Luck deserts Bay rider in classic

BAD luck and a small tactical error has seen Byron Bay's Reuben Donati finish 18th in the gruelling 228km Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic last Saturday.

Donati, the NSW and Queensland under-23 champion, was left lamenting a decision to roll to the back of the main group just as an attack took place.

“I'm neither disappointed nor pleased really ... I'm in between,” he said yesterday.

“I was in the lead group with maybe 25 or so other riders but when we got to Glen Innes with about 85km to go there was a split.

“I could have been up front. About one minute before I had been up front doing some work and then I rolled to the back and that's when the split occurred.

“It's just one of those things. The race is so team-dominated now that it was hard to bring in the split.”

Asked if it was bad luck or a tactical error and Donati said it was 'a bit of both'.

Before the break, the 19-year-old had thoughts of pushing for a place.

“I wouldn't say I was thinking of winning but I thought if I could stay with the frontrunners I might get a place,” Donati said. “It was an encouraging result I guess in my first Grafton to Inverell.”

In a sign that he could be a future contender, Donati said he was not pushed in the brutal 20km climb up the Gibraltar Range.

The race was eventually won by Malcolm Rudolph in a sprint finish from William Clarke in a time of 6hrs-26mins-49secs.

In division three, Ballina's Neale McLennan finished an outstanding fourth after a bunch sprint involving 19 riders.

McLennan's time of 7hrs-24mins-20secs was less than an hour behind the elite division.

Tintenbar's Michael McCall finished 34th in division three.

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