MALCOLM Blake contemplated pulling out of the Dean Carter Memorial with the flu.
But the Griffith Cycle Club member was relieved he persevered after winning the 39th installment of the event on Sunday in a sprint finish from favourite Will Silver.
Tolland Cycling Club's Silver made his move with 200 metres to go, but Blake managed to haul him in and add to his race win in 2011.
In a race dominated by riders starting off scratch, Tolland's Brad Wild finished fourth to retain the overall lead in the Tour de Riverina standings before the final stage, the Butch Menz Memorial at Wagga on Sunday, June 2.
Blake's time of one hour, 23 minutes and 32 seconds was the fastest of the day, and he admitted the win was a surprise after limited showing on the tour this year.
"Silver was the one I was watching with a few kilometres to go. He took off, I followed him and just got him at the finish," the 33-year-old said.
"I've done the course so many times and it's how I won in 2011 as well, a sprint to the end over a couple of hundred metres.
"In 2011 I was a front marker but it feels more satisfying to come from the back.
"I was thinking of pulling out of the race the day before with the flu, but the front markers got up in the first few (Tour de Riverina) races so I thought the backmarkers would be a chance.
"It's a pretty flat race, aside from a little hill about 15km out.
"I knew I'd be in for a tough ride and didn't know what condition I'd be in, but by the second part of the race I'd forgotten about it."
The title hopes of Tolland's Jack Douglas, who entered the stage equal third on the standings and seven points behind Wild, took a major hit when his bike broke in half halfway through the race.
Wild's result allowed him to extent his lead atop the standings to six points over Silver, who leapt from sixth place to second.
Griffith Cycling Club Jason Minato said the race was close to the hearts of the local cycling community, after Dean Carter lost his life in a cycling training accident.
"The scratch riders went really well, they managed to catch the rest of us around halfway," Minato said.
"It's a reminder (to be more diligent) on the road. It's about respecting each other."
Tolland's Kylie Johnston, a triple state title medalist last year, was the first female rider to finish.
DEAN CARTER MEMORIAL RESULTS: First Malcolm Blake (Griffith), second Will Silver (Tolland), third Peter Johnson (Tolland), fourth Brad Wild (Tolland), fifth Dominic Sheppard (Wagga).
TOUR DE RIVERINA STANDINGS: First Brad Wild (33 points), second Will Silver (27), third Peter Johnson (24), third Darren Higgins (24), fifth Andrew Bradley (22).