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The Prince Of Wales Hospital Ride For Life - NE
Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia, August 14-, 2004
Libonati furthers Aussie dream with win on Olympic road course
By Karen Forman in Sydney
The Sydney 2000 Games may have been four years ago, but Uruguayan rider Jorge Libonati was as pleased as any of those who came before him when he won the elite men's 80km Ride For Life event on the Sydney Olympic road course at Centennial Park today.
Not only did the 23 year-old from Fairfield beat a classy field of elite and under 19 men on the challenging hilly course in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 51 sec, but in so doing, he further established himself as one of the top riders around... something that can do him no harm in his bid to clinch permanent residency in Australia and follow his dream to become a professional rider for his beloved, adopted country.
Libonati and countryman Hector Morales (who did not race today) arrived in Australia from Uruguay on a limited six-month visa 14 months ago. The talented and extremely friendly pair of pro riders quickly made their presence felt both on the road - placing fourth and first respectively in last year's Grafton to Inverell Cycling Classic and picking up various placings on the road in Victoria and NSW - and in the Spanish speaking community, where they have quickly made friends and worked hard to learn English.
Today, Libonati showed himself to be in top form - "better than last year" and deserving of the win he wasn't at all confident was going to be his. "Before the race I felt it was like going to a casino and having a bet, because I just didn't know what was going to happen," he told Cyclingnews after crossing the line triumphantly, a good 15 seconds ahead of Jose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs), Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany) and David Hiley (Bicisport).
"It was a very hard race because of the hill and the win but then I got away with 10km to go. Someone escaped and I went after them. But I didn't think I would stay there until about three laps to go. It was hard to stay out there. Then I thought that I might have a chance to win."
How it unfolded
The steady climb out of the start/finish line, around in a circle and then becoming a fast downhill before heading uphill again into the start/finish, proved to be too much for around half of the field in the first half of the 32 lap race. Add steadily increasing winds, coming off the back of gale force winds sweeping across southern NSW in the afternoon, and the event really became a survival of the fittest. At first, with the fittest riders setting a swift pace, it was natural attrition that reduced the field, Then Libonati, Rodriguez and Luis Trueba (Lidcombe) rode away and the field became three groups and a number of stragglers off the back
The breakaway was reeled back in, but soon Libonati was off the front again, tailed by Matthew Hood (St George) and Robert Cater (Randwick Botany), while Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany) towed up the chasing bunch.
The MGZT-Bianchi team, which traveled from Melbourne to compete, showed itself as one of the few team outfits of the event, working hard in a breakaway group of nine which was eventually reeled in by St George Rider Nicholas Wood on the front of the chasing group.
With 18 laps to go there were riders strung out all over the course. Rodriguez and Clarence St rider Peter Hatton were swapping turns out front, closely followed by McDonald and Libonati, who had a 20 second time gap on the main peloton. While the four leaders pushed their lead out to 25 seconds, they were reeled in about the same time a number of riders were lapped.
Next attack came from Rodriguez, Libonati and McDonald, chased by a group of just 27 riders. The leaders pushed their lead out to 30 seconds, then Robert McLachlan (Caravello) charged off the front of the main bunch to get dangerously close to them.
With 10 laps to go, the three leaders had 10 seconds on McLachlan, who was swallowed up by the main group with nine to go.
Five laps to go and Libonati charged off the front to take 10 seconds from McDonald and Rodriguez. He was still out there with four to go and still there with two to go, his 22 second lead revealing that he would probably be the unchallenged winner.
Libonati said he had been concerned about McLachlan, Peter Milostic (Penrith) and Rodriguez.
So happy, he's staying
He said and Morales loved Australia so much they had extended their stay for another six months. And now that's up, they have applied for permanent residency because they want to stay forever.
"I want to ride professionally and there are more opportunities, both for cycling and for life, in Australia than Uruguay," he told Cyclingnews. "I was a professional rider in Uruguay, but here I cannot work under the visa I have. I would like to be a pro rider and hopefully ride for Australia."
His next event is the Tatts Cup in Melbourne next Wednesday, followed by the Tour of Sunraysia and then the Grafton to Inverell Cycling Classic, in which he placed fourth last year.
A field of 76 elite men and under 19 riders contested today's event on a course that is two parts uphill, one part downhill, with the added challenge of at times near gale force cross and head winds.
The race was one of seven which formed the day-long program of the inaugural Ride For Life, raising money for the oncology department of the Prince of Wales hospital. The event was timed to coincide with the day of the Olympic road race in Athens and held on the Sydney 2000 course to provide added interest. Highlights included a father and daughter tussle between former Olympian Kevin Nichols and his daughter Kate, one of Australia's young up and comers, along with a very strong performance by Olympic amputee athlete Todd Philpot in the 20km corporate event on a hand cycle. Nichols was third in the masters, while Kate came in 52 overall.
With more than 100 riders contesting the masters and women's 40km race (16 laps), 76 in the elite event and another 135 in the corporate and junior races, race director Phil Bates declared the day a resounding success.
"It provided a rare chance for people to ride on the Sydney Olympics course at Centennial Park, which was closed to traffic for the day," he said. "I am very pleased with the way it has gone. Hopefully we can make it an annual event."
Images by Karen Forman/Cyclingnews
Corporate 20km 1 Gerard Lai-Smith (Westpac) 2 Dani Andres 0.04 3 Eoine Meaney 0.12 4 Chris Fraser 0.24 5 Simon Lyons 5.05 6 Geoff Martin (Westpac) 6.39 7 Taylor Aitchinson 8 Kate Rowe 7.32 9 Gary Parker 7.56 10 Todd Phillpott 8.30 11 Chris Hughes (Westpac) 8.31 12 Chris Fogarthy (AAR 2) 9.00 13 Chris Hannan 9.29 14 Brogdan Budzynowski 9.42 15 Dylan Matthews (AAR 2) 10.18 16 Rebecca Payne (AAR MTB) 10.22 17 Kathleen Bazzano (Shimano Australia) 10.39 18 Szabo Lasz 10.40 19 Richard Kriedemann (AAR MTB) 10.41 20 Michael DeVriend (MG) 11.13 21 Darrell Perabo 12.05 22 Kate Banbridge 12.15 23 Rob Young (MG) 12.33 24 Annette Libbons 13.17 25 Marty Moss 14.02 26 Sean Grant (AAR 2) 14.11 27 Alexs Budzynowski 28 Rhys Rederick (SES2) 14.13 29 Simon Whitie (SES2) 30 Richard Christie 14.48 31 Andrew Caver (SES1) 15.01 32 Carla Davies 15.42 33 Seth Molinari 15.43 34 Ray Pilbersex 16.13 35 David Somerville 17.05 36 Christopher Recny (LEK Consultancy) 21.15 37 Jane Recny (LEK Consultancy) 21.37 38 Mithra Cox (The Greens Team) 23.43 39 Robert Hannah (The Greens Team) 40 Alison Lyssa (The Greens Team) Teams 1 Westpac 15.10 2 Allens Arthur Robinson 33.29 3 State Emergency Service 43.27 4 The Greens Team 1.11.09 Corporate 40km 1 Blake Field (Bates Bikes) 2 Richard Chapman (Trust Co) 0.10 3 Michael King (Optus) 4 Jason Ockerby (Optus) 0.12 5 Daniel Snape 4.04 6 Matthew Bazanno (Shimano Australia) 5.12 7 David Leslie 5.13 8 Bradley Giller (Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond P/L) 9 Eoin Meaney 5.14 10 Phillip Cornwell (AAR) 6.15 11 Dani Andres 6.17 12 Hamish Fraser (Optus) 6.48 13 Charles Scarf 8.17 14 Tony Vourdanes (Water Tower) 9.25 15 Nicholas Wade (Can Finish) 9.33 16 Richard Banks (Can Finish) 10.01 17 Richard Haddock (Water Tower) 10.42 18 Maurice Lynch 11.09 19 Ishtiad Ahmed 12.18 20 Steve Foster 12.38 21 Jason Head 13.07 22 Paul Emblin 13.25 23 Justin Haddrick (Can Finish) 13.45 24 Tim Turton (AAR) 13.47 25 Paul Fowler (AAR) 26 Alex Sweeney 15.27 27 Barry Doosey 15.58 28 Philip Gravs (Gravshaws) 16.17 29 Toby Martin 18.37 30 Bruce Macaucav 19.45 31 Iain Moirano 20.50 32 Chris Lois 20.55 33 Marcus Tonkin (Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond P/L) 21.05 34 Kenneth Yardy (Yardy Legal) 21.18 35 Sue Roberts (tandem with Lindsay) 21.20 36 Lindsay Roberts (tandem with Sue) 37 Karen Rayment 22.09 38 Alex Jiminez (Team Rocket) 22.46 39 Michael Berman 25.07 40 Michael Donnan (Trust Co) 26.12 41 Michael Swibel 26.28 42 Beck Catherine (Tracey Brunstrom & Hammond P/L) 26.37 43 James Isbell (Yardy Legal) 27.48 44 Kevan Cribbs (Team Rocket) 28.03 45 Boo Ho (Trust Co) 28.17 46 Thang Huynh (Westpac team) 33.32 47 Kent Lee (Westpac team) 34.49 48 Patricia Boyd (Westpac team) 36.11 Teams 1 Optus 7.10 2 Can Finish 33.19 3 Allens Arthur Robinson 43.49 4 Tracey Brunstrom & Hammon d 52.55 5 Trust Company 54.39 6 Westpac 1.44.32 Men Elite 80km 1 Jorge Libonati (Hinchinbrook) 2.18.51 2 Hose Rodriguez (Eastern Suburbs) 0.49 3 Peter McDonald (Randwick Botany CC) 0.50 4 David Hiley (Bicisport) 2.15 5 John Ebeling (Hunter district) 2.28 6 Scott McGrath (Hunter District CC) 2.34 7 Peter Milostic (Penrith Panthers) 2.35 8 Robert Mclachlan (Caravello Joibery) 9 Trent Ready (MGZT –Bianchi) 2.37 10 Luis Trueba (Lidcombe Auburn CC) 2.38 11 Tim Buchanan (Caravello Joinery) 2.41 12 Dave Treacy (St George CC) 2.51 13 Kevin Poulton (Clarence St CCC) 5.40 14 Tyler McLachlan (Southern Cross CC) 5.41 15 Warren Scott (St George CC) 5.42 16 David Stewart (Eastern Suburbs CC) 5.43 17 David McHugh (Sydney CC) 18 Christopher Jenkins (Randwick Botany CC) 19 Matthew Kubal (Tortu) 5.45 20 Allan Sieper (Canberra) 5.47 21 Nicholas Wood (St George CC) 5.53 22 Eddie Salas (Hinchinbrook Cycling Club) 23 Marcus Preston (Theboss@prestonaustralia.com) 18.10 Masters & Women, 40km 1 David Evans (Eastern Suburbs CC) 2 Maurice Shannon (Parramatta CC) 0.16 3 Kevin Nichols (St George) 0.18 4 Patrick Naughton (Randwick Botany CC) 0.19 5 Mark Harris (Canberra CC) 6 Geoff Baxter (St George CC) 7 Trent Iliffe (East Subs) 8 Barry Kenyon (Northern Sydney CC) 9 Christine Riakos (St George ) 10 Colin Young (Sutherland Shire CC) 11 Robert Brewer (Caravello Joinery) 12 Alan Cohen (Randwick Botany) 13 Richard Mulberry (Bicisport) 14 Kate Chargee (Lidcombe ) 15 Antonio Iannacito (Caravello Joinery CC) 16 Ben Blakebrough (Southern Highland CC) 17 Scott Callum (Eastern Suburbs CC) 18 Allen Anton (Sydney CC) 19 David Bruckman (St George CC) 20 Michael Bentley (Goulburn ) 21 Zoe Southwell (Parramatta ) 22 Julian Robertshawe (Rand Bot) 23 Yvoine McCort (Sydney ) 24 Andrew Feltham (Bicisport) 25 Roland Lang (Waratah Veterans CC) 26 John Hadley (Randwick Botany CC) 27 Erik Mather (Bicisport) 28 Michael Cori (Bicisport) 29 Ian Bridges-webb (Penrith Panthers CC) 30 Chris Wooldridge (Randwick Botany CC) 31 Neil Morris (Rand Bot) 32 Roger Bird (Nowra ) 33 Charles Topler (LACC) 34 Laura Bortolozzi (St George ) 0.30 35 Scott Rice (Randwick Botany CC) 0.32 36 Craig Demsey (Eastern Suburbs CC) 0.33 37 Frank Fortuna (Randwick Botany CC) 0.38 38 Anthony Berman (Randwick Botany CC) 0.40 39 Michael Lynch (Waratah Veterans CC) 0.45 40 Tony Unicomb (Sutherland Shire CC) 41 David Clarence (Sydney CC) 42 Ricardo Deravaga 43 Peter Holyfield (Bicisport) 44 Lee Fletcher (Armidale CC) 1.24 45 Mark Eedle (Lidcombe CC) 2.02 46 Gary O’Sullivan (St George ) 2.05 47 Garth Rees (Bicisport) 2.07 48 Warren Lee (Eastern Subburbs CC) 49 Jack Yuen (Waratah) 50 Gary Tynrall 2.35 51 Kate Nichols (St George ) 52 David Lang 3.02 53 Penelope Rowbotham (Waratah) 3.39 54 Emma Lovelock (Sutherland ) 3.52 55 Rachel Oconnell (Manly War) 4.10 56 Peta Piettracci 5.04 57 Rocky Fortuna (Randwick Botany CC) 6.12 Under 15 12.5 km 1 Luke Davidon (Randwick Botany CC) 2 Tom Patton (Randwich Botany) 3 Matthew Guillan (Southern Cross CC) 4 Lewis Little (St George CC) 5 Melinda Potente (St George) 6 Richard Webb (Day license) 7 Josh Hoffman (Day licence) 8 Benjamin Elliott (Randwick Botany CC) 9 Jesse Dillon (Southern Cross CC) 10 Adam Golstein (Day licence) Under 17 12.5 km 1 Luke Barrett (St George CC) 2 Blake Field (St George CC) 3 Richard Lang (Lidcombe Auburn CC) 4 Silvia Potente (St George CC) 5 Aaron Brewer (Caravello CC) 6 Andrew Young (Eastern Suburbs CC) 7 Scott Mills (St George) Under 13 3 lap handicap 7.5 km 1 Christ Weekes (Sthn Cross, 2m) 21.10 2 Cameron Fraser (Scr) 0.48 3 Kisty Mills (St George, 1m) 1.00 4 Jack Vignes (2m) 1.17 5 Bradley Fraser (2m) 1.46 6 Nathan Bradshaw (St George, Scr) 1.58 7 Daniel Dalley (St George, Scr) 2.38 8 Emily Recny (3m) 11.37 DNF Sarah Cumming (3m) DNF Jacinta Mortell (3m) DNF Sarah Christie (3m) DNF Reuben Munro (3m)