Tyalgum Cycle Classic Winner Jonathan Cantwell heads towards the finish line.
Tyalgum Cycle Classic Winner Jonathan Cantwell heads towards the finish line. John Gass

Cantwell shows his class

CYCLING superstar Jonathan Cantwell chalked up his fourth Tyalgum Cup title yesterday morning to further improve his chances of landing a team ride in 2011.

Despite being crowned Australian Criterium (44k) champion earlier this month, Cantwell remains unsigned ahead of the up-coming season after the demise of team Pegasus.

However, the renowned sprint specialist was in a class of his own throughout yesterday's 45km trip and is sure to have once again caught the attention of potential sponsors.

Tweed tyro Brendan Brooks was the only man to challenge Cantwell in Tyalgum, but the Gold Coaster's recent Tour Down Under exploits proved the clinical difference.

Rim to rim with Brooks as they began the final ascent, Cantwell's improved climbing came into its own and he made his move with four kilometres to ride.

Swiftly changing up, the 29-year-old put pedal to the metal and left Brooks in his dust as he made the final gruelling climb, which claimed so many, look effortless.

“As we came back through town Brendan and I got a bit of a gap up,” Cantwell said.

“With about four kilometres to go I attacked which was no good for Brendan who'd been riding really well.

“I've just gotten back from the Tour Down Under where I was running top 10 in the sprints so I was in relatively good form coming into the event.

“At the moment though I'm just trying to secure a team as the guys I was signed with had one of their major sponsors fall through and so technically I'm unsigned.”

Cantwell and Brooks broke away from the field early in the Division One Elite Men's race and a five-man peloton quickly set off in pursuit.

But their efforts were in vain with third place-getter Ryan McAnally crossing the finish line outside Tyalgum General Store nearly two minutes adrift of the lead pair.

“He just pulled away,” event organiser and Murwillumbah Cycle Club president Dennis Burger said. “He tackled Shackels Hill with ease. His professionalism came to the forefront.”

The remaining divisions though were far more hotly contested, with more than 100 competitors taking to the rural route.

Impressively, it was host club MCC that dominated all four lower divisions with former club president Dave Costanzo taking top honours in division two, new recruit Jason Benny in division three and longstanding members Ross Martin and Michael Doolan divisions four and five.

“Admittedly we had the lion's share of cyclists due to the recent flooding up north but it was still a great effort to win all the minor divisions,” Burger said.

“It was a pretty hot and still morning and it took its toll but the speed was right up there and the 200-plus crowd certainly appreciated the speeds riders were clocking.”

The MCC domestic season commences February 5 with the club's next major event during this year's Banana Festival.

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