Skilled Bay Cycling Classic - NE

Australia, January 3-7, 2001

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Race 1 - January 3rd: Williamstown - 1.00 pm

By Mark Chadwick

Melbourne turned on its best after a stinker yesterday and overnight with a cool change at 8:30 dropping the temperature to mid-twenties with a sea breeze. By the end of the men's race it had warmed up again to around 30C but the action on the road was way hotter.

B Grade - Jeff Hopkins far too quick

The 45-minute men's B grade support race boasted a vast field of a standard far above its "B" grade tag. Hard, attacking riding from the strong field kept the tempo high and escapes brief and difficult. Late in the race Bendigo rider David Pell escaped in company with Douglas(?) Hunt. Together they extended their lead to 30 metres with around 10 laps of the 800metre course to go.

Sadly for the duo Hunt crashed out in the deadly first turn with six laps left to travel. Turn 1 involves passing around a bluestone roundabout on the wrong side of the road, off camber with two small grates and high gutters on both sides. Expect to read more of turn one later.

Pell rode on gamely, totally committed to his escape and maintaining his 30m lead until at three to go the bunch bore down on him, the capture coming in the last lap. Geoff Hopkins won the big bunch kick in NSWIS colours ahead of Jason Morris and Italian Roberto Salvadeo.

Women - Gilmore upstages Milward in round 1

Click for larger image
Anna Milward leads
Photo: © Impact Services

Over 50 starters in the women's race started hard and were lined out leading into, (you guessed it), turn one for only the third time when TIS rider Naomi Williams went down in the lead taking Katie Mactier (VIS), Liz Tadich (VIS) and Katrina Purcell down too. The field strung out as they picked their way around the fallen, who rejoined next lap.

As soon as Mactier rejoined she was attacking at 100%, quickly attaining a 100metre lead, Mactier took the first sprint before submitting to the will of her pursuers. VIS wasted no time sending Dellys Franke up the road to draw the sting from the opposing teams. NSW's Margaret Hemsley took up the chase only to find VIS duo Anna Milward and Katie Mactier (again) shutting down her effort. With Franke tiring, a group of five slipped away as the second sprint loomed, won in a tight sprint by WA's Hayley Rutherford from Anna Milward and NSWIS Rochelle Gilmore.

In a move that confused spectators, the four VIS girls "blocking" the break containing their leader Milward dragged up ten others to form a lead group of around 25 for the finale. With 5 VIS riders in the group a train was expected but failed to form. In the dash for the line Gilmore took the top step of the podium from Milward with Queenslander Bridget Evans third.

Men - First blood to McEwen

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Men's action
Photo: © Impact Services

The men's race started without British sprinter, Jeremy Hunt, who had been involved in an accident the previous day. Hunt is expected to be back for Torquay, but there were plenty of other sprinters vying for the honours.

Leading into the first intermediate sprint Skilled Development Squad's Hilton Clarke jnr took a flyer as the whistle was blown indicating the sprint was on the next lap. Entering, (shudder), turn one with a solid twenty metre gap Clarke came crashing to the road gashing his chin in the process as he carried far to much pace into the bend. Team Balance's Kristjan Snorrason escaped and took advantage of his recent sparkling form after a stay in the AIS Altitude House, skipping across the line to take first points in the Sprint King comp.

In the lead up to the second sprint Robbie McEwen (riding here for Crown Casino) managed a brief lone escape before a NSWIS rider took the sprint from a hard charging Snorrason who secured the sprint jersey with his second. Open National Champ Jamie Drew (VIS), David McPartland (Sanitarium), Paul Redenbach (Alchemy) and Alan Davis (AIS) enjoyed a period away, working hard to keep the pursuers away. The eventual capture and reforming of a stronger break occurred in the lead up to the third sprint, won by a resurgent Clarke from McEwen accompanied by McPartland, Peter Milostic (NSWIS), Robert Tighello (Peugeot) and late arrivals Russell Van Hout (Caffe Paesano) and Ben Day (Fitzroy Cycles).

The break consolidated and seemed secure until late efforts, in large part from James Taylor, Simon Gerrans and Chris Carr in favour of Team Balance teammates Snorrason and Kiwi visitor Greg Henderson, had the break all but swallowed up in the final lap. Robbie McEwen raised his arms in victory ahead of Hilton Clarke jnr's flying sprint and McPartland barley ahead of the charging remnants of the field.


Men B grade
1 Jeff Hopkins (NSWIS)
2 Jason Benny-Morris
3 Roberto Salvadeo
4 Joel Leonard
5 Paul Kenny
6 Herbert Donovan
7 Ben Jackson
8 Michael Walsh
9 Mark Roach
10 Brendan Cato

1 Rochelle Gilmore (NSW) NSWIS 2 Anna Millward (Vic) Jayco-VIS 3 Bridget Evans (Qld) 4 Lyndelle Higginson (Vic) 5 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco-VIS 6 Sara Carrigan (Qld) 7 Hayley Rutherford (WA) WAIS 8 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) 9 Naomi Williams (Tas) 10 Margaret Hemsley (NSW) NSWIS Men 1 Robbie McEwen (Qld) Crown 2 Hilton Clarke jnr (Vic) Skilled Development 3 David McPartland (NSW) Sanitarium 4 Robert Tighello (Vic) Peugeot 5 Peter Milostic (NSW) Pura Milk/NSWIS 6 Graeme Brown (NSW) Woolmark AIS 7 Ben Day (Qld) Fitzroy Cycles 8 Russell Van Hout (SA) Cafe Paesano 9 Jamie Drew (Vic) Jayco Caravans 10 Jonathon Davis (NSW) Pura Milk/NSWIS Sprint Classification 1 Kristjan Snorrason (Vic) Balance