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Goulburn to Citi Cycle Classic - NE
New South Wales, Australia, September 23, 2007
Take That! Williams solos to biggest career win
By Paul Verkuylen in Sydney
Youngster Robbie Williams (Drapac Porsche) made a fantastic recovery after being dropped on the last climb of the day, the super steep Razorback mountain, to take victory in one of Australia's most prestigious one-day races, the Goulburn to Citi. Williams rejoined the leading trio of Mitch Pearson (NSWIS), Shaun Higgerson (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) and Josh Wilson (Praties) with just five kilometres remaining, caught his breath, then launched an all out attack on the final rise into Camden to which his companions had no answer. Higgerson took the sprint for second from Pearson and Wilson.
"With just over five kilometres to go I didn't think that I was going to catch them," Williams told Cyclingnews, minutes after he crossed the line for easily his biggest win in Australia. "But I just put my head down and went for it, and when I got on, I caught my breath and launched an attack on the final little climb, it was all or nothing, I am glad they let me go."
Williams' Drapac Porsche team has only just returned from the Tour de Hokkaido in Japan where they won the team classification, but Williams himself didn't have a happy time in the far east. "I crashed and from that I still have a few broken ribs, which made it a little difficult to breath today," he said modestly.
Higgerson was happy with his second placing today after spending some time away from the bike this year due to a combination of university commitments and lack of motivation. "It was a tough finish circuit, I felt ok on the climb, but it hurt," he said shortly before receiving the praise of the strong crowd assembled in the Sydney suburb of Camden.
"Robbie came across the gap really strong, and then made a brilliant move with 1.5 k to take a good win. I am happy, it was good to be back after some time off this year and the team was great, they supported me through it all," he said, referring to the time he spent away from the bike this year.
Third place today was somewhat of a surprise, except perhaps for Mitch Pearson himself, who has spent most of the year finishing around the top ten, just not in Australia. "I spent the last seven months racing in France with my brother Joel. I finished most of the races over there in the top ten," he said, before explaining that going into the last five kilometres he and his two breakaway companions did everything that they could to stay clear. "We were driving! But we couldn't hold him (Williams) off."
For Drapac Porsche today's win tops off an excellent weekend of racing, after Williams' team-mate Darren Lapthorne won the Tour of the Midlands in Victoria. Speaking to Cyclingnews over the phone shortly after the finish today, team director and Sydney Olympic gold medallist Scott McGrory explained what this meant for the team: "Robbie's win in particular is a fantastic morale boost for all of our riders and staff. Robbie has bounced back from several recent crashes which resulted in multiple fractures that kept him off the bike. It's great for Robbie, he is an absolute talent for the future that not many people have heard of, the whole team is ecstatic."
How it unfolded
Riders departed Goulburn early in a cool four degrees, but the clear blue sky and the lack of wind meant that unlike last year, the race would stay together along the freeway from Goulburn until the turnoff at Berrima.
After just 15km, five riders got away from the fast moving peloton and quickly opened up a one minute gap. The break comprised Angus Morton (Drapac Porsche), Darcy Roselund (Ord Minnett), Peter Herzig (FRF-NSWIS), Ben Mather and Richie Porte (Praties).
The peloton seemed to settle down as the break gained time, as most of the major teams were represented up front. Matt Johns (Two Wheel Industries) and Owen Belton (Manning Valley) spent some time in no man's land briefly, but were brought back by the peloton which was waiting for the tougher climbs before the sending their leaders on the rampage.
The break was working well together and built up a maximum lead of over four minutes, but by the time they reached the first KOM sprint the gap was hovering around the three minute mark. Shortly after the sprint, an unlucky Richie Porte crashed on the descent, and was forced to retire leaving only four riders out front.
By the 100km mark the break was just two minutes ahead, and with the first ascent of Razorback mountain looming 30km away five riders decided it was time to start racing and promptly gained a minute on the peloton, rapidly closing in on the leading four. These five were Robbie Williams (Drapac Porsche), William Ford (SA.com-AIS), Gilbert Gutowski (Ord Minnett), Josh Wilson (Praties) and Nash Kent (Equity IT).
By the 123km mark, three more riders - Mitch Pearson (NSWIS), Andrew Ward (Ballarat) and Shaun Higgerson (SA.com-AIS) - had attacked the peloton and were just 15 seconds behind the five chasers who had the leaders in sight. Five kilometres later, all three groups had merged, but Roselund had attacked from the leading group and had a small gap as they started the Razorback for the first time.
As the break approached the summit, Roselund had been caught and passed by the group and was now trailing along with Morton, Herzig and Ward. As the leaders began the descent, the determined Morton, an under 19 riding as a stagiere for Drapac Porsche and keen to show his worth for next year, chased back to rejoin the leaders just seven kilometres before they would attack the same hill but from a different and steeper road.
As soon as the leaders hit the final three kilometre climb, Pearson launched an attack that would see all but Higgerson and Wilson lose contact. Cresting the final KOM of the day, and with just 15 kilometres remaining, the three out front had just 30 seconds over an in-form Williams. All three riders knew that if they let up slightly they would give Williams all that he needed to re-join them, and as a result they all worked hard to hold him off.
But it wasn't to be, as Williams showed maturity beyond his years. Not once did he look desperate to close the gap, just keeping the big gear turning and slowing bringing the gap down to 10 seconds, before pouncing on the trio five kilometres from the line.
Briefly catching his breath as the leaders made the right turn into the finishing straight, Williams jumped on the right hand side up the small incline. Pearson made an attempt to take his wheel but was unsuccessful. As the three looked around at one another, Williams soloed to a fine victory with Higgerson finishing ahead of Pearson and Wilson.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
Images by Brad Hooker/www.cyclingimagesonline.com
1 Robert Williams (Drapac Porsche) 4.13.20 2 Shaun Higgerson (South Australia.com-AIS) 0.18 3 Mitchell Pearson 4 Joshua Wilson (Praties Cycling Team) 0.19 5 Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche) 2.11 6 Nash Kent (Equity IT) 7 Cameron Hughes (Ord Minnett Racing Team) 2.12 8 Ben Mather (Praties Cycling Team) 9 Brendan Brooks (FRF - NSWIS) 2.14 10 Steven Robb 2.15 11 William Ford (South Australia.com-AIS) 2.17 12 Peter Mcdonald (FRF - NSWIS) 13 Blair Martin 2.18 14 Robert Hodgson * 2.19 15 Angus Morton (Drapac Porsche) 2.26 16 Gilbert Gutowski (Ord Minnett Racing Team) 2.54 17 Grant Irwin (Ord Minnett Racing Team) 3.12 18 Nicholas Sanderson (South Australia.com-AIS) 3.13 19 Dean Windsor (Drapac Porsche) 20 Dale Scarfe (Team FSA) 21 Ben Isaksen (Lidcombe Auburn CC)* 22 Russell Gill 23 Jason Hegert (FRF - NSWIS) 24 Chris Jory (FRF - NSWIS 2) 25 Adam Socha * 26 Joe Mcdonnell (FRF - NSWIS 2) 27 Robert Cater (FRF - NSWIS) 3.14 28 Mathew Camilleri (Two Wheel Industries)* 29 Alex Malone * 3.15 30 Stephen Isbel 3.17 31 Andrew Ward 32 Simon Thompson 33 Phillip Chapman * 34 Daniel Furmston (Praties Cycling Team) 3.18 35 Gavin Nicholls (Ord Minnett Racing Team) 3.22 36 Darcy Rosenlund (Ord Minnett Racing Team) 4.37 37 Jarrett Wood (Two Wheel Industries)* 4.38 38 Andrew Riordan * 4.39 39 Kris Koke 4.41 40 Wayne Anderson 41 Sean O'neill * 42 Kor Sietsma * 4.42 43 Anthony Challinor (Equity IT) 44 Daniel Abotomey (Ben Mikic Foundation)* 45 Matthew Johns (Two Wheel Industries)* 46 Jim Moore * 47 Kiernan Smithson (Lidcombe Auburn CC)* 4.43 48 Gerard Walsh (Ben Mikic Foundation)* 49 Peter Herzig (FRF - NSWIS) 50 Sam Moorhouse * 4.44 51 Shaun Lewis (Ben Mikic Foundation) 52 Richard Vollebregt (Ben Mikic Foundation) 4.47 53 Andrew Crawley * 4.49 54 Timothy Walker (Praties Cycling Team) 55 Matt King (South Australia.com-AIS) 56 Aiden Lyons * 5.04 57 Craig Paull * 5.10 58 Lloyd Newell * 5.43 59 Matthew Lucas * 5.44 60 Stuart Morgan 5.47 61 Troy Glennan (FRF - NSWIS 2) 5.48 62 Conor Kiernan (Hillbrick/Macarthur Collegians CC)* 5.49 63 Stephen Walton * 64 Scott Wines (Two Wheel Industries)* 5.51 65 Owen Belton * 7.11 66 Ryan Buchanan (Lidcombe Auburn CC)* 7.29 67 Brett Fenton (Lidcombe Auburn CC)* 68 Peter Cooper * 69 Beau Harper * 7.30 70 Raynold Smith (Equity IT)* 71 Mark Wall 7.31 72 Jeremy Gilchrist (Goulburn CC)* 7.32 73 Bruce Williams * 74 Damian Mason * 75 Ritchie Collins * 9.15 76 Nathan Rollason 10.07 77 Liam Poole * 10.22 78 Brad Scarfe (Team FSA)* 79 Lewis Garland (Two Wheel Industries)* 13.35 80 Christopher Green * 13.37 81 Brendan Jones (FRF - NSWIS 2) 14.15 82 Jeffrey Gray * 15.50 83 Stephen Wooldridge (South Australia.com-AIS) 17.26 84 Rowan Mcmurray * 18.14 85 Jules Galli * 86 Marek Jankowski * 18.17 87 Con Toparis (Goulburn CC)* 88 Michael Cain * 18.18 89 Guy Elsom * 90 Nathan Germaine (Equity IT)* 18.19 91 Tim Norris * 92 Richard Lang 19.08 93 Owen Macphillamy (Team FSA)* 23.40 94 Richie Porte (Praties Cycling Team) 95 Michael Rand * DNF Jason Roberts * DNF Daniel Schwartz * DNF Warren Bennett * DNF Brendan Den (Ben Mikic Foundation)* DNF Garry Chapman (Equity IT)* DNF Michael Navybox (Goulburn CC)* DNF Jason Pattison (Goulburn CC)* DNF Michael Redman (Goulburn CC)* DNF Ian Adams (Hillbrick/Macarthur Collegians CC)* DNF Lee Smith (Hillbrick/Macarthur Collegians CC)* DNF Michael Frost (Team FSA)* DNF Andrew O'bryan (Team FSA)* DNF Nicholas Chevalley * DNF Lilian Kuusk * DNF Martin Mullin * DNS Robert Mclachlan (Drapac Porsche) DNS Anthony Bennett (FRF - NSWIS 2) DNS Peter Milostic DNS Matthew Werrell * DNS Justin Young (Hillbrick/Macarthur Collegians CC)* DNS Matthew Bazzano * * Division 2
2006 Chris Jongewaard (Savings and Loans) 2005 David McKenzie (VIS)