Zac Marriage conquers 2023 Grafton to Inverell
Team BridgeLane’s Zac Marriage has added his name to the winner’s list of Australia’s toughest one-day race at the 62nd Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
The talented 19-year-old entered Inverell on the wheel of Tandem Co Pro Cycling’s Max Campbell and sprinted around the Brisbane climber after a sustained surge of power to win by one second.
The impressive Campbell finished second, followed by Marriage’s teammate Rhys Robotham 22 seconds later.
“It’s pretty unreal considering last year I pulled out at Glen Innes,” Marriage said.
“But yeah, I had to dig deep.
“There was a lot of motivation with Andrew (Christie-Johnson) in the car and four of us around in the break.
“It was pretty good.”
How it unfolded
The 2023 228km Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic was ripped apart on the Gibraltar Range, led by Team BridgeLane’s Matt Greenwood solo with more than one minute lead over a chasing group and the peloton further behind.
Greenwood was eventually reeled back in by 10 riders following Gibraltar, which would turn out to be the decisive selection of the race.
The lead group of 11 was whittled down over the ensuing kilometres with Robotham electing to launch clear first, followed by Max Campbell and Zac Marriage.
With the Team BridgeLane duo happy to let Campbell do the bulk of the work for the final 20km, Campbell launched an attack in the hopes of powering into Inverell solo.
His surge up a final small climb into town would achieve half of what he wanted, with Robotham yo-yoing and then finally dropping off the wheels of Campbell and Marriage.
Campbell gave it all to get rid of Marriage in the final run to the finish in Inverell, but the South Australian showed his mettle to sprint around and over his Brisbane breakaway companion.
The win is Marriage’s first one-day race triumph and the second AusCycling National Road Series (NRS) victory of his career after a breakthrough performance at the 2022 Cycle Sunshine Coast stage race.
Results: 2023 Squadron Energy Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic
- Zac MARRIAGE (BLN) 5h:55:29
- Max CAMPBELL (TPC) +1
- Rhys ROBOTHAM (BLN) +22
- Brent REES (TPC) +1:53
- Tali LANE WELSH (RCT) +1:53
- Ben HILL (BLS) +1:53
- Dylan SUNDERLAND (SGC) +1:53
- Matt GREENWOOD (BLN) +1:55
- Andy SAMPSON (BLS) +1:58
- Bentley NIQUET-OLDEN (CPU) +2:20