The two most celebrated Masters cyclists from Griffith, Jennifer Massey and Peter Budd competed in Albi, France in UCI Grand Fondo World Championship in late August 2017.
Traditionally a land of cycling like many other areas in France, The Tarn Department is also a land of transition between several areas. Indeed it links the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountains to the Massif Central. That is why Albi and surrounding areas have often welcomed cycling races such as the Tour De France.
Jenni Massey’s woman’s race was 97km and presented a hilly landscape which becomes quite challenging after 10km at Labastide de Levis. The course proves selective with frequent steep climbs up to Cahuzac sur Vere, Cordes and finally, the climb of Moulin de Julien.
Peter Budd’s men’s race was contested over 155km.This race took in some spectacular views including Castelnau de Montmirail, Puycelsi, Bruniquel, Penne and Cordes sur Ciel.
However to enjoy these views, some serious ascents were involved including the Castelnau, the long climb to Vaour and the difficult cliff of San Antonin.
Jenni’s race started off at a frantic pace through narrow and technical streets. With 120 women in the race this was quite nerve wracking. With different age groups racing together there was a selection on the climb to Vaour with 2 riders from Jenni’s age division making the break with younger age groups.
A small chase bunch of about 8 riders formed with Jenni being the only rider in her age group, effectively 3rd on the road in her age group. However on the fast downhill to Marssac the bunch swelled including a few of Jenni’s age group competitors.
The sprint into Albi was hectic with Jenni finishing in 4th place and awarded same time as 3rd place. Jenni was the second placed Australian. A fantastic performance by the reigning NSW champion and former Australian Champion.
Peter Budd competed in the men’s master 6 event with 260 riders in the group, the pace was fast from the outset. Staying near the front of the group on the narrow roads required maximum concentration. Budd was well placed for the first 60km when the first big 8km climb to Vaour made the first sorting in the race order.
The climb splintered the race into a number of groups with Budd in the third group on the road and with around 40 riders ahead. Despite the fast pace in the hot conditions the leaders were never seen again with Budd finishing in his group in 61st place, being the 4th placed Australian a most credible performance in an extremely competitive field.
With his first taste of euro racing under his belt Budd now knows the little improvements he needs to make going into the Varese world championships in 2018.
Undoubtedly both Jenni Massey and Peter Budd, who have both performed, exceptionally well in Australia, represented Griffith and Australia in Albi, France with aplomb.
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