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2004 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic
Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2004
Carnegie Caulfield-Billa Bridge Wines Diary
Regular Cyclingnews correspondent Mal Sawford is directing the Carnegie Caulfield-Billa Bridge Wines team at this year's Bay Classic. The team consists of Michael Ford, Simon Clarke, Cam Wise, Nathan Wise and Trent Lowe, and Mal reports on their progress in the five race series in this special diary.
The pre-race plan comes unstuck
Round 4 - January 8: Geelong Botanical Gardens
After telling the guys to expect Series leader Robbie McEwen (Drapac-Porsche) would probably be happy to let a break go up the road so he could save his legs for the final race at Docklands, didn't I look silly when the early break went, with Robbie very much present!
Joined by Stage 3 winner and new Australian Criterium Champion David McPartland (Jayco VIS) and Rory Sutherland (Victorian State Home Loans) the trio pulled away from the bunch, lapping virtually the entire field.
Trent was pumped for a good ride on the hilly circuit, and set off in pursuit of the leaders when their advantage was fifteen seconds, and was able to halve the gap, before waiting for the assistance of Matt Goss (Skilled/TIS). The three leaders began to pull away again, so the two chasers eased off and rejoined the chase group.
With fifteen minutes to go, Trent jumped away again, this time with Will Walker (Jayco VIS) and Hilton Clarke (McKnight's Retravision/Fisher & Paykel). Just as it looked as though these three would sprint for fourth, three Skilled/TIS riders burst from the remnants of the bunch, just before they were lapped by a rampaging McEwen, and powered across to Trent's group. Simon played the policeman's role perfectly, and was towed up, and in the final few laps our boys tried to one-two the Skilled trio.
The Tasmanians were too strong, but the attacks slowed the group slightly, allowing overnight sprint leader Matt Rex to bridge, and the final dash to the line saw eight sprinting for seven prizes. Judges were still viewing the footage as the dark set in, but it looks like we had two in the money, cementing Simon's place in the top ten, and the team's place on the all important start line.
Carnegie's Women got one up on the guys tonight, with an elated Jenny Macpherson outsprinting Series Leader Oenone Wood in a breakaway for the win, after a great lead out from Emma Rickards. Perfect team riding from the VIS squad, something the NSWIS and ACTAS girls are much better known for, moving Jenny into the top three and the Sprinter's jersey.
The final stage at Docklands is another fast hotdog. Simon won there last year as a junior riding in the support event, and showed on Friday night he can mix it with the best on these circuits. With a home town crowd, hopefully the guys can pull out another good ride to end the Classic on a high note.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mal Sawford