Promising his fiance that he needed to win the national mountain bike title today before they could marry proved the incentive needed by eventual winner, Murray Spink. The 30 year old Melbourne rider rode his heart out to win the tough 105 km marathon race in Bendigo today.
As a result the 30 year old confirmed his wedding date for two weeks time to fianc?e, Sarah Riley, could go ahead as planned. It was only in the final metres that Spink outsprinted two riders to the line to win in 4 hours 30 minutes.
“I promised Sarah and I just had to win,” said Spink.
At the last drink station a split appeared in the leading bunch of nine riders with only three remaining to the last sprint.
Spink has miraculously won all previous events at this location but said today’s win could also be attributed to his focus on training in any weather, course knowledge as well as his dual suspension bike which secured his first national title.
“Everyone wants a jersey. It will certainly go up on the wall,” he explained.
Spink had never lost a race on this course in previous marathons however
Just three hundredths of a second behind was Port Macquarie’s Jason English finishing in second place. Third was Victorian Neil Van der Ploeg another one hundredth of a second behind. A disappointed Ben Mather placed fourth after being at the front of the pack. Veteran male, John Darcey was the highest placed other category rider in 22nd position.
The women’s event saw a return to racing for former national champion Tory Thomas from Victoria. Thomas said she was feeling great and attributed her win to the fitness from the Tour de Timor and her need found enjoyment of riding.
“You know that was fun,” she said after riding in the lead for most of the race. “Peta rode well and it’s a shame Jo (Wall) had trouble earlier on.”
Wall’s pedal came off early in the race leaving another local rider, Peta Mullens to chase after Thomas.
Mullens placed second with Melbourne’s Jenni King riding strongly in third.
Young Adelaide rider, James Hanus was the first competitor completed the ROCKSHOX Gold Triangle half marathon in 2 hours winning the under 18 division.
Winners of the national jersey also gain automatic selection for the 2010 World Marathon Championships in Germany.
Overall Results – 105km Male
1 Murray Spink 4:30:01
2 Jason English +0:03
3 Neil Van Der Ploeg +0:04
4 Ben Mather +0:29
5 Nick Menager +0:30
6 Shaun Lewis +1:10
7 Matthew Fleming +1:12
8 Paul Van der Ploeg +1:33
9 Hamish Elliot +2:19
10 Troy Glennan +6:08
Photo: Akuna Digital