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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

2004 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic

Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2004

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Race 2 - Thursday, January 8: Portarlington

Brad and Baden's big day

By Karen Forman in Geelong

The peloton make their way around the course
Photo ©: Shane Goss

Bradley McGee won the second stage of his first Jayco Bay Classic after sharing a two-man breakaway for the final 15 minutes, and Skilled (FdJeux.com) team-mate Baden Cooke retained his leader's jersey with a perfectly executed 10th place on an extremely windy Port Arlington circuit today.

Also finishing for points in the top 10 was Skilled rider Mark Renshaw, who after today's event is seventh in the overall competition with eight points (to Cooke's 13), and leading the sprint competition with seven points, ahead of Cooke with six and Robbie McEwen on four.

McGee is just a point behind Cooke in the overall and teammate Matt Wilson third with 10 points. Chris Sutton, who is a member of the FdJ-NSWIS development squad and was called in to ride with the Skilled team when Bernhard Eisel was not able to get to Australia in time, shares 10th position with David McKenzie (Bicycle Superstore).

In every way, the day belonged to the FdJ.com team, which is being sponsored for the event by Skilled. Their presence is the first time a complete professional team has ridden in the Bay Classic since ONCE in the mid 90s.

Series leader Baden Cooke
Photo ©: Shane Goss

The efforts of the riders, including hard working Victorian Matt Wilson, who was instrumental in working at the front of the chasing bunch to keep McGee out the front and Cooke safely tucked in behind until it was time for him to make the break to get into 10th place (and therefore give him the point he needed to retain his lead), resulted in Skilled topping the teams classification with 46 points.

Second is Team MGZT-Bianchi on 22 (Rider Karl Menzies was fourth today and is eighth overall with seven points and Mikkeli Godfree is sixth overall on eight points), third 700C Business Objects on nine (Kristian House was third today and is ninth overall) and Bicycle Superstore is fourth on eight points (David McKenzie was fifth today and shares 10th overall with six points).

The Best Young Rider jersey was awarded to Rory Sutherland (Victorian State Home Loans) who rode the breakaway with McGee and finished second. Sutherland, from the ACT and now riding for the Rabobank development squad, has represented Australia at the World Championships for the last four years and is one of the hidden talents of Australian cycling.

How it unfolded

Robbie McEwen riding
Photo ©: Shane Goss

A large crowd of holidaymakers and cycling enthusiasts was on hand to watch the racing on the 1.3km circuit featuring a tough climb to the start/finish line and a roaring headwind. The first attack came on the fourth lap of the hour long event, with McKenzie, McGee and David McPartland (FRF Couriers/Caravello) hitting the gas. They were soon joined by House and Sutherland to form a strong breakaway group. Simon Gerrans (Team Carnegie Caulfield) and five times event winner Robbie McEwen (MAB/Mirvac/Lend Lease/Vic Urban) chased hard while Renshaw and Cooke also broke away from the main bunch to try to reel them all in.

McGee was obviously in excellent form after pulling out of the previous day's stage in the first 10 minutes due to poor weather and bad positioning. But today he was at the front from the gun - and the torrential rain of the previous day at Hastings was absent.

When the whistle blew to announce the first intermediate sprint, McGee was looking back to see if his teammates had managed to get across. Wilson and Sutton were at that stage on second and third wheel in the main bunch. Sutherland led the group into the first sprint and finished second behind House and McPartland. They had a 15 second gap back to Jorge Libonatti (Uruguay), Gerrans and Renshaw. McEwen was back in the main bunch.

Brad McGee
Photo ©: Shane Goss

The lead group grew to nine riders when joined by the trio and McGee appeared to be doing most of the hard work on the front. With half an hour to go the group had an official gap of 33 seconds and were completing laps in 1.45 minutes.

The second sprint went to Renshaw who came comfortably off McGee's wheel to beat McGee and McKenzie. Meanwhile Cook was safely tucked inside the chasing bunch, aware there were nine riders ahead of him and he only needed to achieve 10th to retain his leader's jersey. The third sprint was again won by Renshaw, again coming off McGee's wheel, with McKenzie second and Libonatti third. With this win, Renshaw took over the sprinter's competition for the series.

Libonatti executed the first attack off the lead bunch at the top of the hill as a particularly severe gust of wind blew up a dust storm, but House was quickly onto his wheel, followed by McGee and Sutherland. The latter two got the break tailed by House and quickly established a significant gap. House pulled back to join the bunch with six laps or about eight kilometres to go.

Bradley McGee (Skilled) salutes the crowd
Photo ©: Shane Goss

With McGee and Sutherland swapping turns out the front, McKenzie led an attack with House and Menzies. With four laps to go, McGee and Sutherland were still building up their gap, tailed by McKenzie, House and Menzies. McGee was leading at the bell with Sutherland strategically placing himself onto his wheel in readiness for a sprint. Cooke, meanwhile, leapt off the front of the chasing bunch to quickly establish enough of a gap to ensure him his coveted 10th position.

Although Sutherland attempted to attack McGee in the back straight, McGee managed to sprint across the line before him.

"Did you get it?" was Cooke's question to McGee at the finish. At his nod, he replied: "Told ya".

Bradley McGee with one of his biggest fans
Photo ©: Shane Goss

McGee was ecstatic with the results. "What a difference a day makes, eh?" he said. "When you do what I did yesterday I think you put more pressure on yourself. In this business you are only as good as your last race. They said this circuit would suit me and it was perfect. The front straight is deadly."

McGee said he was happy to see Renshaw moving across to join the breakaway and paid tribute to the hard work of Renshaw, Sutton and Wilson.

"They are very tactical these races. You've got to be have the teamwork to dishearten the others and I think we have done that." He said a training camp in the Hunter Valley region in November had paid huge dividends for the team. "CJ (Sutton) jumped in unexpectedly and he hasn't raced with us before, but thanks to the camp he has trained with us," he said. "It was perfect. We will do that every year."

On the podium after race two
Photo ©: Shane Goss

Cook said although he had heard comments during the race that he was looking tired, he felt fine. "Mark and I were just marking the main riders. We decided at the start of the day to put Brad out the front and CJ and Mark and Matt and I would be covering. I never put my nose in the wind all day. I just hit the gas with two to go. I still had strength in the legs."

He said he was happy to have retained the leader's jersey and was looking forward to the next stages.


Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com


1 Bradley Mcgee (NSW) Skilled                             
2 Rory Sutherland (ACT)Victorian State Home Loans         
3 Kristian House (GBr) 700C Buisness Objects              
4 Karl Menzies (Tas) Team Mgzt - Bianchi                  
5 David McKenzie (Vic) Bicycle Superstore                 
6 Mark Renshaw (NSW) Skilled                              
7 David McPartland (Vic) FRF Couriers/Caravello           
8 Simon Gerrans (Vic) Team Carnegie Caulfield             
9 Jorge Libonatti (Uru) Bicycle Superstore                
10 Baden Cooke (Vic) Skilled                              
Sprint 1 - 15 minutes
1 Kristian House (GBr) 700C Buisness Objects              
2 Rory Sutherland (ACT)Victorian State Home Loans         
3 David McPartland (Vic) FRF Couriers/Caravello           
Sprint 2 - 30 minutes
1 Mark Renshaw (NSW) Skilled                              
2 Bradley Mcgee (NSW) Skilled                             
3 David McKenzie (Vic) Bicycle Superstore                 
Sprint 3 - 45 minutes
1 Mark Renshaw (NSW) Skilled                              
2 David McKenzie (Vic) Bicycle Superstore                 
3 Jorge Libonatti (Uru) Bicycle Superstore                
Overall classification after race 3
1 Baden Cooke (Vic) Skilled                             13 pts
2 Bradley Mcgee (NSW) Skilled                           12
3 Matthew Wilson (Vic) Skilled                          10
4 Rory Sutherland (ACT)Victorian State Home Loans       10
5 Kristian House (GBr) 700C Buisness Objects             9
6 Mikkeli Godfree (Vic) Team Mgzt - Bianchi              8
7 Mark Renshaw (NSW) Skilled                             8
8 Karl Menzies (Tas) Team Mgzt - Bianchi                 7
9 Joel Pearson (Qld) Team Mgzt - Bianchi                 7
10 Chris Sutton (NSW) Skilled                            6
10 David McKenzie (Vic) Bicycle Superstore               6
Sprints classification
1 Mark Renshaw (NSW) Skilled                             7 pts
2 Baden Cooke (Vic) Skilled                              6
3 Robbie McEwen (Qld) Mab/Mirvac/Lend Lease/Vic Urban    4

A-grade support

1 Beritil Klootnijk (Ned)
2 Klayten Smith (Clarence St CCC)
3 Paul Richards (Warragul Cycling Club) u/23
4 Mathew Rex (Norwood C.C.) u/19
5 Adam Tully (C.A.T.S.) u/19
6 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) u/19
7 Daniel Newnham (Gold Coast Goldstars CC) u/23
8 Dean Windsor (Bathurst CC) u/19
9 Daniel Mcconnell (Bairnsdale & Riviera CC) u/19
10 Keith Evans (Midland CC)

Sprint 1 - 15 minutes

1 Beritil Klootnijk (Ned)
2 Paul Richards (Warragul Cycling Club) u/23
3 Klayten Smith (Clarence St CCC)

Sprint 2 - 30 minutes

1 Beritil Klootnijk (Ned)
2 Paul Richards (Warragul Cycling Club) u/23
3 Klayten Smith (Clarence St CCC)

Overall classification after race 2
1 Mathew Rex (Norwood C.C.)                             19 pts
2 Paul Richards (Warragul Cycling Club)                 18
3 Beritil Klootnijk (Ned)                               12
4 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC)                  11
5 Klayten Smith (Clarence St CCC)                       10
6 Dean Windsor                                          10
7 Matthew Goss                                           8
8 Bradley Payne                                          5
9 Daniel Newnham (Gold Coast Goldstars CC)               4
10 Samuel Rix                                            3