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2024 Snowy Classic: Tales From The 110km & 170km Alpine Epics

A hell climb rather than a hill climb, there may be only 3km of bitumen that winds up the big ‘berg that is Beloka, but the tortuous ascent certainly lived up to its reputation for the third annual Snowy Classic.

Bicycling Australia’s first grand fondo cycling event for 2024, close to 1300 riders clipped in to take on one of two courses, the 110km Challenge Classic and 170km Maxi Classic.

Both courses included the legendary Beloka climb, with 170km riders then opting to turn left some 20km later to add the 25km Perisher climb then return trip to Jindabyne to the days total.

Leo Yip making his way over the top of Beloka, some 4-minutes ahead of the chasers.

First rider over Beloka was Leo Yip who led the lead pack by close to 4-minutes at that stage. But Leo was caught on the Perisher climb by Brad Bannister who was ultimately first home to Jindabyne by roughly the same time, 4 minutes. 

“It was a great ride, a great day,” Brad told us. “It’s my first time in the Snowies and I absolutely loved it. “I saw Leo on the Perisher climb, he was rocking side to side a little so I put the hammer down, passed him and never looked back. I was starting to cramp at the end but made it.”

First 170km Maxi Classic rider home was Brad Bannister. Here he is at the finish line before speaking with event MC Lee ‘Hollywood’ Turner.

Another victorious 170km Maxi Classic rider was Bridgett Bremner, one of a group of 20 from Sydney’s Park Life Cycling Club who made the trek to the Snowies for the event.

“For me today was a big step,” Bridgett told us near the finish line. “Last year I was battling breast cancer for the whole year. For me to come back and do this is fucking amazing – sorry to swear but it is. I was still lightly training last year, but obviously nothing like normal. I was determined to come back after that … to have a goal and go all in, and I thought ‘this is it’.”

“There have been a few tears today,” she continued. “It has been quite overwhelming.”

Preparation wise, Bridgett told us to find fitness for the 170km Maxi Classic she mixed up stationary training via the My Whoosh virtual platform, a couple of bunch rides per week, and a regular gym session that she says ‘is her secret weapon.’

Breast cancer survivor and 170km Maxi Classic victor Bridgett Bremner at the Event Village after her ride.

“In the lead up to this I’ve been making my Sunday rides longer and longer, and adding elevation,” she told us. “And the other thing I do is go the gym which is a real shortcut. A guy at the gym gave me a programme which is cycling specific. Because my treatment destroyed a lot of muscle, I’ve had a lot to come back from so I feel the gym has been my secret weapon.”

And what’s next after the gruelling 170km Maxi after beating breast cancer?

“I’m actually off to Italy to follow the Giro, I’m doing a tour and looking forward to lots more climbing and a wonderful trip.”

Beating Her Beloka PB

Ange Hookham enjoys a cold beer after a warm day on the bike.

Ange Hookham made the trip to the Snowies from Goulburn, to make it a weekend away.

As first female rider home in the 110km Challenge Classic, she described the day out as ‘a glorious ride’. 

“It was absolutely perfect,” she told us. “Weather wise, it was just ideal. We’re here for the weekend and have really been enjoying the region.”

Her second Snowy Classic, Ange has also ridden Bowral Classic events and said one of the highlights of gran fondos was the camaraderie in the bunches. 

“But my definite highlight of today was getting to the top of Beloka,” she told us.

“Last year I walked part of it. This year I said to myself ‘I’ve got the legs, I can do this’, and I conquered it. It was fantastic.”

For full results for all age groups and categories visit THIS PAGE HERE

And for a full gallery of official event images visit THIS PAGE HERE

Bicycling Australia’s next major Grand Fondo cycling event is the Mudgee Classic, a two day gravel and road extravaganza on May 4 & 5. For registration and further details visit www.mudgeeclassic.com.au 

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