COMMONWEALTH BANK CLASSIC
PAUL CURRAN, of Thornaby, Dave Mann, of the North East Centre of Excellence, and Alan Gornall all heaved sighs of relief at the finish of the nine-day Brisbane to Sydney road race.
They took disappointing 18th, 28th and 33rd placings, but were still in one piece after another hair-raising event, typical of the previous three.
In 1982 Australia's Gary Hammond nearly died after colliding with a motorcycle marshal, then Queensland police took the riders off course. Last year the police again fouled up the race, and this year was no better.
Riders complained about the police motorcycles from the first day and had to watch the law's every move on the 40 kilometre prologue criterium rather than their rivals.
After the fifth day's criterium and stage, John Tonks of Britain was ninth overall and Curran was 14th, but disaster struck on the seventh stage when Tonks pulled out of the race - followed by more disasters the following day, when Curran broke his frame and then punctured on another bike, the race ending the day, ironically, in a place called Stockton!
The overall race winner was Holland's Ed Schurer with Thomas Wegmuller of Switzerland second and Andrew Paulin (USA) third - a superb effort in view of his remarkable escape from death in the Milk Race.
1. Ed Schurer (Holland)
2. Thomas Wegmuller (Switzerland)
3. Andrew Paulin (USA)
18. Paul Curran (Great Britain)
28. Dave Mann (Great Britain)
33. Alan Gornall (Great Britain)