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Melbourne Cup on Wheels - NE
Melbourne, Australia, November 25, 2006
17 year-old records breakthrough win
By Mal Sawford in Melbourne
For the second year in succession, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels will be taken home to Geelong after exciting junior James Langedyk followed the lead set by training partner and 2005 winner Leigh Howard.
Although a dominant winner in his heat against tough opposition, Langedyk revealed he had never been confident of success in the final. "I didn't know how I'd recover, and once it got going I got stuck down the bottom of the track when it was four wide; there were four guys above me, and it was a real struggle to get out for a while there."
His immediate goals are clear. "I haven't won a national title - yet! I'm hoping to this year" Langedyk has collected medals as part of the Victorian team's pursuit team, but it is an individual title he craves. "I'm aiming for individual pursuit at the Nationals."
The traditional MCOW carnival was run in conjunction with the Oceania Track Cycling Championships, with the finals of the men's keirin and women's sprint and individual pursuit held in front of the appreciative crowd.
How it unfolded
Just over 100 riders tackled the 2000 metre main event, with the top four from each of the five heats progressing to the final. Back markers were in short supply, with only defending champion Leigh Howard and Tasmanian star Stephen Rossendell riding from the Scratch mark.
Both rode in the final heat, and combined well with Jeol Leonard (15m) to reach the lead group, but had no answer when Langedyk shot from the pack at the bell to win the heat by more than five lengths. Leonard managed third across the line to be the best credentialed rider to qualify for the final.
The other rider to impress in the heats was South Australian Jack Bobridge (70m), who cruised through the pack at three to go in the third heat and powered clear to a twenty metre advantage. On the final lap, Thomas Palmer (80m), another of the youngsters from South Australia, sprinted clear of the chasers to reach Bobridge's hip, but Bobridge had enough in reserve to take the heat win.
The other heat winners were debutante Peter Walker (195m), Stuart Vaughan (185) and Brendan Schulz (110), with the all the finalists bar Leonard spaced very closely around the track with handicaps between 70 and 200 metres.
As expected, Leonard found the 45 metre deficit to Bobridge insurmountable, but gave the chase everything. When the big ‘kilo' specialist blew at half distance he had closed to within five lengths of the bunch, which was being dragged along by hard working outmarkers Clint McDonnell (200m) and Vaughan.
When McDonnell finally tired nearing the bell, Langedyk made his way through the heavy traffic and in a near re-run of his heat win, launched off the front just shy of a lap from home to win by an impressive margin from Jarrod Moroni (120m) and Rohan McCaig (150m).
Langedyk, like many of the up and coming juniors in the field, raced in the Australian colours earned through selection in the Oceania championships. His win was all the more impressive given that he had finished the gruelling 10 kilometre Oceania junior men's scratch race only five minutes prior to the wheelrace final!
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Any McCann
Images by Gary Newvine
Final 1 James Langedyk (100) 2.05.574 2 Jarrod Moroni (120) 3 Rohan Mccaig (150) Heat 1 1 Peter Walker (70) 2.04.700 2 Neil Campbell (125) 3 Rohan Mccaig (150) 4 Michael Vogt (190) Heat 2 1 Stuart Vaughan (185) 2.07.518 2 Clint Mcdonnell (200) 3 Darren Rodgers (110) 4 Scott Townsend (170) Heat 3 1 Jack Bobridge (70) 2.08.589 2 Thomas Palmer (80) 3 Eddie Wilson (210) 4 Craig Robertson (160) Heat 4 1 Brendan Schulz (110) 2.07.251 2 Brett Perez (160) 3 Jarrod Moroni (120) 4 Sean Pontelandolfo (115) Heat 5 1 James Langedyk (100) 2.08.270 2 Steven Sansonetti (90) 3 Joel Leonard (15)