BRENDAN Canty was the surprise winner of the Stratford to Dargo cycle race on Saturday.
The Hawthorn Cycling Club member won the men’s A grade title in his first open event, having only recently graduated from D grade criteriums at club level.
Canty finished just over a minute clear of noted climber Matt Clark (Wangaratta) and Rowan Dever (St Kilda).
Starting from the Stratford Tennis Club, 127 riders took part in the event, which was part of the state road series for the first time.
The event’s inclusion in the state series, and a scheduling conflict with the state road championships, saw it moved forwards from its traditional November date.
The riders were tested by the 105 kilometre course, made up of 94km of rolling hills followed by a 10km climb of approximately 10 per cent gradient then a 1km climb of around 18 per cent to the finish line at Dargo.
Hawthorn club riders also enjoyed success in the men’s B and C grade races with Jay Phillpotts and Francis Ennis winning respectively.
With no women’s A grade event, St Kilda’s Rebecca Heath won the top women’s race, B grade, with Wellington rider Kristy Glover just under 11 minutes behind.
Rebecca Stephens (Brunswick) won women’s C grade.
Michael Gallagher (Carnegie-Caulfield) won masters A grade, Steven Payne (Preston) masters B grade and Bret Steiszkal (Blackburn) masters C grade.