French expat IRONMAN triathlete Simon Billeau has claimed overall honours in the 2018 Goldfields Cyclassic after finishing second in both stages of the iconic event.
Ashley MacKay took line honours for the second stage, the Leonora Golden Wheels, in 2h37:14 ahead of Billeau and David Lewis after an exciting final lap of Leonora.
The trio broke away from the main A grade pack with just a few kilometres to go.
Corrie Johnstone claimed the Cyclassic trifecta, taking the 90th Menzies Classic on Saturday, 2 June and the Leonora Golden Wheels on Sunday, 3 June as well as the overall honours.
Billeau (36) credited his win to his Cyclemania teammates Jayden Waters and Daniel Griffiths who worked together in the A grade peloton in the final stages to catch the slower grades who had started earlier.
“We won today as a team,” he said, adding that he would put some of the prize money straight off his mortgage and share some with his teammates.
In his first Goldfields Cyclassic and only his second Australian cycling race, Billeau said he favoured long races due to his endurance from triathlon training.
It was a sweet victory for the former French number one ironman who is on a comeback since a debilitating crash in 2013 all but ended his career.
Billeau had just finished the Auckland 70.3 triathlon and while descending lost control of his bike, hit a car and finished up with five surgeries.
He has since completed several IRONMAN races including in Busselton and plans to continue his assault on breaking eight hours for the gruelling event.
Day one saw Craig Wiggins take the 90th Menzies Classic in an exciting breakaway in the final minutes.
Wiggins, who races for Sydney-based team Mobius BridgeLane finished ahead of Simon Billeau and Kieran Scott who led the rest of the pack across the line
Wiggins said when he saw the rest of the A grade pack looking tired he dug deep, pushed into his hardest gear and gave it all he had.
“I’m pretty stoked with it, I’ve been coming for the last three years and getting closer and closer, chipping away and to be up with names like Michael Freiberg and Sam Welsford it’s pretty good,” he said.
Wiggins considers Freiberg, last year’s Cyclassic winner, a mentor who has helped him move up a gear in mindset, training and racing this year.
The first woman over the line was Johnstone who starting in C Grade, finished in 3h06:14.
“This is a really big year of cycling for me so to win the race is really quite special,” she said.
Johnstone finished just ahead of Kathryn Woolston and Wanda Jansen Van Vuren.
It was a race which had the spectators on the edge of their seats as the handicapper appeared to get their timings spot on as A grade only got sight of the lead pack with 15km to go.
As the crowd caught sight of the riders at the final bend before town the cheering focused on D grader, and former race director Wayne ‘Wino’ Douglass who had been on a breakaway and did his best to hold off the A graders.
Photo: John Cooper Photography