Saturday’s 19th round of the Footscray Cycling Club season saw riders brave the heat at Drake Boulevard in Altona.
The day’s racing followed an uncomfortably hot night, and the rapidly rising temperature brought high rates of rider attrition.
In A-grade, Footscray club champion Dom Dudkiewicz extended his unbeaten run to 28 races, with a breakaway that had the champion questioning the wisdom of a do-or-die move.
“It was hot and windy and there was an early attack that I bridged across to a good five-man break early in the race, but after about 10 minutes I found myself on my own as riders pulled the pin,” Dudkiewicz said.
“I didn’t think I’d stay away on my own in this heat. I didn’t know how far ahead I was, so I put my head down and upped the pace for a few laps.
“With about 15 laps to go, I got a time check from a spectator who said I was 35 seconds up, and then I started suffering and fading, losing time.
“I really thought I was done when I saw the bunch, but there were only four laps to go so I pushed on and got home.”
Dudkiewicz crossed the line well clear of second-placed Matt Muscat, who was also solo and clear of the bunch, while Melbourne University’s Brent Woodlock took the bunch sprint and third place.
The B-grade race was fast-paced and full of attacks. Brunswick’s Simon Troon defied the odds and kicked clear of a strong bunch, riding solo to the very end only to be caught and cruelly beaten by half a wheel by Thornbury’s Glen Grbesa.
“A few guys who tried to get off the front at the start and maybe they burned themselves out a bit towards the end in the heat because, even though we got a bit of a change, the conditions were still pretty tough,” Grbesa said.
Having put in a command solo performance, Troon hung on to second place as the bunch sprint engulfed him.
In C-grade, Footscray’s Shane Doyle took the bunch sprint from Anthony Gercovich and John Mogavero, while in D-grade, St Kilda rider Adrian Koukoulas took the win from Coburg’s David Diviny and MCL’s Damian Bevilacqua.