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Warragul Cycling Club Criterium Series #2
Victoria, January 10, 2004
Cyclists swarm to Warragul
By Monique Hanley
One of the largest turnouts for the season provided the Warragul Cycling Club's second criterium cycle series with plenty of dramatic racing. Inspirational solo efforts, lengthy breakaways and sensational finishes were all featured in Saturday's race at the Bourke Street, Warragul circuit. The field of forty-four cyclists enjoyed sunny conditions but were less impressed with the demanding wind that besieged the course and provided a tough headwind on the finishing straight.
A strong line-up in A grade included a return to Warragul racing by Dave Salton. The eleven-man field began at a searing pace, and at the first sign of the pace slowing on lap 4, Danny Dilger embarked on a solo break. Concern of his increasing fitness and cycle tan was rife amongst the pack, and although he managed to remain clear for two laps, he was eventually chased down. Keith Tomholt showed plenty of spirit with some solo attacking, but the bunch was rarely split throughout the race.
With four laps remaining, John McKenzie shifted into gear and drove the pace at the front, sitting comfortably in overdrive while the remaining field spread out in single file behind him. Dilger allowed himself one final attack on the field before retiring early in order to watch the finish of both A and B grades. Dave Salton powered away from the field to claim first place while second place was a photo finish between John Salton and Shane Stiles. The observing crowd was still debating the order of the podium long afterwards, but according to race director Staf Duncan, Shane Stiles had the thicker tyres to edge out John Salton.
The B grade field, consisting of nine riders began at a leisurely pace until Phil Gallagher instigated a solo attack on lap 4. Easily establishing a twelve-second gap ahead of the remaining field, he almost single-handedly destroyed any sort of organised chase as the field began to string out. An unwell Steve Twining retired early while Peter Finlayson was the sole rider able to bridge the gap across to Phil. The pair worked together increasing their gap on the chase bunch at each lap. The chasing peloton eventually re-formed but could not reclaim any time and instead focussed on a bunch finish for third. With strained lungs, legs and heart from a thirty-minute breakaway, there was little left in the tank for Phil to outsprint Peter. Pete took the win almost one and a half minutes ahead of the chase bunch which was led by Paul Yeatman for third.
The small yet feisty C grade field was at the mercy of Alan Beveridge who consistently attacked the King Street hill throughout the race. Michael Pridmore used his new large chain-ring on the downhill for a couple of attacks, but was unsuccessful in powering away. Another attack from Alan on lap 6 saw him set up a seven second gap on the field over two laps, but this was dissolved by the bell lap as the field crossed for the final lap altogether.
The bunch finish was eagerly anticipated by those who had conserved their energies into the headwind, but the plan went awry when the A grade field cruised past them in the final kilometre. Unaware that the C grade field was preparing for their sprint finish, A grade were in the midst of a rider changeover just as C grade surged for the line. With little room to manoeuvre past A grade without crossing onto the wrong side of the road, the C grade bunch momentarily hesitated. Only Alan Beveridge and Glenn Fisher found enough space to squeeze through, with Alan taking the line honours ahead of Glenn. They were followed by Terry Kelly for third.
The D grade field consisted of an extremely large field of 17 cyclists, including four juniors and plenty of first-time racers. The field rode under a controlled pace for the first three laps, giving Greg Williams the incentive to attack immediately on lap 4. The increased speed had an immediate effect on junior members Zoe Atkinson, Sian Williams, David DeBruyne and Sam Atkinson who retired early. More casualties occurred on the following lap when Glenda Pridmore and Emma Beveridge lost touch with the main bunch.
First-time racer Lloyd Harrington proved to be very useful into the finishing straight headwind as the field quickly learnt of the windbreak opportunities provided from sitting behind him. By the bell lap, Dave Axford launched a now-familiar hill attack in an attempt to avoid a sprint finish. He was caught by Kym Fisher and Rod Atkinson, and the field regrouped for the last 1.5km. Harrington yet again provided a wheelie bin-like lead out on behalf of the field which was capitalised by Rod Atkinson who finished first ahead of Bill Frew. Lloyd was still able to power into the wind to finish off the podium placings.
Next week concludes the Warragul Cycling Club's summer criterium series. Racing begins at 2pm at the Bourke Street circuit.
The township of Warragul is located 100km east of Melbourne in rolling dairy country perfectly suited to bike riding. Visitors with racing licences are welcome to join us for quality racing in a relaxed and friendly environment. For more information and upcoming racing schedules please visit our website at: http://www.warragulcyclingclub.org.au.
Images by Fred Reeves
A grade, 50 mins + 1 lap 1 David Salton 2 Shane Stiles 3 John Salton 4 Scott Keeble 5 Geoff Thomson B grade, 45 mins + 1 lap 1 Peter Finlayson 2 Phil Gallagher 3 Paul Yeatman 4 Tim Lee 5 Brett Rollinson C grade, 40 mins + 1 lap 1 Alan Beveridge 2 Glenn Fisher 3 Terry Kelly 4 Trev Rollinson 5 Simon Baxter D grade, 35 mins + 1 lap 1 Rod Atkinson 2 Bill Frew 3 Lloyd Harrington 4 Ian deBruyne 5 Greg Williams
Local results 2004