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Jayco Bay Cycling Classic - NE
Geelong, Australia, January 4-8, 2006
Stage 2 - January 5: Portarlington
By Mal Sawford in Portarlington
World Pursuit Champion Katie Mactier (Jayco VIS) remained undefeated after the second round of the 2006 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, although in a first in the event's 17 year history, she had to settle for a share of the top step of the podium. Judges weren't able to separate Mactier and 2005 World Cup Champion Oenone Wood (Mercure Hotel) in the frantic dash to the line.
The men's event saw a win to another track specialist, with German Christian Lademann (Drapac-Porsche Development Team) taking a comfortable win over Hilton Clarke (Portfolio Partners); but Clarke had the last laugh as he took over the series lead from Lademann's team mate Greg Henderson on a hot and sunny afternoon.
The Portarlington circuit is renowned as one of the toughest criterium circuits in the world: after the finish line riders face a short descent before a long climb up the back straight, with only a brief respite on another descent before an bumpy off-camber corner into the uphill finishing straight. Only the strongest riders win at Portarlington, often by riding the field off their wheels, with previous winners including Neil Stephens, Simon Gerrans and Oenone Wood.
Two laps in, the first attack came from Zac Dempster (Drapac-Porsche) and Chris Jongewaard (McKnight's Retravision/Fisher & Paykel). They were quickly chased down, setting up a solo counter attack from Dean Windsor (Werribee Mansion Hotel/NSWIS). Next time round, Rabobank pro Will Walker (Jayco VIS), Darren Lapthorne (Pitcher Partners) and Drapac-Porsche policeman Mitchell Docker made it four riders out front.
Defending champion Robbie McEwen (Volvo Team T5) showed no sign of the hamstring soreness that had forced a quiet first stage and shot out of the bunch in pursuit, but his efforts forced another quick response from the bunch. Approaching the first mid race sprint, Windsor had jumped away again, with McEwen's new Davitamon-Lotto team mate Nic Sanderson (Volvo) and Jongewaard for company. The trio were clearly hoping to duplicate the success of the previous day's early break, and didn't contest the sprint as they set about extending their advantage. Shaun Higgerson (Werribee Mansion Hotel) crossed the gap soon after the sprint, but had Baden Cooke (Portfolio Partners) and series leader Henderson hot on his heels, and the field briefly regrouped 20 minutes in.
A well timed counter attack on the climb from Trent Wilson (Grand Mercure) saw McEwen's Czech teammate David Kupka respond, along with Hilton Clarke (Portfolio Partners). Lademann followed Clarke, and the quartet rocketed away to a 20 second lead as the bunch showed no interest in chasing. Peter McDonald belatedly set off in solo pursuit, and after a strong effort made contact with the leaders shortly after the half distance sprint.
The second half of the race saw Clarke forced to do the lion's share of the pace making, with the leader's jersey his for the taking, while Lademann had an armchair ride at the back of the small group. A noted non-sprinter, Wilson made his bid on the penultimate lap, attacking up the back straight, but Clarke closed the gap just before the start of the final lap.
A fresh Lademann took the lead before the final corner, and had little trouble holding off a visibly frustrated Clarke, with Kupka third. "I knew I had to take them on the downhill before the corner, because it's a downhill curve and I didn't want to try and take it from behind and risk crashing and all that. Bit of a headwind but finally I made it, 'cause the others were tired" was Lademann's assessment of his winning sprint.
McEwen picked up his first points for the 2006 Classic after attacking the bunch at eight laps to go. After two laps alone, he was joined by Henderson, Walker, Tony Mann (FRF Couriers-Caravello) and Dean Windsor, and had little trouble leading the group home for sixth place.
Lademann later acknowledged his breakaway companions weren't overly happy with his refusal to contribute to the pace making, "I didn't do too much, because Greg was in the yellow jersey - the others weren't too happy because I sat in the back, but finally I had to take the victory anyway because it's about the sponsor. I couldn't help Hilton out to take the jersey (from us) but he did it by himself so he should be happy."
Clarke made no secret of his feelings, saying, "I ended up getting beaten probably not by the best rider, but that's bike racing, they were defending the jersey and that's the game they played and they won. But I'm in the yellow so that's what I get, but still, you want to win a stage and to get beaten like that isn't great. I really had to drive it because I knew the jersey was on the line, but once they weren't going to catch us you expect everyone to do a bit of work. But still, that's tactics and I'll take it, but I won't be riding friendly anymore, I tell you!"
During the presentations, podium MC Rob Gaylard quizzed both Lademann and Kupka on how they'd handled Melbourne's summer heat, before Clarke interrupted, "You talk about the Internationals not being able to handle the heat - I haven't been beaten by an Aussie yet!"
With the hot sun directly overhead, the women's race started at an unusually sedate pace, with the bunch still together approaching the first sprint. The dramatic acceleration from Wood to take the sprint ahead of Jo Kiesanowski (Pitcher Partners) and Mactier decimated the bunch however, and only 22 survived in the main group.
Hayley Brown (Pitcher Partners), a previous winner on the circuit, kept up the pressure, and rode clear with Amanda Spratt (Werribee Mansion Hotel/NSWIS). The pair looked to have caught the bunch napping as they were well clear at the second intermediate sprint with only eight laps remaining. Wood went back on the offensive approaching six to go, and wiped out the leader's advantage in a single lap and further reduced the group to 13 riders, only to see Kate Bates (Pitcher Partners) counter attack and use her pursuiting strength to hold off the chase. Olivia Gollan (Werribee Mansion Hotel/NSWIS) tried to join Bates with two to go, but Mactier responded immediately, and the surge in pace saw Bates' attack neutralised with a little over a lap remaining.
Mactier led Wood into the final corner before locking up her back wheel and running very wide into the gravel, setting Wood up perfectly to sprint home for the win. As Wood prepared to celebrate her win, Mactier somehow found her way back on course, and in an amazing show of strength and determination powered up the middle of the road to catch Wood on the line.
During the lengthy review of the finish line camera, Wood admitted, "I'll feel a bit stupid if I didn't get it!" Then, seeing Mactier walking back up the hill towards the judges chipped in with "maybe she feels a bit safer in the sandshoes than on the bike!" When asked the obvious question (did you put your arms up too early?), Wood replied, "I think it was bit presumptuous on my part, 'cause Katie Mac certainly came through pretty fast and I wasn't expecting that. So I'll have to be a little bit more on the ball tomorrow and not underestimate Katie Mactier!"
Mactier's take on the dramatic finish was, "I had a perfect lead out by my team mate and cooked it round the corner and ended up in the dirt for 20 odd metres and thought I was well and truly out of contention, and I just put my head down and kept pounding away and sure enough I started catching them bit by bit. I think Oenone maybe thought she had it in the bag and sat up on the line and I caught her on the line."
Scottish Commonwealth Games hope Evan Oliphant (Team UNO) powered away from the rapidly diminishing bunch before the first intermediate sprint, and never looked like slowing down. David Tanner set off in pursuit and closed in on the leader before a mechanical problem forced him into the pits. After resuming in the bunch, Tanner jumped away again and chased up to Oliphant with only four laps remaining. Angus Morton also crossed the chasm, but neither rider had the strength to match the Scot in the sprint to the line.
Julian Dutton (BikeNOW) attacked the bunch on the final climb to finish fourth, with the bunch led home by Nick Walker (CBD Cycles), younger brother of Will. Day 1 winner Stephen Rossendell (Praties) sprinted home in tenth place, picking up the point he needed to hold onto his leader's jersey.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Images by Mal Sawford/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Cycle Sport Victoria
Elite Men 1 Christian Lademann (Ger) Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team 12 pts 2 Hilton Clarke (Vic) Portfolio Partners 10 3 David Kupka (Cze) Volvo Team T5 8 4 Peter McDonald (NSW) FRF Couriers - Caravello 7 5 Trent Wilson (NSW) Grand Mercure on Swanston 6 6 Robbie McEwen (Qld) Volvo Team T5 5 7 Greg Henderson (NZl) Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team 4 8 Dean Windsor (Vic) Werribee Mansion Hotel-NSWIS 3 9 Tony Mann (NSW) FRF Couriers - Caravello 2 10 Will Walker (Vic) Jayco VIS 1 Sprint 1 1 Dean Windsor (Vic) Werribee Mansion Hotel-NSWIS 2 Nick Sanderson (Vic) Volvo Team T5 3 Chris Jongewaard (SA) McKnight's Retravision/Fisher Paykel Sprint 2 1 David Kupka (Cze) Volvo Team T5 2 Trent Wilson (NSW) Grand Mercure on Swanston 3 Hilton Clarke (Vic) Portfolio Partners Sprint 3 1 Trent Wilson (NSW) Grand Mercure on Swanston 2 Hilton Clarke (Vic) Portfolio Partners 3 David Kupka (Cze) Volvo Team T5 Elite Women 1 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco VIS 11 pts 2 Oenone Wood (ACT) Mercure Hotel Welcome 11 3 Hayley Brown (WA) Pitcher Partner 8 4 Belinda Goss (Tas) 7 5 Jennie MacPherson (Vic) Jayco VIS 6 6 Jo Kiesanowski (NZl) Pitcher Partners 5 7 Sally Cowman (Qld) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWIS 4 8 Olivia Gollan (NSW) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWIS 3 9 Marina Duvnjak (NZl) Siemens 2 10 Alex Rhodes (SA) Pitcher Partners 1 Sprint 1 1 Oenone Wood (ACT) Mercure Hotel Welcome 2 Jo Kiesanowski (NZl) Pitcher Partners 3 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco VIS Sprint 2 1 Amanda Spratt (NSW) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWIS 2 Hayley Brown (WA) Pitcher Partners 3 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco VIS Support Race 1 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) 12 pts 2 David Tanner (NSW) 10 3 Angus Morton (Port Macquarie) 8 4 Julian Dutton (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 7 5 Nicholas Walker (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 6 6 Gary Mueller (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 5 7 Fabio Calabria (Canberra Cycling Club) 4 8 Gavin Bates (St George CC) 3 9 Shaun Lewis (SA) 2 10 Stephen Rossendell (Hobart Wheelers) 1 Sprint 1 1 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) 2 Casey Munro (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 3 Angus Morton (Port Macquarie) Sprint 2 1 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) 2 David Tanner (NSW) 3 Steven Robb (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) Overall standings after race 2 Elite Men 1 Hilton Clarke (Vic) Portfolio Partners 20 pts 2 Christian Lademann (Ger) Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team 18 3 Greg Henderson (NZl) Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team 16 4 Peter McDonald (NSW) FRF Couriers - Caravello 12 5 Trent Wilson (NSW) Grand Mercure on Swanston 9 6 Simon Gerrans (Vic) Pitcher Partners 8 7 David Kupka (Cze) Volvo Team T5 8 8 Robbie McEwen (Qld) Volvo Team T5 5 9 Johnny Clark (Vic) Jayco VIS 4 Elite Women 1 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco VI 23 pts 2 Oenone Wood (ACT) Mercure Hotel Welcom 21 3 Jo Kiesanowski (NZl) Pitcher Partner 15 4 Belinda Goss (Tas 14 5 Hayley Brown (WA) Pitcher Partner 12 6 Sally Cowman (Qld) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWI 10 7 Alex Rhodes (SA) Pitcher Partner 6 8 Olivia Gollan (NSW) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWI 6 9 Jennie MacPherson (Vic) Jayco VIS 6 10 Jessie Maclean (ACT) Canberra Capital 2 11 Marina Duvnjak (NZl) Siemen 2 Support Race 1 Stephen Rossendell (Hobart Wheelers) 13 pts 2 Evan Oliphant (Scotland) 12 3 Shaun Lewis (SA) 12 4 Gary Mueller (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 10 5 Angus Morton (Port Macquarie) 8 6 Daniel Braunsteins (Hawthorn Youth Club) 8 7 Julian Dutton (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 7 8 Casey Munro (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 7 9 Nicholas Walker (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 6 10 Dale Scarfe (Central Coast CC) 6 Sprint standings after race 2 Elite Men 1 Greg Henderson (NZl) Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team 9 pts 2 Hilton Clarke (Vic) Portfolio Partners 4 3 Trent Wilson (NSW) Grand Mercure on Swanston 5 4 Simon Gerrans (Vic) Pitcher Partners 5 Elite Women 1 Katie Mactier (Vic) Jayco VIS 7 pts 2 Jo Kiesanowski (NZl) Pitcher Partners 7 3 Amanda Spratt (NSW) Werribee Mansion Hotel / NSWI 3 4 Oenone Wood (ACT) Mercure Hotel Welcome 3 Teams standings after race 2 Elite Men 1 Drapac-Porsche Development Team 34 pts 2 Portfolio Partners 20 3 FRF Couriers - Caravello 14 4 Volvo Team T5 13 5 Skilled 9 6 Grand Mercure on Swanston 9 7 Pitcher Partners 8 8 Jayco VIS 6 9 Werribee Mansion Hotel/NSWIS 3 Elite Women 1 Pitcher Partners 33 pts 2 Jayco VIS 29 3 Mercure Hotel 19 4 Werribee Mansion Hotel/NSWIS 16 5 Volvo Team T5 14 6 Siemens 3 7 Canberra Capitals 2