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2000 Results Results Past winners
by Karen Forman, cyclingnews.com correspondent
South Australian university student Scott Moller bravely held out a hungry four-times world champion Shane Kelly to stake his claim on the 2001 Melbourne Cup On Wheels at Vodafone Arena on Saturday night
The 21 year old from Adelaide, having his first ride in international company, proved too strong for the 29 year old Kelly in the final sprint to the line in an event promoter Cyclists International described as one of the most exciting for some time. "It was well handicapped, everybody had a good chance and it was a good win by Moller," spokesman Barry Langley said afterwards. "He will be a force to be reckoned with in the future."
Moller, who scraped into the final with a fourth place in his heat, first came to attention in 1998 when he won the under 19 national Olympic sprint title. He hasn't been seen much since, however, due to time out for Year 12 studies, a bout of glandular fever and starting university. Handicappers gave him 160 metres and the bookmakers started him at 3/1. Kelly, meanwhile, who has not raced since placing second in the International Keirin Series in Japan in April, started off scratch at odds of 4/1.
Favourite was world junior sprint and Olympic sprint champion Mark French at 6/4 with recent Sydney Cup on Wheels winner Sean Hopkins from Sydney 6/1. The crowd was smaller than hoped for but the atmosphere at Vodafone Arena was electric for an event which was fast-paced from the gun. Nine back markers bunched up quickly, working in perfect sync to chase down the front-markers, who settled into a solid group of eight with a couple of middle-markers in between.
There was still a huge gap with five laps to go, but the front-markers had been wheeled in by three laps to go, and Hopkins was leading the charge. The action really began when Bendigo rider Andrew Rix (170m) powered away with Moller hard on his wheel, not missing a trick. When the bell came, Moller led out Kelly who put up a tough fight all the way to the line, but Moller was too strong and Kelly, who later admitted he had probably left his sprint too late, couldn't move off his wheel.
Moller was a popular winner, with Footscray rider Glen Hutchinson second off 160 metres, Kelly third and Kial Stewart, who had powered in off 40 metres, fourth, in a time of 2.06.517.
On the podium, Moller admitted he had not expected to win. "I didn't expect to go well. I just went all out to see how I could go, trying to keep the position and win if I could . . . and I got there in the end," he said. "I could hear the crowd going crazy. With two laps to go, I decided to put my foot down." "This was my biggest race since the 1998 national under 19 Olympic sprint and it was great to race against all the big guys." He said he was a tad surprised at his mark (which in South Australia depends on the event but is usually between 30 and 50 metres). "I haven't really done much racing. This was my biggest race. I guess the handicappers didn't know anything about me," he said. "I had a break after 1998. I take my education seriously. I was finding it hard to continue my cycling training while I was doing my Year 12. Then I had some sicknesses, glandular fever, and started uni, which was a bit different to high school."
He got on the bike again for general fitness and endurance, then last year decided to get into it a bit more seriously and come to Melbourne to see what he could do on the Christmas carnival scene. The future, he said, would depend on how his year of training and racing goes. "I hope to make the South Australian team and go to the nationals, then just take it step by step. "My ultimate goal is Athens, but I am a long way from that yet. I have never done the huge km's and weights trackies do but I would like to start and see what kind of cyclist I can develop into."
Twenty nine year old Kelly, warming up for his next event on the rollers, was generous in his praise for the younger winner. "It was a good race. The front-markers had their act together. I'd say I left the sprint a bit too late. I didn't feel too bad. It was my first race since May, doing the International Keirin Series in I hadn't raced in Australia since March. I was happy. "I have been in some good training in the past six weeks, gym, ergo, track, a big of everything. Now it is back to Adelaide to the AIS then it's all hard work up to the Commonwealth Games."
Without getting too controversial, Kelly says he is looking forward to a new program at a post Charlie Walsh- AIS. "I had a year out back in Melbourne and now it is the start of a new beginning with a new program. I think I need a bit of a change. It will be good."
Surprisingly for many spectators, newly crowned world keirin champion Ryan Bayley from Perth didn't make it through the fifth heat. In fact, it was a disappointing night of racing all round for him. Later, he was fined $100 by commissaires for unsportsmanlike behaviour when he threw his helmet onto the track after finishing last in the keirin. Earlier, Bayley had predicted a win by his hero, Kelly. "Even in his worst form he is better than others. Him and French I reckon."
He had appeared at the track looking tired. "I hadn't trained since before the Worlds, just racing, and badly at that. I thought, maybe I might have a bit of form, having raced internationally. "I led out in my heat with three to go but there were too many good riders behind me. Jobie always had more acceleration. With one to go I was still sitting there waiting for them to go. I hadn't had racing experience."
Heat One 1 Laurie Noonan (Brunswick) 190 (2.15.856) 2 Andrew Rix (Bendigo) 170 3 Graeme O'Neill (Ararat) 170 4 John Walline (Warragul) 150 Heat Two 1 Sean Finning (Castlemaine) 100 (2.16.925) 2 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray) 57 3 Keiran Love (Leongatha) 135 4 Greg Griffiths (Footscray) 180 Heat Three 1 Mark French (Carnegie) 30 (2.13.647) 2 Shaun Hopkins (NSW) 30 3 Tim Decker (Bendigo) 55 4 Scot Moller (South Australia) 160 Heat Four 1 Jobie Dajka (South Australia) 20 (2.12.84) 2 Robert Wilson (Footscray) 40 3 Steven Sansonetti (Northcote) 75 4 Kial Stewart (ACT) 40 Heat Five 1 Todd Wilksch (Bendigo) 20 (2.13.020) 2 Andrew Mason (Bendigo) 50 3 Shane Kelly (Ararat) scratch 4 Bradley Bullock (Bwk) 135 Final 1 Scott Moller (South Australia) 160 (2.06.517) 2 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray) 57 3 Shane Kelly (Ararat) scratch 4 Kial Stewart (ACT) 40
2000 Justin Evans