Brown loses Bay Classics lead, fined for intimidating official

Fury fuelled rider aims to get title back

Graeme Brown was fined $250 after intentionally swerving towards a Cycling Australia commissaire as the official waved a red flag to signal his bunch was being pulled from the third Jayco Bay Cycling Classic stage.

The main peloton – which included riders like Robbie McEwen – was removed from the race after being lapped by the race leaders, as there was already a nine-man break further down the road chasing the leading trio.

"Graeme Brown was a part of the peloton as it was caught and he was withdrawn," said official Doug Armstrong. "The manner in which Graeme took the withdrawal was unacceptable, and for that he has been fined $250 dollars for intimidating an official in the execution of his duties. He rode at me deliberately.

"There was a definite break between Graeme Brown's group, the group of nine and the three leaders," he added. "Graeme was part of the peloton that had been caught, there's no question of that in my mind."

Armstrong admitted he had the power to charge Brown as much as $1000 and suspend him for three months after the incident. Instead he handed Brown the minimum penalty, saying he felt it was "sufficient".

Brown circled the course multiple times at a reduced pace before dismounting from his bike, giving him time to cool off after a fiery 45 minutes. On top of the incident for which Brown was fined, he had quite obvious and vocal run-ins with rivals Baden Cooke and friend Chris Sutton during the race.

"I wasn't in agreeance with the decision of the commissaire," said Brown. "In every other Bay Classic I've ever done, almost every time there's been a lap taken on this circuit and the bunch has never been pulled out. Never. So I don't understand why they'd pull the bunch out one year and not other years."

While Brown did discuss the matter with Armstrong after the event, he admitted there was little point in challenging the decision. Brown lost the series lead after being pulled from the stage, leaving him three points behind Sutton overall with one stage remaining.

"It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter who I talk to, it's over, it's finished," said Brown. "I mean I can't say ‘hey, that's not right' or whatever because even if it wasn't right the points are rolling around here. It doesn't make any sense to challenge it, I can't get any points out of it. All I'm going to do is look like an idiot if I challenge it."

After watching the stage finish Brown was relatively happy that his overall hopes weren't completely out the window as initially feared. Brown needs to win tomorrow's stage and have Sutton finish at least two places behind in order to defend his title at the Victorian series.

"In theory I'm pretty unhappy and I generally ride well on fury, so we'll see," said Brown. "I'll unleash the fury tomorrow."

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