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2004 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic

Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2004

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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.

It's the Clarke & Clarke show

Round 5 - January 9: Docklands

Photo ©: Mal Sawford
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Simon Clarke capped off a great week for the team with a fantastic second place finish, behind CCCC member Hilton Clarke, who rode the Bay Classic for McKnight's Retravision/Fisher & Paykel.

The guys joined the big bunch riding from the Mercure Hotel in Geelong back to Melbourne this morning, and the extended 70 kilometre warm up obviously suited them! All five were up the pointy end in the opening laps, with Junior Pursuit World Record Holder Michael Ford reeling off a couple of big turns. As the attacks started, Simon was prominent, with Trent also in his element. From the sidelines it was obvious that Robbie McEwen, despite his unassailable lead in the series, was looking for a good result, with all the Davitamon-Lotto boys - who were riding for three different local sponsors - chasing everything.

Once again, it looked like Simon's youthful enthusiasm had him doing too much too early, as he or Trent were in every break. He knew something we didn't, however and heard McEwen tell his European teammates to let a move of six riders go, which contained Hilton Clarke and team mate Rob Tighello, Will Walker (Jayco VIS), as well as Robbie's Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team's Mark Jamieson and Ben Johnson.

The Bicycle Superstore/HLP team had missed the move, and the break's success would guarantee the Drapac-Porsche squad the team win as well as the individual title for McEwen. Not bad thinking on the fly from the very experienced McEwen, but a nice pick up from Simon!

Simon chased across to the fast vanishing group, and pulled out a great sprint to come close to stealing the win from Hilton Clarke. His second place will have moved him up the overall GC, possibly as high as fifth, and helping the team to a high overall finish. Capping off a great day in long awaited sunshine was Jenny Macpherson's (Jayco VIS) second place in the final Women's race, which also gave her second on GC, and a win for another star CCCC junior, Lisa Friend (Bianchi), in the Victorian Under 17 Criterium Championships which were held as a curtain raiser to the Bay Classic races.

Michael Ford
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
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While Simon was obviously the team's star, Trent was one of only a handful of riders to finish all five stages, and hopefully will find the early season hit out beneficial as head off to the US to ride for Suburu/Gary Fisher on the NORBA circuit, and Jittery Joe's on the road. Michael showed that he can put out massive horsepower for longer than 3'17", while Cam found out just how hard it is to race at this level. Particularly pleasing was Nathan's noticeable improvement each day as he learnt from the experience and his mistakes, and I think we can expect big things from him over the next few years.

Before we glam up for tonight's Gala Dinner, it would not have possible for CCCC to have given our young riders the experience of riding the Bay Classic without the generous financial support of Billa Bridge Wines, Inexa - Team Alex Australia (who also kitted the boys up on Inexa X3 frames) and Ventoux, who also provided the race clothing, complete with rainbow sleeves for Simon, Michael and Trent.

Results & report


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mal Sawford