Grand Nationals for Michael Veteran claims two silvers

January 10, 2018

Echuca Moama Cycling Club's Michael Taylor powers to second place in the Handcycle MH3 class at last week's Road Nationals in Ballarat. Photo: Lachlan Bence/The Courier.

ECHUCA Moama Cycling Club’s Michael Taylor had a strong weekend at the 2018 Road Nationals, leaving Ballarat with two silver medals to add to his list of accolades.

The veteran paracyclist, who competes in the Men’s Handcycle MH3 class, battled the blistering heat and a tough course throughout a gruelling weekend, narrowly beaten in both the time trial and road race by Leongatha’s Alex Welsh.

Bendigo-based Taylor said the 21.6km time trial course didn’t suit him well, but he punched on to finish just 32 seconds back from Welsh.

‘‘My main competition (Welsh) is half my age and he’s 16 or 17 kilos lighter than me, which makes a difference on a hilly course,’’ he said.

‘‘It was only really those last three and a half kilometres where I knew I was really struggling. I’m more suited to the flat courses, because I can really build power and hold it for a lot longer.

‘‘On the way out I made time and was able to hold it, but he pulled it back coming into town. I just have to take it on the chin and see what I can learn from it.’’

The 48km road race was a similar story; riding with athletes from different classes, Welsh was able to drop Taylor and get wind protection to build a six-minute lead.

‘‘It was the same with the road race; it wasn’t an exciting race, it was just bloody hot. Both my hands were blistered and I ran out of water,’’ he said.

‘‘Racing in a combination of all classes, I was a bit outnumbered and outgunned. The other guys were able to team up, I tried to sit in on them but they inched anyway.

‘‘The others were able to draft off each other and that makes a massive difference, but they worked together well and were able to spit me out the back; congratulations to them though, that’s racing.’’

The Paracyling Nationals had been brought forward from April to January to be run in conjunction with the rest of the national titles.

Taylor said it would take some getting used to — particularly if the weather remained so extreme — but it was on the whole a positive step forward for the sport.

‘‘It was a tough weekend with new courses and time slot — it’s normally held for us in April which made things a bit difficult to gauge,’’ he said.

Overall it’s a great move from Cycling Australia to bring us into the fold and have all Nationals as one.

‘‘It was nice there were actually people there for a change and to have people cheering us on.’’

Taylor still hoped to be selected for the Australian team to compete at the May World Cup event in Belgium.

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