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Courtesy of John Doggett
It gets better: After an enourmously positive reponse from our Melbourne - Sorrento clips, cyclingnews is once again able to provide our readers with video clips of the Australian Open race courtesy of reporter John Doggett. Again, there are five clips, between 20 and 40 seconds in length, and are larger at 800 - 1.2 MB. We recommend you save them first before playing and we welcome your feedback on these clips with respect to download time and quality.
A forecasted sunny 31 degree day turned out quite the opposite at Port Arlington today for the Compaq National Womens Road race.
Overcast, a bit chilly, and drizzling was the weather we raced in instead. The course is a 10km circuit starting in the main street of Port Arlington, turning left and going over a 500m uphill drag, then quickly descending, two sharp left handers onto a nasty 300m pinch. The remainder of the lap is dead flat and open to crosswinds.
The race started quite conservatively up the first hill and a lone attack on the flat started the chasing and counter attacking. All was back together for the next climb, when the slippery roads took Kathy Watt's bike from underneath her, also bringing down Margaret Hemsley and Geraldine Denham. The crash caused the bunch to split into pieces and a lead bunch of 5 riders were away with 3 chasing bunches behind.
The break was caught in the next lap and a bunch of 20 led the race. As well as the tactics taking place for the overall race, there was also the sprint competition to think about. Each time the riders passed the finish line, points and money were awarded to the first across. Sprints were taken out by Anna Wilson, Emma James, and Joanne Robinson, and by the end of the race Anna had collected the most points overall to win the overall sprint section of the race.
With 4 laps to go a break of 5 riders was established consisting of Anna Wilson, Alison Wright, Tracey Gaudry, Hayley Rutherford and Alayna Burns. The group gained a 1 minute lead in their first lap away and continued to gain time until the end of the race. Back in the bunch, the chase was on and eventually another 3 womman break got away consisting of Natalie Bates, Emma James and Sara Carrigan, leaving the main peleton with about 12 riders. Behind that other riders including Kathy watt, Margaret Hemsley, Sandra Smith and Geraldine Denham were chasing hard to try and rejoin the race after their spill earlier on.
At the front the ACT had the advantage of having two riders in the bunch meaning they could control the bunch. In the final two laps they took turns in attacking the small group forcing the other 3 girls to chase. Neither of them got away, leaving it to a very exciting bunch sprint at the end. The sprint started early and with 50m to go Anna Wilson had a bike length on the rest and crossed the line for a comfortable win. Alison Wright proved her speed and took 2nd place from Tracey Gaudry and Alayna Burns, leaving Hayley Rutherford in 5th. A brilliant ride by all.
Back in the 2nd bunch the two NSW girls, Natalie and Emma had the upper hand over Sara (Qld). On the final climb Natalie attacked and rode home solo to take 6th place, leaving Emma and Sara to fight it out between themselves and the chasing bunch who were get dangerously close.
As they turned to last corner into the home straight, Emma pulled away and tried desperately to stay away from Kathy Watt who was coming along very quickly from behind. Kathy finished in 7th, Emma 8th and Sara 9th. A very exciting finish to a hard and tactical race.
Once again Anna has shown her talent and strength in taking out the National Road title. A great way to start the Olympic year and lets hope her success continues as the year progresses.
Well my first big race for the year was on yesterday - the Australian National Championships in Port Arlington. We raced 97 kms and it rained nearly the whole way - and it's meant to be summer!
We completed 9 laps of a 10.7km circuit and on the 2nd lap of the race, Kathy Watt crashed on a wet corner. This caused a split in the bunch and a group of about 20 of us hit the lead. We all worked well together until we had a lead of nearly 2 minutes over the rest of the field. During the 5th lap, the attacks began again through the hilly section of the course until a group of 5 was clear. The 5 were Tracey Gaudry, Alison Wright, Hayley Rutherford, Alayna Burns and myself. We worked hard to establish the gap and then in the final two laps attacked each other trying to break clear for the win. Tracey and Alison were particularly aggressive in the final lap, both being from the ACT team. However, no attack was successful and all five of us approached the sprint together. Alayna Burns led out the sprint and I went for it with about 200 metres to go. No mistakes this time!! In second place was Alison Wright with Tracey Gaudry third.
By Jeffrey Jones
Victorian rider, Anna Wilson (Saturn) showed today why she is one of the world's best cyclists by beating off jet lag and a determined field to win the Australian National Road Championships. Wilson won from a breakaway group of five that had formed on the second of nine laps of the Portarlington circuit in Victoria.
The conditions for the women's race were slightly damp and drizzly, making the course quite slippery from the outset. This proved to be fatal for 1992 Olympic gold medallist, Kathy Watt, who slipped and fell on the second lap. Watt lost 56 seconds as a direct result of the crash, and was never able to regain the leaders who attacked shortly afterwards.
A group of five formed - Anna Wilson, Alison Wright (ACT), Tracey Gaudry (Vic), Alanya Burns (SA), and Hayley Rutherford (WA) and were never going to be caught, considering the strenght of their members. In vain, Watt tried to chase but only succeeded in damage control rather than making headway on the break.
The five stayed together until the last lap, when Wilson tried to attack. She was closely marked by the rest and brought back, but clearly hadn't used up her reserves. In the uphill sprint, she led from the front and distanced the others to win by seven seconds from Alison Wright (ACT) and a still-sore Tracey Gaudry (Vic).
Wilson, who had only stepped off the plane the day before from the US, was overjoyed at her performance in such an important event early in the year. It was the first time that she had won the national road race title. Others weren't so lucky, for various reasons - Watt was shattered after losing so much time from her crash; Liz Tadich, who broke her collarbone earlier on in the week; and Tracey Gaudry who was quite badly hurt in another crash prior to Tadich's. At the end however, Wilson was going to be extremely hard to beat, possessing one of the world's fastest sprints. She merely did not have to make any mistakes and the title was hers.
1. Anna Wilson (Vic) Saturn 2.45.47 2. Alison Wright (ACT) 0.07 3. Tracey Gaudry (Vic) Timex 0.11 4. Alanya Burns (SA) 5. Hayley Rutherford (WA) 6. Natalie Bates (NSW) 2.19 7. Kathy Watt (Vic) 3.29 8. Emma James (NSW) 9. Sara Carrigan (Qld) 3.40 10. Kym Shirley (Qld) 11. Katie Mactier (Vic) 12. Juanita Feldhahn (Qld) 13. Margaret Hemsley (NSW) 14. Nora Moake (NZ) 15. Bridget Evans (Qld) 16. Priska Doppmann (Swi) 17. Sandra Smith (WA) 4.36 18. Sally Smalley (Vic) 19. Anabelle Vowels (Vic) 20. Fjelda Lee (NSW) 21. Joanne Robinson (SA) 22. Louise Hamilton-White (Vic) 9.40 23. Penny Smithers (Vic) 11.06 24. Karen Sumpton (Qld) 25. Gillian Govern (Vic) 26. Rebecca McConnell (Vic) 27. Lyn Nixon (WA) 28. Kim Howard (Vic) 29. Geraldine Denham (NSW) 13.00 Spirit Emu overall sprint: 1. Anna Wilson (Vic) Saturn 11 pts 2. Alison Wright (ACT) 7 3. Hayley Rutherford (WA) 7 45 starters Results courtesy of Caribou productions
By Brian Farrell and Jeffrey Jones
British rider, Jeremy Hunt (Big Mat 93) has won the second Australian Open Road Championship from local Jamie Drew as a result of a last lap attack by the two. However, his nationality means that Drew will be the one to wear the National Champion's jersey for another year (don't ask about the 'other' national titles please).
The race was run in drier conditions than the women's event, but it was always going to be hard with 18 laps of the testing 10.8 km Portarlington circuit to be completed. There were 87 starters for the men's event, with the scratching of note being reigning champion, Henk Vogels (WA). Vogels is having troubles with an achilles injury and did not want to risk starting in light of Tuesday's Tour Down Under.
After a first lap attack of four riders, including Jono Hall and Robert Tighello, the bunch came back but slowly started to disintegrate after each lap as the sharp climbs took their toll. Favourite Stuart O'Grady was clearly out to show who was boss, putting many strong turns in to try and get rid of the "baggage". The result? O'Grady blew on the 15th lap, leaving what was left of the bunch to fight it out.
Towards the end of the race, the in-form Jamie Drew made a bid to rid himself of the sprinters, but he took Hunt with him and had to console himself with that. He at least knew that he would win the national championship title, even if Hunt won the race, so it was no surprise to see Hunt power away for the win.
In third place was another surprise - Scott Sunderland taking out the sprint from Corey Sweet and Robbie McEwen, while the rest were left to struggle in as best they could.
Hunt and Drew were deserved winners, being persistent all day, along with the all the VIS boys. The final surprise was 38 year old Hilton McMurdo from Perth who took 13th, also taking $100 towards his costs.
1. Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Big Mat Auber 93 4.58.56 2. Jamie Drew (Vic) 0.01 3. Scott Sunderland (NSW) Palmans 1.13 4. Corey Sweet (SA) 5. Robbie McEwen (Qld) Farm Frites 6. Andrew Stadler (Vic - 1st U23) 1.56 7. Simon Gerrans (Vic) 2.06 8. Michael Rogers (ACT) 3.41 9. Alan Davis (NSW) 5.04 10. Cameron Hughes (Qld) 11. Baden Burke (NSW) 5.07 12. Tom Leaper (Vic) Navigare 13. Hilton McMurdo (WA) 14. Nic Brown (NSW) 15. Darren Rolfe (NSW) 6.07 16. Trent Wilson (NSW) 10.41 17. Pele Kil (Ned) 18. B.J. Macintosh (Vic) 17.40 Sprint king: 1 Robert Tighello (Vic) 87 starters Results courtesy of Caribou productions
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