Paul Kenny has etched his name into the Bob Robson Memorial Criterium history books.

Kenny won the 58th edition of the western suburbs cycling race last month after being the best negotiator of the challenging layout around Williamstown High School.

The men’s A-grade section produced a hot race right from the start, with the first 20 minutes of racing producing an average speed of 46km/h.

Kenny, a 38-year-old Newport resident, was not going to die wondering, seizing his opportunity in the dying stages of the race.

“I was actually really nervous about today because I had a plan that involved sitting at the back for the first half of the race,” he said.

“This circuit is so tight that the bunch often breaks up into several groups … it was a really strong field, so I was really banking on it staying together. With a lap and three-quarters to go, I attacked … Adam Murchie was up the road. I came past him as hard as I could and then I did the last lap on my own

“It’s a short circuit and I was happy with the gap that I had, so I just kept focused and powered through the corners … I saw I had the gap I needed so I could enjoy the win with a victory salute.”

Kenny paid tribute to the riders who had won the race before him, thrilled to join some of the Footscray Cycling Club’s greats.

“There are some really amazing riders who have won this race and are on the honour board, so I am pretty chuffed to know my name will go on to that board,” he said.

Kenny took the victory ahead of last year’s winner, Henry Dietze, and Dom Dudkiewicz.

In A-grade women, Sarah Gigante continued with her fantastic form to take the win with a long solo breakaway. The 17-year-old used her time-trial skills to power away from the bunch.

“My plan was to put the power down and see if anyone could go with me,” she said.

“I didn’t want to leave it to a sprint and I
like time-trialling, so I just went as hard as I could.

“It was the first time I have raced this circuit and it’s pretty tight and makes for interesting racing, some of the corners are off-camber and it’s quite bumpy.

“So it was better to be out on my own as I could choose my own racing line. It was pretty special to win this criterium.”

Gigante took the win from Nonie Carr and Vanessa Wong.

 

Mark Micallef