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Be Active Cycle Instead Criterium Series - NE
Perth, Australia, January 2-5, 2004
Race 3 - January 4: Cheers Bar & Grill Classic, Victoria Park
By Tracey Tilsed
The Victoria Park section of the Be Active Cycle Instead International Cycling Series produced the most aggressive cycling so far in the series.
The Cheers Bar and Grill Classics saw riders compete in two criterium races, the first over 20 minutes, with the second over half an hour. The cyclists had to combat hot and humid conditions - half an hour before the race start time, the temperature was 34 degrees, only one degree less than the maximum temperature of 35!!
The flat circuit made it difficult to make a clean break away, and although a number of riders attempted to get the upper hand on the rest of the group, their moves were thwarted as the chase group bought them back to the rest of the field within minutes.
Prior to the start of the first race of the night, the yellow jersey holder, Caleb Manion had mixed feelings about the two-race format. "I still feel good, and hopefully I will have the legs tonight. But with the split races, I will have to see what happens", Manion said.
Green jersey holder, Chris Sutton, admits that in the Perth leg of the series, he had tried to cover too many moves and had struggled during the race. "Tonight's course is going to be tough and with only 20 minutes in the first race, everyone will be taking chances, ducking underneath so it could get dangerous", Sutton said.
The first race started with a blistering pace and the u-turn on the first bend was already creating problems from the first lap. Newly crowned Australian Criterium Champion, Nic Brown, attempted the first break away and after opening a 100m gap, Rod McGee brought Brown back to the pack. Throughout the race, McGee covered most of the break away attempts, reeling the leaders back to the pack. At the 20-minute mark, riders were starting to struggle and the number of cyclists left on the course was dwindling fast.
Uruguay's Hector Morales attempted a break accelerating to open up a 100m lead in a short time, however he was reeled in by the time the field returned to the start/finish line again.
At three laps to go, Luke Roberts opened a break, and Hilton McMurdo chased Roberts to join him at the front of the field. More riders started to drop out as the pace intensified. McMurdo decided to go solo and rode away from Roberts, opening a 30m break, while Andrew Sime made his move.
With three laps to go, McMurdo went to the front and continued to lead the field for the remaining laps. McMurdo, Pearson and Sime sprinted towards the finish line, with Pearson snatching victory throwing his bike over the line.
Pearson was delighted with winning the first race of the night. "It was good. I feel bad as I didn't do anything during the race, I just sat in the pack to conserve energy", Pearson said adding "Having an event like this is great for Perth cycling."
Going into the second race for the night, new yellow jersey holder, Hilton McMurdo said that he had ridden aggressively in the first race. Although disappointed that he didn't win, he was happy to be in the yellow jersey. "I am a bit tired and think I will sit back in the next race. I would prefer to have one big criterium than two small ones but will see how it goes", McMurdo said.
The second race was a carbon copy of the first, with riders attempting to break away early but getting chased down quickly in the 30-minute criterium. Rod McGee continued to lead the chase to run down any break aways, but as the race went on, the riders started to string out over the course.
The riders were thankful for the breeze that finally blew across the course, cooling the conditions down. With 10 minutes to go, Chris Sutton made a break, taking Leon Vogels with him, opening up close to a 50-meter lead. McMurdo lead the chasing bunch, along with Rod McGee, in a bid to chase the break away.
With three laps to go, a group of five riders took the lead, including Sutton, Vogels and current yellow jersey holder, McMurdo. Manion and Brown, winners of the Perth leg and the Australian Criterium Championship respectively, put on the pace to chase the leading group. Sutton opened up a gap of 10 meters, leaving McMurdo to spearhead the chase group. In the end, NSW rider Chris Sutton crossed ahead of the field, with a tight bunch contesting the minor places.
For 19 year-old Sutton, who rides for the St George Cycling Club, was delighted with his win in what is his first trip to the West. "It is my first time in this Criterium series but I have been here before at the 1999 track nationals", Sutton said. "Getting the yellow jersey wasn't a big factor for me, but wearing the green was a big issue. It was a really tactical race and I am happy with the way I rode tonight."
In the last race of the series in Leederville, WA's Hilton McMurdo will wear the yellow jersey, while Liam Kelly from New South Wales will be in the green jersey.
Images by Steve Lack/www.idealcycles.com
Images by Bruce Hunt/www.idealcycles.com
1 Joel Pearson (Vic) Be Active 15 pts 2 Hilton McMurdo (WA) Statesman 14 3 Andrew Sime (WA) Be Active 13 4 Ryan Suckling (WA) War 12 5 Caleb Manion (Tas) PIVoD 11 6 Nic Brown (WA) Apex 10 7 Ashley Hutchinson (QLD) PIVoD 9 8 Chris Sutton (NSW) Asset 8 9 Leon Vogels (WA) Apex 7 10 Nathan Clarke (Tas) Bike Force 6 11 Kieran Cameron (WA) 96FM 5 12 Hector Morales (Uru) 96FM 4 13 David Betts (Qld) Vogels 3 14 Jason Rigg (WA) War 2 15 Stephen Harcourt (NZ) Statesman 1 16 Tyson Lawrence (WA) Bike Force 0 17 Phil Riemann (WA) War 18 Steven Evans (WA) PIVoD 19 Nathan Jones (WA) Asset 20 Keith Evans (WA) Balmoral 21 Adam Hansen (Vic) Apex 22 Brendan Rowbotham (Vic 0) PCS Sprints Sprint 1 1 Kieran Cameron (WA) 96FM 3 pts 2 Jaaron Poad (NZL) Balmoral 2 3 Chris Sutton (NSW) Asset 1 Sprint 2 1 Joel Pearson (Vic) Be Active 3 pts 2 Hilton McMurdo (WA) Statesman 2 3 Andrew Sime (WA) Be Active 1 Team Standings Be Active Cycling Instead 28 pts PIVoD Technologies 20 Apex Car Rentals 17 Statesman Homes 15 Team War 14 96FM 9 Asset Special Projects 8 Bike Force Australia 6 Vogels Plumbing Svcs 3 Balmoral Cycles 0
1 Chris Sutton (NSW) Asset 15 pts 2 Luke Roberts (SA) Balmoral 14 3 Ryan Suckling (WA) War 13 4 Nic Brown (WA) Apex 12 5 David Betts (Qld) Vogels 11 6 Jason Rigg (WA) War 10 7 Joel Pearson (Vic) Be Active 9 8 Caleb Manion (Tas) PIVoD 8 9 Ashley Hutchinson (Qld) PIVoD 7 10 Andrew Sime (WA) Be Active 6 11 Hilton McMurdo (WA) Statesman 5 12 Phil Riemann (WA) War 4 13 Nathan Clarke (Tas) Bike Force 3 14 Edmund Hollands (WA) 96FM 2 15 Liam Kelly (NSW) Asset 1 16 Steven Evans (WA) PIVoD 0 17 Hector Morales (Uru) 96FM 0 18 Leon Vogels (WA) Apex 0 19 Jorge Libonatti (Uru) 96FM 0 Sprints 1 Liam Kelly (NSW) Asset 3 pts 2 Jaaron Poad (NZL) Balmoral 2 3 Jason Rigg (WA) War 1 1 Chris Sutton (NSW) Asset 3 pts 2 Liam Kelly (NSW) Asset 2 3 David Betts (Qld) Vogels 1 Team Standings Team War 27 pts Asset Special Projects 16 PIVoD Technologies 15 Be Active Cycle Instead 15 Balmoral Cycles 14 Apex Car Rentals 12 Vogels Plumbing Svc 11 Statesman Homes 5 Bike Force Australia 3 96FM 2 Women 1 Hayley Rutherford (WA)