Day 3 - January 4: Geelong. Start 4:00pm, finish 9:00pm
By Karen Forman in Geelong
Maybe it was whatever he ate for breakfast, but Victorian rider Nicholas Sanderson's sprinter's fast twitch muscle fibres were running hot in the third round of the 2002 Skilled Geelong Bay Classic at Geelong today.
He won both sprints in the B-grade men's race and wasn't far off the mark in fourth spot at the finish, earning him the sprint ace title for the day and pushing up to tied-ninth spot in the overall standings.
Sanderson had run third in the first sprint at Rye on the first day of the 2002 competition on Wednesday.
As in the previous two days, B grade set a cracking pace around the 800 metre circuit at Eastern Beach, Geelong - a fact which didn't go unnoticed by the large crowd of spectators who had gathered in the natural amphitheatre of the venue up to two hours before race start.
It was obvious that at least half of this field had the talent and speed to be up racing with the elite men, because the field of more than 90 was spread all over the track minutes after the start.
Top workers early on included Ashley Baines from Victoria, Robert Young from NSW, Bradley Bullock from Victoria and Ric Steele from Tasmania.
Their hard work bought them space from a chasing bunch led by Simon Ross (Vic), Shaun Lewis (NSW) and Scott Dixon (NSW) - for a while.
While the guard kept changing, the pace was relentless.
Sanderson made his appearance in time to swipe the first sprint, with Sean Finning (Victoria) second and Bullock third.
Prime mover Luke Dale of NSW crashed with two others on a corner on the next lap, but picked up his bike and returned to the fray. Russell attacked, gained 120 metres on the bunch, but slid back in, unable to sustain the pace without others to help him do the work.
Victorian William Walker began to apply pressure; Tasmanian Brodie Cullen, who had won both intermediate sprints and the B-grade event in the second round the previous day, also tried to sneak away, but there was no rest for anyone because Sanderson was attacking hard, on the inside.
He got away for a lap but was hauled back to the bunch by Bullock. Steele was doing a lot of work at the front and a lot of sizing up was going on. The attacks began again two laps before the second sprint and by this time, the field had been halved.
At the bell lap, Cullen was leading out with Sanderson perfectly place on his wheel and Bullock another three wheels back; all working hard. Sanderson got there first ahead of Bullock and Cullen.
There was no rest, however. Luke Dale had recovered from his crash and was attacking hard. The fastest lap of the race was recorded . . . 50 seconds. All the major players had a turn at the front, attacking, withdrawing, attacking, withdrawing.
And then, all of a sudden, five riders were down and one was screaming in pain. It was Bullock . . . attended to by ambulance and taken to hospital with leg injuries.
Meanwhile on the home straight, the race was continuing. Cody Stevenson took the final sprint ahead of Cullen and Chris Pascoe, retained his massive series leader jersey for another day, with 32 points. Cullan is 10 behind with 22 points and Jackson on 19 points.
1 Cody Stevenson (NSW) 2 Brodie Cullen (Tas) 3 Christopher Pascoe (NSW) 4 5 Bradley Dean Edmunds (Vic) 6 Dane Cheers (SA) 7 Alexander Stewart James (Vic) 8 Leigh Scott De Luca (Vic) 9 Robert Young (NSW)