It's State title No 2 for Reuben
BYRON BAY tyro Reuben Donati has added the Queensland Under-23 road cycling championship to his collection after a dramatic sprint to the line in oppressive conditions at Kalbar last weekend.
Donati attacked on the biggest climb in the final lap of the 175km race and broke away with New Zealander Matthew Marshall, who he beat to the line in a classic sprint finish.
Earlier this month, the pocket rocket won the NSW Under-23 championship and has now become the first cyclist in many years to claim the double.
“I had a quick look at the winners' list and I don't think anyone has done it (won NSW and Queensland) for a long time,” Donati said.
“Mostly that's probably because the Sydney cyclists don't go to Brisbane and vice-versa, but I'm kind of lucky that I have a foot in each State.”
Donati bides his time between his native Byron Bay and university studies in Brisbane.
It was a performance marked with class and grit, staged in temperatures up to 34 degrees.
During the five-hour race, which had an average speed of 35km/h, Donati consumed about six litres of fluids, not to mention countless energy bars and gels.
“On the last lap we were down to four Under-23 riders. Everyone else had dropped off because it was so hot and the course was quite hilly,” the 19-year-old said.
“There were two New Zealanders in the four who are over here doing some races before the Tour of New Caledonia.
“On the biggest climb I attacked and one of the New Zealanders came with me. We worked together for the last 25km or so and had a sprint finish.
“I was very confident because I have always won a lot of sprint finishes. The race was relatively slow but that was mainly because it was so hot and it was a tough course.”
It was his second victory in two weeks after he won a category three race at Murwillumbah against Queensland Elite champion Sean Finning and retired European pro-tour rider Nick Gates.
Donati will now prepare to compete in the Elite division of the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic on September 12.