Sean Smith claimed a narrow victory in the final race of the Tour de Riverina series by the barest of margins.
After a dramatic final sprint, Smith edged out Wagga Cycling Club's Luke Nixon by centimetres in a photo finish and he said it was great to claim the final race of the 2023 series.
"Yeah it was good to win the last one," Smith said.
"It was a pretty hard race as it was quite warm out there.
"There were four of us off scratch and we were all working pretty hard to catch the groups in front.
"When we overtook the groups we tried to sort of leave them, but they caught back on and came with us to the finish.
"Unfortunately Titus (Madeley) had a bit of a front wheel puncture so he couldn't get out of the saddle.
"It came down to a pretty close finish and young Max Holgate lit up the sprint early and then Luke Nixon and I went to the line and it was very close."
It took race officials a fair bit of time to study photographs to determine a victor and Smith was eventually declared the winner in what was his final race in the region for the time being.
Smith revealed that he's making the move up to Townsville in mid-December, however he said he was hopeful of returning to the region in the not too distant future.
"I'm going to do a couple of years up there," he said.
"Then I'm going to try and come back down this way to the Riverina."
Smith has only been able to compete in a couple of the Tour de Riverina races this series due to his commitments with Criterion Racing in the National Road Series (NRS).
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Despite making the move up to north Queensland, Smith said he was still hoping to compete in the NRS next season.
"I've been signed on again for the 2024 season by Criterion Racing," he said.
"I'm posting to Townsville next year so it'll be a bit further to travel to them, but I'll hopefully manage to do all of the NRS series.
"It's a whole other level and it's tough racing but I'm learning heaps and it's a good experience for each race I get to."
Holgate ended up finishing third behind Smith and Nixon while Madeley limped across the line in eighth place with his puncture.
A fifth place finish from Tolland Cycling Club's Brandt Riley was enough to secure him second place in the final points standings while teammate Jared Thorwesten rounded out the top three.
The series will return to Yerong Creek on February 11 and it will be the first race of the 2024 Tour de Riverina.
Tolland Cycling Club Tour de Riverina results:
1 Sean Smith (Tolland Cycle Club)
2 Luke Nixon (Wagga Cycling Club)
3 Max Holgate (Cobram Barooga Cycling Club)
4 Steve Kilpatrick (Albury Wodonga Cycling Club)
5 Brandt Riley (Tolland CC)
6 Jared Thorwesten (Tolland CC)
7 Peter Johnson (Tolland CC)
8 Titus Madeley (Wagga CC)
9 Jacob Houghton (Wagga CC)
10 Shane Lenon (Tolland CC)
Fastest time: Sean Smith 1:40:24
First women: Bronte Stewart
Tour de Riverina final points standings:
1 Titus Madeley 37
2 Brandt Riley 27
3 Jared Thorwesten 25
4 Luke Nixon 23
=5 Rohan Christmas 20 (Cootamundra Cycling Club)
=5 Max Holgate 20
=5 Steve Kilpatrick 20
8 Hunter Behnke 16 (Wagga CC)
9 Nigel Dunstone 12 (Griffith)
10 Patrick McCrae 10 (Wagga CC)
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