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Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club
Sandown Twilight Criteriums, Tuesday December 4, 2007
Stalder pencils in a win
Another great night at Sandown saw four good sized bunches tackle the prevailing southerly wind that the circuit is famous for. Runaway Guerciotti series leader Andrew Stalder (Promains/Richmond Cyclery) had recorded his worst finish of the season a week earlier, managing 'only' fifth in A Grade, but perhaps spurred on by rumours of an imminent demotion, had won on Sunday and looked ready to cause some damage.
Early on in the A Grade race, Stalder was never far from the front and the high pace saw a number in trouble, particularly those with the mountains of the Tour of Bright still fresh in their legs. The boys from the CCCC/SHM Elite team were aggressive, and were in position when the field began to split midway through the race.
Stalder joined Steve Rankine, Danny Kah and Vaughan Bowman (CCCC/SHM Elite) thirty minutes in, and the foursome pulled clear through the headwind on the finishing straight. They were chased by a number of small groups, but only Matt Jensen (Specialized Total Rush) and Peter Barnett (CCCC/SHM Elite) would make contact.
With three CCCC/SHM riders in the six man break, Stalder faced a tough challenge, but the former Australian Under 23 road champion proved that he is in a class of his own. Barnett and Jensen lost contact with two laps to race, and Stalder looked comfortable in responding to the attacks that Kah and Bowman threw at him on the final lap, before opening up the sprint and easily beating Bowman to the line.
The bunch sprinted for fifth, and Jamie Kelly (Terry Hammond Cycles) took the cash a tyre width ahead of Dylan Boone (Inexa Race Frames).
The B Grade race proved a near carbon copy, with four riders clear at the half way mark: Haydn Green (Hampton Cycles), Rick Jones (Datacom/Burnley Fianace), Russell Newnham (Pro-Motion Bicycles) and Grant Edmonds. After being joined by a chase group led by Jason Kruger, Paul Kelly and Josh Morrison (both Datacom), the lead group stabilised at five, with Edmonds and Jones returning to the bunch.
Newnham popped at two to go, leaving four to contest the finish twenty seconds ahead of the bunch. The Datacom pair couldn't capitalize on their strength in numbers, with Green jumping early and holding off a late charge from Kelly to take the win. Adrian Vlok (Richmond Cycles) showed an impressive turn of speed to lead the bunch home for fifth place, while Mary Rogers (Bicycle Superstore) got the best of Kathy Watt for the women's prize.
Both C and D Grades ended with bunch sprints, with attacking riders brought back to the bunch once they hit the long head wind section each lap. The C Grade sprint saw three riders hit the line as one, with the video showing a very narrow win to Gerry Bechet ahead of John Pritchard and Richard Hurley, with Greg Walker (Bicycle Superstore) a length back in fourth place and Christine Kelly (Terry Hammond Cycles) the women's winner.
John Warrick showed his strength on the hill after the D Grade neutral laps were completed, and his accelerations were enough to thin the bunch a little each lap. He was in good position when the bunch entered the home straight for the final time and looked a likely winner until he was pipped at the post by a late charge from Bernie Day. Daniel Petrovic (O'Mara Cycles) claimed his best result with third in the sprint ahead of Chris Zielinski, and the women's win went to Deb Chambers (Bayside Bandidos ahead of Lisa Rosan.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mal Sawford
A Grade 1 Andrew Stalder (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Vaughan Bowman (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Steve Rankine (Northern Territory) 4 Danny Kah (Carnegie Caulfield) 5 Jamie Kelly (Carnegie Caulfield) 6 Dylan Boone (Carnegie Caulfield) B Grade 1 Haydn Green (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Paul Kelly (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Jason Kruger (Warragul) 4 Josh Morrison (Carnegie Caulfield) 5 Adrian Vlok (St Kilda) Women 1 Mary Rogers (Carnegie Caulfield) C Grade 1 Gerry Bechet (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 John Pritchard (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Richard Hurley (Blackburn) 4 Greg Walker (Carnegie Caulfield) Women 1 Christine Kelly (Carnegie Caulfield) D Grade 1 Bernie Day (Mornington) 2 John Warrick (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Daniel Petrovic (Carnegie Caulfield) 4 Chris Zielinski (Carnegie Caulfield) Women 1 Deb Chambers (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Lisa Rosan (Hawthorn)