|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
Results and Reports from Australia
Promoters wishing to submit results should send them to Cyclingnews
De Bortoli Wines Tour of the Yarra Valley
July 19-20, 2003
The inaugural running of the Tour of the Yarra Valley saw a huge field of over 200 riders assemble at the picturesque De Bortoli Winery in perfect weather to test their climbing legs through the mountain passes of the Yarra Ranges. Three road stages and a time trial made up the Tour, with the winners to be determined on points gained for stage placings.
The quality of the men's field was outstanding, with proven local stars Robert Tighello and Matt Goold (Ashburton Cycles) lining up against Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) and Australian Under 19 team members William Walker (CBD Cycles/VIS) and Simon Clarke (BikeNOW). Barcelona Olympian Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery), on the comeback trail after a ten year hiatus and a recent winner of the Mt Isa Barkly Challenge, was also identified as a dark horse by those in the know! With three men's grades in action, riders of all abilities were given the opportunity to shine.
The women's race was expected to provide a good test for Kathy Watt, as she continues her mission to make the Athens Olympic team. Australian Criterium Champion Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) has proven a capable climber, and expected to do well, and the hilly course also favoured 2002 Victorian Road and MTB Cyclist of the Year Claire Baxter (Mascot Cycles).
Reporting by Mal Sawford
Men A Grade, 102 km
The A Grade men faced two laps of the Toolangi circuit, featuring an 8km climb to Toolangi, and two very nasty steep pinches on the Old Healesville Road. After a neutral roll out from the winery, racing started at the Yarra Valley Racecourse. Noted sprinter Ben Jackson (S-B-R) attacked early looking to get a head start before the climbing started, but his efforts were doomed when Walker and Clarke set off in pursuit, prompting a small group to form at the head of affairs.
Joined by Joel Pearson and Domenic Gatto (Team MG-ZT), Gary Parsons (De Grandi), Jeremy Child (Croydon Cycleworks), Colin Thornton (Mainline Cyclesport) and Gaethan Cutri, the eight rider group combined well to lead by over a minute at the summit of the climb to Toolangi. Pre-race favourite Tighello was out of the race with a broken spoke; permit conditions precluded the use of spares vehicles and the frustrated former Australian champion was reduced to the role of spectator. By the end of the lap the lead was out to 1.45 without a great deal of urgency in the main bunch.
Child lost contact at the start of the long climb, and when the peloton hit the slopes of Toolangi the lead group's advantage began to fall. As the capture looked inevitable, the MG-ZT boys took advantage of their strength in numbers to one-two the break, with Gatto opening an advantage on the first of the two short but steep climbs. Walker brought the group back together, only for Pearson to counter attack, and ride strongly to the finish, taking the win and the leader's yellow jersey.
The charging peloton reeled in the remaining breakaway riders shortly after, and looked set to sprint for second, before an attack on the last rise of the day one kilometre from the finish saw McLachlan hold off the sprinters by a few meters. In a tight sprint for third, Luke Weir (Mainline Cyclesport) held off Milostic, Mitchell Docker (Hillman Cycles) and Clarke.
Men B Grade, 72 km
The B Grade event saw MTB star Murray Spink (Giant Bicycles) prominent on the climbs, and take an early lead in the King of the Mountains competition. The frenetic pace set on the climbs saw the 60 strong bunch substantially reduced, but around 30 riders survived to contest the bunch sprint after the second lap.
A clash of wheels saw the first four riders around the final corner hit the bitumen, with Steve Martin (Le Tour Cycles) coming off the worst. The mishap gave Daniel Burtt (De Grandi) a clear run at the line, and he took the win with a good sprint to hold off Chris D'Amelio and Masters rider Guy Green (Le Tour), with Spink showing some speed in fourth.
Men C Grade, 72 km
Chris Tassell (The Freedom Machine) rode away from the C Grade bunch on the climb to Toolangi, and looked set to continue his solo winning streak, but the youngster wasn't able to hold off the determined chase. The C Grade field only tackled the long climb once, and the second trip down the Old Healesville Road wasn't enough to do any serious damage. Brett Morton powered away from the bunch two kilometres from home, and when the bunch hesitated Alex Randall set off in pursuit. The two attackers were rewarded with the top placings, while Stewart Talbot led the bunch home for third.
Racing over the same 72km circuit as the C Grade men, the first climb up to Toolangi saw Kathy Watt go on the attack. While her efforts unloaded over half the bunch, all the serious contenders survived to the turnaround, only for the race to blow apart on the descent. Williams took charge on the descent, and Watt lost contact. Only Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles), Karen Hopkinson, Cristine Foster (Mainline Cyclesport), Sam Lindsay and Rachel Rademaker (Cycle Link) could stay with Williams, and the six leaders consolidated their advantage on the rolling hills between Healesville and Yarra Glen.
Williams rode clear on the final pass over the steep climbs on the Old Healesville Road, soloing in to claim the yellow jersey, while Macpherson outsprinted Hopkinson for second. Foster hung on for fourth, ahead of a determined Watt, who had ridden a 50km time trial to stay in contention for the overall.Results
Men A Grade
Raced on an out and back course, the time trial course rose gradually to the turnaround, with the obligatory rolling hill to make things interesting. Peter Milostic, a noted time trial specialist was favourite, and did not disappoint, blitzing the field with a time of 22 minutes 40, well clear of second placed William Walker in 24:01. Walker's good result was no surprise, as the seventeen year old recently set a new bench mark for physiological testing in the state recording a VO2 max of 93 and a power to weight ratio of 7.6 watts per kilo! Milostic took the leader's jersey on 230 points, while Pearson's ninth place kept him in equal second place with McLachlan on 180 points. Matt Goold's strong ride into third on the stage saw him close behind on 150, along with Walker and Docker.
Men B Grade
Dylan Newell took out the win in B Grade, in a time of 25.14, which would have earned him a top 10 result in the A Grade field. Chris Munro was less than four seconds off the win in second, with Peter Ladd third. Tour Leader Daniel Burtt's ninth placing was enough to maintain his overall lead, while Chris D'Amelio moved with 20 points of the lead with his eighth place.
Men C Grade
Warragul's Paul Richards may not be a terrific climber, but he scorched the time trial course in 24.35, taking the victory ahead of Brunswick veteran Robert Graham and Robert Regesterward. Alex Randall leapfrogged Brett Morton into the leader's jersey with his sixth place on the stage, with the yellow jersey holder finishing out of the bonus points in eleventh place.
Kathy Watt was a picture of determination on the start line, and riding a full time trial set up, she delivered an impressive time of 25.31 to take the win in the event she is targeting in Athens. Her outstanding time would have ranked her a fraction of a second outside the A Grade Men's top 20, and was a marked improvement on her performance at the time trial at the recent National Series event, the Tour of Cardinia.
Claire Baxter's 27.55 was good enough for second, while only seven hundredths of a second separated third from fourth, with Jenny Macpherson's 28.05 officially third over a disappointed Lizzie Williams. Williams kept her yellow jersey heading into day 2 by a slender 10 points, with Watt and Macpherson tied for second. The Tour Leader was at a loss to explain her time trial ride, feeling her strength had vanished.
With the clear skies overnight, the temperature was a very chilly 2 degrees in Healesville at the start of the Sunday morning road stage.
Men A Grade, 98 km
The A Grade men faced 3 laps of a 32.5km circuit, climbing up Mt St Leonard, before descending via Toolangi to the finish. Six riders broke away on first climb up Mt Saint Leonard: Domenic Gatto, William Walker, Cain Pasque, Colin Thornton, Chris Bradford and Casey Munro. The lead group was two and half minutes clear at the end of the first lap, and extended their advantage on the second circuit.
Gatto attacked the group at base of climb in final lap and rode the final 20km alone to earn the MG-ZT team their second stage win, and take an unbeatable lead in the King of the Mountains competition. Walker outsprinted Pasque for second after the pair out-climbed their breakaway companions, and took over the yellow jersey on 270 points. Milostic finished out of the top ten and trailed the young leader by 30 points, with Gatto also on a 240 points total.
Men B Grade, 65 km
The B Grade race over two laps saw Brendan Sharratt (Bicycle Superstore) and Craig Johnson drop the field on the climb, to lead by a massive three minutes by the end of the first lap. The pair stayed together to the finish, with Sharratt taking the sprint comfortably. Anthony Smith took out the bunch sprint ahead of Tour Leader Daniel Burtt and Chris D'Amelio. Burtt's fourth placing kept him in yellow on 260 points, while Sharratt's win moved him into a share of second on 230 points with D'Amelio.
Men C Grade, 65 km
C Grade leader Alex Randall continued his climbing form, leading the early break in their two lap race. Joined by stage 1 winner Brett Morton, John Mackenzie and Peter Sherman, the break were only 40 seconds clear ahead of the bunch, but accelerated on the second climb to leave the challengers behind. Morton took the sprint by two lengths from Randall, with Mackenzie third. Morton's win saw the yellow jersey change shoulders for the third time in as many stages, with the new leader now 30 points clear.
Women, 65 km
In what would set the tone for the remaining stages, Kathy Watt powered away on the first climb, shattering the bunch and settling in for a 65km solo ride. Williams couldn't quite stay with the Barcelona gold medallist, and was a 1:10 down with a lap to ride, with the trio of Jenny Macpherson, Claire Baxter and Cristine Foster a further 1:30 in arrears.
Watt was never challenged, extending her lead on the second lap, and taking over the tour lead. Williams also rode the stage alone to hold onto second place, while the bunch regrouped a little on the second climb. Macpherson proved the quickest in the sprint for third, overhauling Sam Lindsay who had led out a little early on the long finishing straight.
Men A Grade, 84 km
A Grade finished the Tour with three laps of the 28km Panton Gap Loop. With three kilometres of unpaved road in the middle of the 10km climb up to Panton Gap, and five riders still in contention for the overall win, anything could happen. Six riders rode clear on the first climb: Robert McLachlan, Peter Milostic, Matthew Goold, Luke Weir, Robert Tighello and Gary Parsons. Tour Leader William Walker ran out of gas early, but rode on alone at the tail of the field, and still managed to keep a smile on his face despite the tough course.
Stage 1 winner Joel Pearson bridged to the front group on lap 2, replacing Tighello, while Weir attacked the leaders on the climb. Weir was reeled in on the high speed descent, and the leaders were content to ride tempo until the base of the climb on the final lap. The final ascent saw the attacks resume until McLachlan and Milostic went clear, with McLachlan taking a narrow sprint win. Goold came home alone in third place, with Pearson out-sprinting Parsons for fourth.
McLachlan's win wasn't enough to take the yellow jersey from Milostic, whose four consistent rides earned him the overall win by the narrowest of margins, 360 to 350. Walker's lonely ride to finish ninth on the stage kept him in third overall on 300 points, just ahead of Pearson (290), Gatto (280) and Goold (260).
Men B Grade, 56 km
The tough course saw the B Grade bunch disintegrate, with Chris D'Amelio taking a good win ahead of Murray Spink, Daniel Burtt, Chris Winn and Craig Johnson. The win was enough for D'Amelio to take out the overall win on 380 points, ahead of Burtt who had lead since the first stage on 360. Spink claimed overall third on a count back from Johnson, with both riders on 320 points. Spink also took out the King of the Mountains award from Brendan Sharratt.
Men C Grade, 56 km
The C Grade win was taken out by Carnegie Caulfield rider Matthew Collins, with a powerful ride on the difficult course. With the riders finishing well spaced, second over the line was Roy Van Zetten, from John Mackenzie and Alex Randall. Tour leader Brett Morton finished the stage in sixth place - 30 points behind Randall. Morton's lead after stage 3 had been 30 points, and it seemed a count back would determine the overall winner.
Unfortunately, a clash of wheels had seen Morton's rear derailleur broken early in the stage, and he had changed bikes with a competitor. Despite his fantastic effort to rejoin the leaders (which required a second bike change for one with a better fit!), he could not be recognised as a finisher of the stage as a recipient of ‘outside assistance'.
Randall took the overall win on 380 points, with Morton's results form the first three stages good enough to keep second overall and the King of the Mountains prize. Mackenzie climbed to third (280) with Collins (270) finishing the Tour fourth.
Women, 56 km
In a repeat performance of stage 3, Kathy Watt powered away on the first climb, shattering the bunch and settling in for a two lap solo ride. Cristine Foster chased all out for the first lap while Lizzie Williams was content to ride with the main group of chasers including Claire Baxter and Kirsty Bortolin (the Freedom Machine).
Watt took out the Tour in style, taking her third win from four stages. Williams and Bortolin caught and dropped Foster on the second lap, with Williams finally getting to show her speed after a weekend of solo finishes, and taking out the sprint for second on the stage and wrapping up second place overall.
Despite struggling a little on the final stage, Macpherson's eight place kept her in third overall, 50 points ahead of fourth placed Baxter. Williams winning ride on stage 1 saw her build a good lead in the Queen of the Mountains competition, and despite Watt winning all the climbs on the final road stages, Williams picked up enough second place points to hang on to the crown.
Images by Mal Sawford
Stage 1 - July 19: Toolangi Road Race, 102/72 km
Stage 2 - July 19: Steels Creek Time Trial, 17.7 km
Stage 3 - July 20: Healesville-Toolangi Loop, 98/65 km
Stage 4 - July 20: Panton Gap Loop, 84/56 km
Stage 1 - July 19: Toolangi Road Race, 102/72 km Men A Grade 1 Joel Pearson (Team MG-ZT) 2 Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery) 3 Luke Weir (Mainline Cyclesport) Men B Grade 1 Daniel Burtt (De Grandi) 2 Chris D'Amelio 3 Guy Green (Le Tour) Men C Grade 1 Brett Morton 2 Alex Randall 3 Stewart Talbot Women 1 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) 2 Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles) 3 Karen Hopkinson (Mainline Cyclesport) Stage 2 - July 19: Steels Creek Time Trial, 17.7 km Men A Grade 1 Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) 2 William Walker 3 Matt Goold GC after stage 2 1 Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) 2 Joel Pearson (Team MG-ZT) 3 Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery) Men B Grade 1 Dylan Newell 2 Chris Munro 3 Peter Ladd GC after stage 2 1 Daniel Burtt (De Grandi) 2 Chris D'Amelio Men C Grade 1 Paul Richards 2 Robert Graham 3 Robert Regesterward GC after stage 2 1 Alex Randall 2 Brett Morton Women 1 Kathy Watt 2 Claire Baxter 3 Jenny Macpherson GC after stage 2 1 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) 2 Kathy Watt =2 Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles) Stage 3 - July 20: Healesville-Toolangi Loop, 98/65 km Men A Grade 1 Domenic Gatto 2 William Walker 3 Cain Pasque GC after stage 3 1 William Walker 2 Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) =2 Domenic Gatto Men B Grade 1 Brendan Sharratt (Bicycle Superstore) 2 Craig Johnson 3 Anthony Smith GC after stage 3 1 Daniel Burtt 2 Brendan Sharratt (Bicycle Superstore) =2 Chris D'Amelio Men C Grade 1 Brett Morton 2 Alex Randall 3 John Mackenzie GC after stage 3 1 Brett Morton 2 Alex Randall Women 1 Kathy Watt 2 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) 3 Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles) GC after stage 3 1 Kathy Watt 2 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) Stage 4 - July 20: Panton Gap Loop, 84/56 km Men A Grade 1 Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery) 2 Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) 3 Matt Goold (Ashburton Cycles) Final GC 1 Peter Milostic (FRF Couriers) 2 Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery) 3 William Walker Men B Grade 1 Chris D'Amelio 2 Murray Spink 3 Daniel Burtt Final GC 1 Chris D'Amelio 2 Daniel Burtt 3 Murray Spink Men C Grade 1 Matthew Collins 2 Roy Van Zetten 3 John Mackenzie Final GC 1 Alex Randall 2 Brett Morton 3 John Mackenzie Women 1 Kathy Watt 2 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) 3 Kirsty Bortolin (The Freedom Machine) Final GC 1 Kathy Watt 2 Elisabeth Williams (VIS/Gran Prix Bicycles) 3 Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles)