun Tour no doubt numbed some of the pain of having missed out on a start at the recent Tour Down Under due to a Cycling Australia administrative blunder.

He finished seventh at January’s national road titles and looked set to head to Adelaide for the TDU, but was denied a start with the Uni-SA lineup.

Following that news he told the Weekly that he would then focus his energy on the Sun Tour, to good effect.

Though he was out of contention heading into the final day of the race – won by Mitchelton-Scott’s Colombian star Esteban Chaves – Crome produced the goods to take the honours heading into Kinglake.

“I’m just over the moon,” the 24-year-old Crome said.

“I wasn’t sure how I was feeling going into that last lap. Once we hit the final climb I saw Mitchelton-Scott control it. 

“I thought that was going to play in my favour because I have a good kick. I just backed myself to win from the small group – sometimes you have to ride with faith.”

He rode with no shortage of faith, both in his own ability and spurred on by the memory of good friend and fellow pro Jason Lowndes, who was killed while out riding late last year.

The win evoked memories of watching the race pass through Bendigo in previous years for the Bennelong SwissWellness gun, who had previously stated a goal of finding a winning finish in more races this season.

“This is my first Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The race used to come through Bendigo when I was a kid, so I am ecstatic to get a win,” he said.

“I came here wanting to ride general classification, but lost time in the cross winds on stage one. I fought back yesterday and now to get a stage win just tops it off.”

Buckell’s victory was just as sweet, though he didn’t line up in the team pursuit final at the National Track Championships in Brisbane.

Buckell helped Victoria to the final before being replaced by Riley Hart as the Victorians took gold.

The last time Victoria held the men’s team pursuit trophy aloft was in 2008, with Leigh Howard a holdover from that team. He was joined by Kelland O’Brien, Godfrey Slattery, Hart and Buckell in the five-man Big V lineup.


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