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Australian Junior and Teams Road Championships - NE
Sunshine Coast, Australia, September 2-September 10, 2006
Race 9 - September 10: Teams Road Championships Criterium
Still the Mann
Hometown hero wins national teams criterium championship
By John Michael Flynn in Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
Consistently one of the strongest riders on the Australian road scene, hometown boy Tony Mann proved once again what he's capable of, with an inspiring breakaway victory in the criterium at the Australian Teams Cycling Championships on the Sunshine Coast today.
Racing in front of parochial crowd on the Mooloolaba Esplanade, literally around the corner from his sponsor's bike shop, the Spin City Scott team leader used his local knowledge to great advantage on a hot-dog course, where it helps to know the corners intimately.
The performance was vintage Mann, breaking away at the ten minute mark and lifting the wattage, with valuable help coming from Drapac Porsche's Stuart Shaw, who was chasing the overall teams victory.
"Ride away from the front, being a time trialler it always works out well, it's a lot easier doing that than waiting in the bunch," Mann told Cyclingnews of his race tactics.
"I'd rather drive it hard for forty minutes and I like going out the front because you don't have to brake all the time."
On a day of racing punctuated by numerous pedal scraping crashes on the technical hairpin bends, Mann's decision to go off the front paid dividends. Several times the chase group appeared to be closing the gap, only to be slowed down when riders hit the deck and the rhythm was interrupted.
Still, the main bunch might not have had to take risks, but for the pressure applied by Mann and Shaw, who worked extremely effectively together on the day.
"Yeah it was good to get out there with Tony and pull good turns," an ecstatic Stuart Shaw said when it was all over. We tried to ride pretty honestly together, I was out there to win the overall for Drapac.
"Big weekend for Drapac ,two wins , a second and the victory overall, you can't get better than that."
Shaw, too, had inside knowledge of the Mooloolaba beachfront course, after racing on the Sunshine Coast earlier this year. The lesson learned being to hit the front and stay there, if at all possible.
"Once we established the break I was pretty confident it was going to stay out there," said Shaw.
Mann, too, grew in confidence with each lap. The lead hovered around the fifteen second mark for much of the (one hour, plus five lap) race and with the chasers unable to get organised, that was how it stayed.
"Stu, he's an awesome guy, so much power, and just to have him ride with me was great," Mann said. "Two strong guys and you just can't catch us."
It wasn't for the want of trying!
With the chase pack withered down to nine riders, including three Victorian Institute of Sport cyclists and two members of the FRF Couriers team, surprising it was Team Triple Play's David Betts who seemed to be taking the longest turns out front.
"Yeah I did, I just couldn't get anybody to give me a decent hand for long enough," a frustrated Betts said at race end. I almost got em (the breakaway), but I had a crash and lost the rhythm."
Mann eventually took the sprint finish without a major challenge from Shaw, who slowed coming out of the last corner due to a perishing tyre.
Mann's victory dedicated to a close friend. "Today I did it for a mate of mine who died of cancer a couple of months ago," Mann said. "I blew my doors off to win it for him today."
A lunge by Dean Windsor to take the bunch kick gave Melbourne's Drapac team second and third place on the day and top place overall in the inaugural Australian Teams Championship ahead of the Victorian Institute of Sport and FRF Couriers Excelpro.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Gareth Coco/www.stand2surf.net/gallery/2006/aust_road
1 Tony Mann (Scott Spin City) 2 Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche) 3 Dean Windsor (Drapac Porsche) 4 Joshua Marden (Frf Couriers) 5 Patrick Shaw (Victorian Institute Of Sport) 6 Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche) 7 Gilbert Gutowski (Merida) 8 Johnnie Walker (Victorian Institute Of Sport) 9 Peter McDonald (Frf Couriers) 10 David Betts (Tripleplay Glen Corp) 11 Nicholas Sanderson (Victorian Institute Of Sport) DNF Andrew Grady (Balmoral Cycling Club) DNF Tim Grover (Balmoral Cycling Club) DNF Jim Heaslop (Balmoral Cycling Club) DNF Zakkari Dempster (Drapac Porsche) DNF Mitchell Docker (Drapac Porsche) DNF Robert Cater (Frf Couriers) DNF Peter Herzig (Frf Couriers) DNF Joe McDonnell (Frf Couriers) DNF Jeremy Betts (Merida) DNF Kurt Dutton (Merida) DNF Brendan O'Connell (Merida) DNF Christoper Williams (Merida) DNF Jai Crawford (Praties) DNF Daniel Furmston (Praties) DNF Andrew Hanigan (Praties) DNF Jarrod Harman (Praties) DNF Richie Porte (Praties) DNF Christopher Wilding (Praties) DNF Benjamin Holland (Scott Spin City) DNF Leighton Jefferson (Scott Spin City) DNF Dominic Osborne (Scott Spin City) DNF Stuart Cowin (Tripleplay Glen Corp) DNF Steven George (Tripleplay Glen Corp) DNF Victor Costa (Victor Broncos) DNF Mark Hastie (Victor Broncos) DNF Chris Kelly (Victor Broncos) DNF Rodney Sparrow (Victor Broncos) DNF Ken Woods (Victor Broncos) DNF Casey Munro (Victorian Institute Of Sport) DNF Mark O'Brien (Victorian Institute Of Sport) DNF David Pell (Victorian Institute Of Sport) DNF Peter Thompson (Triple Play Ophans)