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Australian Madison Championships - NE
Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2005
Youth over experience as Sutton & Pascoe take win & title
By Mal Sawford in Melbourne
Young New South Wales Institute of Sport pair Chris 'CJ' Sutton and Chris Pascoe upstaged some of the more experienced teams to win the 2005 Australian Madison Championships.
Pre-race favourite status seemed divided between the Queensland Academy of Sport pairing of world championship team pursuit gold medalist Ashley Hutchinson and reigning junior world Madison champion Miles Olman; the NSWIS pair; and the Tasmanian combination of Darren Young and Olman's junior world's partner Matt Goss, riding as the Vodafone team.
Each team tipped the others as the main dangers, but admitted the top class field contained many threats, including the Victorian Institute of Sport team of Sean Finning (who claimed the Australian title in 2004 with a second place finish behind the winning German team) and Richard England, and the Locker Group pairing of Olympic team pursuit gold medalist Stephen Wooldridge and Tim Decker.
How it unfolded
Facing 50 kilometres - two hundred dizzying laps of the 250 metre board track at Vodafone Arena - the opening laps saw a misunderstanding of the event rules almost catch a number of the thirteen teams out. In the classic Madison format, only one rider from each team starts the race, with their partners waiting in the back straight for the first hand sling.
The Australian Championships deviates from the UCI standard by requiring both riders to complete the first ten laps - and eight riders dropped off the back of the bunch to set up for a change, before realising their error and mounting a frantic chase. Fortunately, five laps later the bunch was intact and the race began in earnest.
Pascoe and Sutton started the race with a bang, taking out the first sprint after Sutton countered an attack by England, and the second with a strong effort from the front. The Tasmanians on the other hand got off to a shaky start with an aborted first change, when Goss lost traction coming into the home straight and did well to avoid a fall.
The early high pace had a couple of the teams in trouble, but the first big attack came from Finning shortly after the first fifty laps had been covered. Nic Sanderson (Australian Abalone Exports) tried to cover the move, but only succeeded in towing the bunch back up, allowing Mitchell Docker (Drapac Properties - Porsche) to counter attack and sling Matt Rex in to claim the third sprint.
The pace finally eased off with seventy laps completed, and once again Sutton showed himself to be the fastest rider on the track, with another good sprint to hold off a determined charge from Young. The Tasmanian had a close call in the dash to the line, narrowly avoiding rear ending one of the Drapac boys, who was waiting to change back into the race.
Simon Clarke (Australian Abalone Exports) took the sprint at the half way mark, storming past Rex in the straight. The first twenty-five kilometres were covered in a fraction under thirty minutes (over 50km/h); Sutton and Pascoe had amassed 17 points, and held a comfortable lead over Young and Goss on 9, while the strong teams from the VIS and QAS were well down the leader board.
Finning cut loose in the second half of the race, repeatedly attacking and forcing the NSWIS team to chase. When Pascoe showed signs of tiring, Hutchinson threw in some big turns, and the US pairing of Mike Friedman and Josh Kerkhof (Jefferson Ford) also started to go on the offensive.
Friedman took the points at 80 laps to go, and his efforts split the bunch, with the race leaders caught out of position in the second group. Finning immediately attacked again, but after some assistance from the Fitzpatrick brothers (riding for Delaware North), Sutton was up to the challenge, pulling himself back into contention.
The second US pair of Gui Nelessen and Bobby Lea (Mercure Grand Hotel on Swanston) attacked to win the sprint with 60 laps remaining, but as the bunch regrouped Olman counter-attacked, with Finning in pursuit. The NSWIS boys were ready, as was Kerkhof, and when Clarke bridged it made five strong teams fifty metres clear. Young and Goss had closed to within four points of the race lead, but disastrously missed the crucial split.
The Tasmanians had no help in the chase, and the leaders took full advantage. Finning took the points ahead of Pascoe at 40 laps to go, just before the break took a lap on the field. With 22 points, Sutton and Pascoe were 10 points clear of the new second-placed team, Sanderson and Clarke - with a maximum of ten points available in the final two sprints.
Sutton put the result beyond doubt with a win in the penultimate sprint, while Clarke's second place did the same for their silver medal. The bronze medal was still up for grabs, with Finning and England only two points ahead of Friedman and Kerkhof.
Finning clinched third with a bold attack at two laps to go, after it seemed it would come down to a battle of the lead out trains - fellow Victorian Clarke towed Finning into position, while Nelessen did likewise for country man Friedman; before Finning took matters into his own hands.
Sutton and Pascoe were elated with their win, which they appeared to control from the opening sprint. Sutton saw it a little differently, saying "You never really set up a race that early. I mean, that's the way we ride, go out and win sprints then and then try to hold on. It wasn't an easy race, it was pretty fast. Ashley Hutchinson and Miles Olman were one of the strong teams, and Sean Finning and Richard England were always going to be a threat. As you could see Finning was probably one of the strongest bike riders on the track, so it didn't come easy, we had to work hard, but it paid off. It's always good to wear the green and gold, I'll do whatever it takes to wear it!"
Sutton finally felt he could relax, "after I won that last sprint, the second last sprint of the night I was just over the moon, I knew we had it won, but you can't get too excited! I told him (Pascoe) to stay up the front and stay out of trouble. The race isn't over until you cross the line on the last lap."
When asked if they were worried when they found themselves in a chase group midway through the race, Pascoe admitted, "People say it's a team's race, but I owe it all to CJ. He carried me through the middle of the race, I sort of died a bit but I tried my hardest and rode through it and came good for the end."
Sutton was also appreciative of the efforts of the other NSW riders in the bunch. Gary Sutton's NSWIS teams have a reputation of combining well, and taking great pleasure in putting one over Victorian teams at any opportunity. "Peter Fitzpatrick and Stephen Fitzpatrick - what can I say. Back home they're just the kings of the Madison, the Hurstville Oval Kings they're called - undefeated in the Madison there. They gave us a hand, they done a great job, and even Stephen Wooldridge, can't leave him out, and Warren Scott, he done a bit, it's not just us - it's the other four boys as well."
Australian endurance coach Ian Mackenzie was on hand to watch the race, which Sutton and Pascoe hope will put them in serious contention for a berth at the world championships. "We both rode a pretty good bike race and I hope he can see that. We feel that we should be there, and if we've earned our spot then so be it. I love representing Australia, it's unbelievable."
The gold medalists now head to the Australian Track Championships in Adelaide next week, where Pascoe will contest the points race and both individual and team pursuits, while Sutton will race the team pursuit and points race.
Sutton's win continued a run of fantastic form, after taking the under 23 Australian road title a fortnight earlier. More good news for the 20 year old who is in the process of negotiating a contract with the French Cofidis team, which he hopes to finalise early next week. Sutton, who has been part of Brad McGee's Australian-based FDJeux development squad, trained with Cofidis Australian riders Stuart O'Grady and Matt White over Christmas, and both have put in a good word for him, so it seems that he will be headed for the roads of France very soon.
The two American teams proved popular with the big crowd. All are team pursuit specialists with little experience in the Madison, and race for the North Western Mortgage Team. Trained by Cyclingnews diarist Jame Carney, they have been based in Launceston over the Australian summer and rode the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals in preparation for the Sydney World Cup. There they are aiming to ride a 4'17"; to convince USA Cycling, who provide no funding, that they are worth supporting for this year's world championships, with a view to Olympic glory in 2008.
Despite narrowly missing the bronze medal in their first Madison together, Friedman acknowledged they had done it hard. "We were in the back the first half, and I was thinking to myself 'this is not going to work out. We're riding really dangerously, and I don't feel comfortable'. Our exchanges were not good at all, we were all over the place, but we're pretty good recovery riders! Overall, it's been a wonderful experience. It's electrifying being here in front of a crowd like this, and in facilities like this - we don't have anything like this in the States. It's an honour."
The Madison riders warmed up for the main event with an elimination race and a keirin. While a few chose to 'leave something in the tank', both races were part of the STAR National Track Cycling Series which provided a national ranking system for Australian track cyclists, and were very well contested.
Hutchinson came up trumps in the elimination, his brute strength from the front wearing down all the faster riders. Local star Tommy Nankervis scraped into the keirin final, qualifying only after the relegation of Peter Fitzpatrick, but rode much more convincingly in the final. He powered to the lead at the bell, and held off a late charge from Steve Fitzpatrick to claim the win.
The small women's field was dominated by Hannah Bush, who took out both the motorpace and keirin events in similar fashion; leading out both sprints so strongly that none of the other women could come off her wheel.
Ten of the most promising Victorian juniors contested a motorpace and elimination. Honours were evenly shared, with Trevor Griffiths the only rider to place in both races, and winning the ten lap motorpace. Leigh Howard normally dominates junior racing, and despite missing out behind the derny, lived up to expectations with a ruthless display in the elimination.
Ricky Peoples attacked on the opening lap, and opened a handy lead. Howard was content to pick off the riders in the bunch one by one, before seemingly effortlessly closing the gap to Peoples on the final lap and leaving him for dead.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/www.VeloPhoto.net
Delaware North Companies Australian Madison Championships 1 Chris Sutton/Chris Pascoe (NSWIS) 29 2 Nic Sanderson/Simon Clarke (Australian Abalone Exports) 17 3 Sean Finning/Richard England (VIS) 14 4 Mike Friedman/Josh Kerkhof (Jefferson Ford) 10 5 Ashley Hutchinson/Miles Olman (QAS) 6 One lap behind 6 Darren Young/Matthew Goss (Vodafone) 15 7 Mitchell Docker/Matthew Rex (Drapac Property - Porsche) 8 8 Stephen Wooldridge/Tim Decker (The Locker Group) 4 9 Steve Fitzpatrick/Peter Fitzpatrick (Delaware North) 2 10 Warren Scott/David Pell (Vero Insurance) The Locker Group Sprint Derby 1 Bobby Lea (USA) 2 Jeremy Mclay (Chelsea & Peninsula) 3 Mark Neiwand (Northcote) Eva's Caulfield Florist B Grade Scratch 1 Mark Howard (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Dean Stewart (Northcote) 3 Brett Fisher (Bendigo) 4 Chris Hunt (Warragul) Drapac Property - Porsche A Grade Scratch Race 1 Jeremy Mclay (Chelsea & Peninsula) 2 Alexander James (Brunswick) 3 Laurie Noonan (Brunswick) 4 Warren Scott (NSW) Australian Abalone Exports Aces Elimination 1 Ashley Hutchinson (Qld) 2 Peter Fitzpatrick (NSW) 3 Nic Sanderson (Ararat) 4 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield) John Beasley Cycles Invitational M17 Motorpace 1 Trevor Griffiths (Shepparton) 2 Matthew Wood (Horsham) 3 Luke Gooley (Shepparton) 4 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula) Fortress Exrended Automotive Warranties Women's Motorpace 1 Hannah Bush (Shepparton) 2 Briana James (St Kilda) 3 Livia Gluchowska (Carnegie Caulfield) 4 Louise Bourke (Blackburn) Jefferson Ford Flying Lap Record Attempt 1 Jeremy Mclay (Chelsea & Peninsula) 13.849 (64.987Kmh) 2 Bobby Lea (USA) 13.980 (64.378Kmh) Note: Track Record Held By Jobie Dajka At 12.77 John Beasley Cycles Invitational M17 Elimination 1 Leigh Howard (Geelong West) 2 Ricky Peoples (Shepparton) 3 Michael Downing (Carnegie Caulfield) 4 Trevor Griffiths (Shepparton) Vodafone Keirin Series Aces Keirin Heat 1 1 Mike Friedman (USA) 2 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Nic Sanderson (Ararat) Heat 2 1 Chris Sutton (NSW) 2 Steve Fitzpatrick (NSW) 3 Luke Medhurst (Brunswick) Heat 3 1 Sean Finning (Castlemaine) 2 Bobby Lea (USA) 3 Richard England (Blackburn) Heat 4 1 Stephen Wooldridge (NSW) 2 Tommy Nankervis (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Josh Kerkhof (USA) Jefferson Ford B Grade Elimination 1 Dean Stewart (Northcote) 2 Brett Fisher (Bendigo) 3 Chris Hunt (Warragul) 4 Mark Howard (Carnegie Caulfield) Drapac Property - Porsche A Grade Elimination 1 Warren Scott (NSW) 2 Adrian Salter (Footscray) 3 Steve Martin (Blackburn) 4 Andrew Stewart (Coburg) Reuters Women's Keirin 1 Hannah Bush (Shepparton) 2 Livia Gluchowska (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Briana James (St Kilda) 4 Roz Bradley (Castlemaine) Vodafone Keirin Series Aces Keirin Final 1 Tommy Nankervis (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Steve Fitzpatrick (NSW) 3 Mike Friedman (USA) 4 Chris Sutton (NSW)