Australian Open Road Race Championship

Victoria, Australia, January 17, 1999

Report from Jenny Kisler

The Australian title was contested over 18 laps of a 10.8km circuit at Portarlington. There were sprints contested on 16 of the 18 laps, as well as prize money for the sprints and overall title.

An early break by Baden Burke and Neil Cleghorn on the first lap saw them stay clear for just short of two laps. This set the scene for the day with the next attack coming from the Irish duo of Fitzgerald and Fox. The next attack came from a group that included last year’s Australian title holder, David McKenzie and Stuart O’Grady, Peter Rogers and Matt White among others. A group containing Henk Vogels and Jason Phillips then came across to these leaders. The main field was still in contact at this stage.

The breakaways were able to stretch their lead while also dropping several riders. With about five laps remaining the front group contained seven riders (Allan Iacuone, White, O’Grady, Vogels, Jamie Drew, Ben Brooks and Daniel Trinne). They were being pursued by a group of five (Peter Rogers, Matt Wilson, Chris Jenner, Sean Sullivan, Tom Leaper) and then the main field at several minutes (about 15 riders left).

By three laps to go, Iacuone had been dropped by the leaders and Rogers had been dropped by the chase group. At this point Iacuone was 2 minutes down, the chase group 3 minutes and the main field at 5 minutes. With 2 laps to go Henk Vogels made his move, a move which shattered the lead group.

By one lap to go Vogels lead was 44 seconds, from Jamie Drew chasing with Stuart O’Grady on his wheel. Credit Agricole had made the most of having 2 men in the breakaway and had sent one rider out to break up the group and kept O’Grady fresh for the sprint if necessary. However, Henk Vogels proved far too strong and increased his lead to 1.09 min during the last lap. To say that Vogels was elated with his win would be an understatement, but it was thoroughly deserved. O’Grady came around Drew easily to take second.

Of the 86 starters, 22 finished. At the presentation of medallions and the Australian Champion’s jersey, Vogels told the crowd what the win meant to him, and that it was something he had wanted for many years, after at least 10 years trying to win an Australian title!! He also said that since he began training on the first of November for the 1999 season that winning this race had been his primary aim.

Report from Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell was at the race and reports that it was a beautiful warm day with a light sea breeze. At the half way mark there was a break of 13 riders with a gap of around 2 minutes. The break kept building and soon the gap was around 4 minutes. O'Grady was driving the break and took most of the sprint points. Henk Vogels spent the time sitting in the bunch. The main peloton was being controlled by the Swedish rider Magnus Backstedt. He was unable to take the Championship and so he rode for his two European teammates Vogels and O'Grady.

NZ rider Chris Jenner was one of the first to crack in the front bunch. Eventually it was whittled down to 6 riders. With 2 laps to go, Vogels made his move and as he went through the bell he had a lead of 40 seconds. No ground was made up on the last lap by the chasers (with O'Grady letting his teammate go) and O'Grady and Drew came in together for the minor placings.

The other riders straggled in with only 22 finishing from the 82 entries. David McKenzie, a pre-race favourite came in a long way back in 22nd place.

Bad luck stories from Jay Sweet, who dropped his chain when O'Grady launched an attack and abandoned, and Scott Sunderland, who broke his chain when the pace was high and he also abandoned.

The choice of January for the National Titles has not been without controversy. It was deliberately designed to allow the European-based professionals to be home for the race. It is normally held at the end of the season. However, it is a further indication that the officials of Australian cycling are only interested in the top riders. Most riders are still in preparation for the coming road season and are no where near fit enough to race this type of event in January. The critics ask - Would the Europeans accept a national title before the season has even begun during the lay-off period? Of-course not. Only under the auspices of Cycling Australia! A further criticism is that the weather in January could have been life threatening over this distance. Victoria has been sweltering in near-40 degree heat earlier in the week. Either we all go to a summer season and then it makes sense, weather aside, or the Open title be held at a time of the season when everybody is fit enough to be competitive.

Portarlington, 18 x 10.8 km laps, 195 kms:

 1. Henk Vogels (WA)		             4.42.41
 2. Stuart O’Grady (SA)				1.09
 3. Jamie Drew (Vic)				1.09
 4. Matt White (NSW)				2.02
 5. Daniel Trinne (WA)				2.02
 6. Ben Brooks (NSW)				2.02
 7. Matt Wilson (Vic)				6.26
 8. Chris Jenner (NZ)				6.26
 9. Tom Leaper (Vic)				6.45
10. Sean Sullivan (Tas)				6.59
11. Magnus Backstedt (Swe)			7.04
12. Josh Collingwood (NSW)			7.28
13. Duncan Smith (Vic)				7.36
14. Nick Gates (NSW)				7.36
15. Cameron Hughes (NSW)			7.36
16. Trent Wilson (NSW)				7.36
17. Allan Iacuone (Vic)				8.34
18. Kelvin Martin (NSW)				9.46
19. Warren Jennings (Qld)			9.46
20. James Taylor (Vic				9.46
21. Marcel Gono (Vic)				9.46
22. Cadel Evans (Vic)				9.46
23. Colin Sturgess (GB)				9.46
24. David McKenzie (Vic) 			9.46

Classified: 24
Thanks to Caribou P/L, Race Organisers for the complete results

Sprint Classification:

Sprint premies began after lap 2.

Sprint 1:

 1. Neil Cleghorn (NZ)
 2. Baden Burke (NSW)
 3. Morgan Fox (Ire)

Sprint 2:

 1. Neil Cleghorn (NZ)
 2. Mehall Fitzgeral (Ire)
 3. Baden Burke (NSW)

Sprint 3:

 1. Matthew White (NSW)
 2. Peter Rogers (ACT)
 3. Stuart O'Grady (SA)

Sprint 4:

 1. Stuart Terrell (NSW)
 2. John Pollock (Vic)
 3. David McKenzie (Vic)

Sprint 5:

 1. Corey Sweet (SA)
 2. Peter Rogers (ACT)
 3. Allan Iacuone (Vic)

Sprint 6:

 1. Jamie Drew (Vic)
 2. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 3. Scott Davis (Qld)

Sprint 7:

 1. Allan Iacuone (Vic)
 2. Daniel Trinne (WA)
 3. Scott Davis (Qld)

Sprint 8:

 1. Brett Aitken (SA)
 2. Daniel Trinne (WA)
 3. Stuart O'Grady (SA)

Sprint 9:

 1. Corey Sweet (SA)
 2. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 3. Allan Iacuone (Vic)

Sprint 10:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Daniel Trinne (WA)
 3. Corey Sweet (SA)

Sprint 11:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Matthew White (NSW)
 3. Henk Vogels (WA)

Sprint 12:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Jamie Drew (Vic)
 3. Allan Iacuone (Vic)

Sprint 13:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Allan Iacuone (Vic)
 3. Jamie Drew (Vic)

Sprint 14:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Jamie Drew (Vic)
 3. Daniel Trinne (WA)

Sprint 15:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)
 2. Jamie Drew (Vic)
 3. Daniel Trinne (WA)

Sprint 16:
 1. Henk Vogels (WA)
 2. Jamie Drew (Vic)
 3. Stuart O'Grady (SA)

Sprint Overall:

 1. Stuart O'Grady (SA)			25 points
 2. Jamie Drew (Vic)			12
 3. Allan Iacuone (Vic)			 8
Thanks to Caribou P/L, Race Organisers for the complete results