• Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey Sports) hits out as Nathan Elliott (Kenyan Rider Downunder) grinds his way back (ESi Sports Photography)Source: ESi Sports Photography
Cycling Central

Cycling Central
9 May 2016 - 10:54 AM  UPDATED 10 May 2016 - 5:35 AM

Pat Lane (Avanti IsoWhey Sports) emerged victorious over a gallant Nathan Elliott (Kenyan Riders Downunder) in a two-up sprint to take out the Grafton to Inverell on Saturday.

The 228 kilometre race, rated by many as the hardest of the National Road Series, saw a masterclass in team tactics from Avanti IsoWhey Sports.

They had two riders in the 11-man early breakaway, with the experienced Pat Shaw and Pat Lane controlling the race from the front. Back in the peloton the team's other riders were busy policing moves over the top of the main climb of the Gibraltar Range giving the breakaway the freedom to fight out the finish.

Attacks gradually thinned down the front group until Elliott launched off the front with Lane in hot pursuit. The pair, who are close friends and training partners, worked well together to stretch out the advantage to a minute over their former breakaway companions and five minutes on the peloton before the word came through for Lane to stop working with Elliott.

That left the Kenyan Riders Downunder athlete with all the work to do on the front for the last 25 kilometres, but with only Ayden Toovey (Subaru NSWIS) chasing behind, the two managed to keep a thirty second advantage until the final climb with five kilometres remaining. 

That was the point where Lane attacked, immediately gapping Elliott, but the Victorian gradually clawed his way back on terms, before trying his own counterattack over the top. Lane was able to hold the wheel as they crested the climb and with only the downhill into Inverell left and a handy gap to the chasers, it became clear that the race would be decided in a sprint between the two friends.

Lane emerged the strongest in the dash to the line, and it was a historic result with a new race record being set in the process. "I am over the moon to come away with that one,” said Lane. “To get the record is also great, but I would have been equally happy to win the slowest Classic, just winning is incredible!”

Building upon his third at the Australian Nationals Road Race, Lane looks to have put paid to doubters who had written him off after a few quiet seasons.

Nathan Elliot was disappointed after the race, but will no doubt be able to reflect with pleasure upon his strong performance in the race. “I am really disappointed right now, but am sure later on second I'll feel better.”