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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Glenvale Crescent, Mulgrave, November 3, 2002
Wilksch takes A Grade; no quarter in other classes
By Mal Sawford
It promised to be a day for the sprinters, with the mountainous two-day Tour of Bright attracting the better climbers. A better than forecasted morning greeted today's competitors, although a strong and cold westerly wind and the threat of rain was a good omen for the strong men.
D Grade was dominated by Stuart Birnie, who powered away alone early on and never looked like slowing. Not only did he lap the D grade bunch, he flew straight past and even took time out of the C Grade bunch on the circuit at the same time! Definitely C Grade for Stuart next time round!
Despite an awesome leadout from cycling's clown price, Jack Dovaston, Under 13 rider Peter Johnstone was run down on the long finishing straight, and the bunch kick for second went to Gary Cairnduff from Ken Stewart and first time rider Chris Jobson. Eliza Beasley took out the Women's division narrowly from Gemma Goyne.
No success for the breakaways in C Grade, with the bunch quick to pounce on any who tried to escape. Kirsty Bortolin (The Freedom Machine) lead out of the final corner, and kicked again as riders looked like swarming past, and rode strongly to the line to hold off all except Mark Wallace and Danny Weatherley. Rich Cormick sprinted into 4th place, with Cheryl Hickman next best of the women finishers.
A 4 man break with 15 minutes remaining looked set to claim all the prize money in B Grade, but junior rider Mitchell Docker (Giramondo) wasn't happy with the 1 in 4 odds and attacked the break with only Jamie Nicholson able to follow. The pair stayed away to finish in that order, while the bunch swept up the other two breakaway riders.
In the bunch sprint to the line Mauro Restrepo turned on the speed to claim 3rd place ahead of David Eadie (BikeNOW).
A Grade saw the traditional early breakaway effort from Flyin' Ryan Kelly (Terry Hammond Cycles). Next to go was Leigh De Luca with Ray Turner (Diamond Back/Park Tools). When De Luca's training partner Todd Wilksch (Fitzroy Cycles) bridged with hardman Dean Johnstone and a struggling author at the 15 minute mark the numbers were there to hold off all but a very determined chase from the bunch.
The chase did not eventuate, and a long bridging effort from O'Mara Cycles pair Warren Knevitt and Shane Mills saw them the final riders to make the selection. With 10 minutes to go Wilksch put in a few big turns and thinned out the lead group a little, allowing the author to withdraw at the bell (in order to watch the final sprint of course!).
Wilksch took out the win narrowly, with a great throw getting De Luca the judges' nod for second ahead of the unlucky Knevitt, and Turner rounding out the podium.
Carnegie Caulfield Criteriums continue Tuesday nights at the Springvale Necropolis (Melways Map 80 G6: 6pm entry for race starts for all grades at 6.30), and Sunday mornings at this venue (Melways Map 80B2: 9am start C & D Grades, 10am A & B Grades). All holders of current Cycling Australia licenses are welcome (don't forget to bring your license or receipt!) and non-members can have a go by taking out a three-race license for $39, deductible from your full membership if you decide to continue racing.
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 31 starters 1 Todd Wilksch (Horsham CC) 2 Leigh De Luca (Noble Park Dandenong CC) 3 Warren Knevitt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Ray Turner (Footscray CC) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 28 Starters 1 Mitchell Docker (Brunswick CC) 2 Jamie Nicholson (Chelsea & Peninsula CC) 3 Mauro Restrepo (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 David Eadie (Carnegie Caulfield CC) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 22 starters 1 Mark Wallace (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Danny Weatherley (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn CC) 4 Richard Cormick (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women: Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 21 starters 1 Stuart Birnie (Blackburn CC) 2 Gary Cairnduff (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 Ken Stewart (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Chris Jobson (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Unplaced Women: Eliza Beasley (St Kilda CC)