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Revolution 1 - NE
Melbourne, Australia, November 24, 2007
Stars Shine in the Revolution
By Mal Sawford in Melbourne
Most riders saw the timing of Revolution 1 as an ideal lead in to the first of the track World Cups, with riders from Canada, The Netherlands, Jamaica, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain and the USA making a truly world class field.
Riders were generally complementary towards the format at the end of the night. "That's the way racing is supposed to be" was Ben Kersten's summary. Jamaican trackie Iona Wynter-Parks (Colavita) had only arrived in Australia two days prior and agreed. "For the World Cup, this was definitely the right choice to make. I kind of felt bad out there a bit tonight, but I could feel in the second race it was already getting better."
In a darkened arena, to the words 'track is back', local Melbourne rider Mark French appeared spot lit on the track to the cheers of the crowd of close to 3000. French was followed by Aaron Kemps (Astana), Malaysian star Josiah Ng, 2007 Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Matt Wilson (Unibet.com), Brett Aitken (Savings & Loans), Ben Kersten (NSWIS) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank).
Finally, Meares and Bayley were welcomed onto the track, and after their introductory lap treated the crowd to a reprise of the match race staged at the launch of the Revolution series - on 12 inch wheeled bikes! Meares was given a twenty meter head start, but couldn't hold off the showman Bayley, who took the 'win' with his almost customary wheel stand over the finish line.
Men's Team Elimination
The serious racing kicked off elimination race for the Madison teams. The new format, which saw both riders of a team eliminated if either was the last rider across the line on each alternate lap appeared to confuse some of the riders, and catch others out. Canadian rider Zach Bell was holding third wheel when his partner Martin Gilbert caught at the back very early on, and the pairing of Graeme Brown and Chris Sutton (Cofidis) were also early casualties.
The final four pairs were Travis Meyer and Mitch Docker, Wilson and Hilton Clarke (Navigators), Aitken and David Pell, and Henderson and Roulston. Henderson took the final sprint ahead of Aitken after a strong lead out by Roulston, with the won worth ten points towards their final Madison total. Hendersen was pleased to kick the night off with a win, but wasn't overly confident of taking out the omnium prize at the end of the night, saying "I've got a funny feeling that because we're the only Kiwis in the field things might get a bit tougher for us later on!"
Bayley, Jason Niblett, Kersten, French, Ng and Shane Perkins all won through to the second round of the sprint. Bayley had little trouble holding off the young Victorian rider, but the match up between Kersten and French was much closer. French made up a lot of ground in the final straight, but fell just short. The Perkins/Ng match needed a restart when a trackstand battle unfolded on turn three which exceeded the thirty second maximum currently allowed under UCI rules. Perkins took the win in the restart with a spectacular passing maneuver on the final lap, diving underneath Ng at the 200 meter line as Ng drifted fractionally up the track while he looked over his right shoulder to check Perkins whereabouts.
In the three-up final, Bayley hit out at the bell, but faced a strong challenge from Perkins in the back straight. Perkins led into turn three, but couldn't get a full length clear, and was forced to ride higher on the banking, allowing Bayley to force his wheel back in front as they straightened up for the finish.
"Three up finals are very difficult," he said "we're all pretty evenly matched and we all have own little techniques and secrets. Mine was to get in front and stay in front!"
Goss used her impressive sprint to take the win in the twenty lap race, but didn't have things all her own way. Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS), who last rode her track bike at the 2006 junior world championships, took off with young club mate Lisa Friend (Drapac Porsche) with just under half the race remaining. Friend cracked at three to go, but Mullens fought on and was only picked up with a little over a lap to race when Sky-Lee Armstrong (NSWIS) opened up the sprint. Goss was too good over the final lap however, taking the win ahead of Liz Georgouras and Theresa Cliff-Ryan.
The crowd was denied the chance of seeing the Meares sisters battle it out, with Kerrie unable to compete in Melbourne due a cold picked up at the Oceania track championships in New Zealand, and the field was further weakened by the forced withdrawal of up and coming sprinter Kaarle McCulloch. McCulloch was the unwitting victim of an errant Madison change during the warm up and crashed to the track. Although she wasn't seriously hurt, broken forks and no spares meant she was unable to race at all on the night.
Anna Meares and Hijgenaar faced off in the final after comfortable heat wins, with the Dutch girl opting to set the pace. Meares hung back a little, intending to take a run at Hijgenaar in the back straight but was "a little surprised' she said, "when I went to accelerate nothing really happened!
The pair has been training together for the past month. Hijgenaar was invited to train with the AIS sprint team in Adelaide, which Meares appreciated. "It's been really good having another girl to train with at that elite level. I think she's really enjoyed it too. She's certainly tanned up in the Australian sunshine!"
Men's Motor Paced Scratch
The rapid tempo set by the moto made for a tough race, with Kemps among the first to lose contact. When the bike swung off after 27 laps, Bell surged into the lead, with team-mate Gilbert firmly in tow. The Canadians succeeded in opening a gap on the field, but unfortunately for them, Leigh Howard had tagged onto the move, and powered over the top at the bell and flew home to take the win. Gilbert was swamped before the line, with Graeme Brown second home, ahead of Todd Wilksch (Richmond Cyclery).
The three sprint finalists earned byes into the Keirin final, and were joined by heat winners Azizul Awang (Malaysia), Joel Leonard and French. Perkins picked up the derny's wheel, followed by Leonard and Kersten, with Bayley and French bringing up the rear. When the pacer left the track, Awang tried to repeat the early attack that gave him an easy heat win, but Perkins saw him coming and lifted his tempo to match the Malaysian's as they crossed the line with two laps to race.
When the pace slowed in turn two, Bayley saw a chance and jumped hard, and into the lead, and kept the pace on. In the final lap, Perkins tried again to come off Bayley's wheel, but only succeeded in opening a very narrow door that French managed to squeeze through, but neither rider really made an impression on Bayley as he took his second win of the night.
Bayley looked a little wobbly as he hobbled back to the rollers for a warm down and admitted that the two long sprints had hurt him. "It took a little bit out of me, but I'm riding myself into it. The first few rides tonight were a little bit rough for me, but that last ride, I nailed it. I've blown a few cobwebs out tonight, and it gives me a rough idea what my main competition from Australia is doing - they're all going very well!"
It was more of the same from Mullens in the 30 lap points race. Knowing she lacked the leg speed to sprint with Goss or Georgouras, she counter attacked after the first sprint which was won by Goss and went well clear. Riding smoothly, Mullens was clear to take maximum points at 20 and 15 laps to go before initially Goss and Jessie MacLean crossed the gap. "It was my only option" Mullens admitted. "I didn't think after the first race the girls would let me get away with it but they sat up and I got a gap."
Goss won the next sprint, but trailed Mullens by a point as the bunch reformed. The penultimate sprint went to Armstrong, with both the leaders unplaced, leaving the final double points sprint to decide the winner. Winning the sprint could have given the win to any of Mullens, Goss, Gina Grain (Canada), MacLean or Armstrong. Mullens had counted herself out, saying "I kind of knew there was no way I was going to outsprint Belinda" and indeed it was Goss who took the win and the race, with Cliff-Ryan's second place at the finish enough to give her third overall behind Mullens.
Goss said she had come into the night with an "open mind. We've just been in track camp in Adelaide for the past week, so it's been a pretty solid week, but it looks like the heavy week has paid off." Goss will have a busy schedule in Sydney, slated to ride the points and scratch races, as well as tackling the team's pursuit in its first appearance for women.
Meares turned the tables on her Dutch rival in the Keirin, recording the win after leading from start to finish. "I asked my handler for a slight push, and I realized that no-one was really contending for the bike, I figured that I'd take it. They were obviously feeling as good as I was, so I figured I'd go to the front and make it hard on them." Hijgenaar had Meares' wheel, but the effort of trying to overhaul the determined leader cost her, with both Georgouras and Liz Heap (USA) passing the Dutch rider in the run home.
"I really wanted that win." Remarked a pleased Meares. "It's funny how a defeat can inspire you to try a little harder. Man, I'm really hurting now though!"
Georgouras was the only rider, male or female to tackle both the sprint and endurance events. "I've made the decision to specialize in the scratch race" she said of her punishing schedule on the night. "I'm moving towards being the best sprinter in the scratch race field, so this is all good training. After that last sprint I was still trying to catch my breath on the start line though!"
Men's 100 lap Madison
With both riders on the track for the first twenty laps, and the first sprint not until forty laps down, the field was understandably a little sedate to start with. Roulston livened up proceedings with an attack two laps out from the first sprint, with a well timed change allowing Hendersen to take the first points on offer by a handy margin. Bell immediately launched a counter attack, and with no chase from the bunch, the Canadian pair took a lap on the field before the sprint at the half way mark.
Glen O'Shea attacked soon after that sprint, drawing three other teams: Henderson and Roulston, Travis Meyer and Mitch Docker and the Canadian pair. After half a dozen fast paced laps, Bell and Gilbert dropped of the lead group after running into traffic during a change, and weren't able to stop the margin widening with each subsequent lap, and were eventually picked up by the main bunch.
The three leading teams reached the tail of the bunch to get back on level terms with the Canadians. Both the New Zealanders and Howard and O'Shea had started the Madison with ten points, and with two sprints remaining, both had accumulated 22 more. Howard won the penultimate sprint to break the deadlock, and then stuck like glue to their only direct opponents wheels. Winning the final sprint put the result well and truly beyond doubt, with the teenagers earning a total of 46 points across the three endurance events. Henderson and Roulston finished second with 46 ahead of Meyer and Docker on 22, and Bell and Gilbert on 18.
"I knew Glen had good legs from New Zealand, where he won the omnium, and they'd come good in the Madison. I've just had a week's training camp, so I was hoping my fitness would start to kick in by the end of the night, and it did.
You can't go into a Madison with a plan. Glen and I, we both know how to race, and we make our decisions on the spot. We didn't panic when the Canadians took a lap, or when they chased us, and we had the legs to take a lap back on them."
Ben Sanders (Carnegie Caulfield), a triple gold medalist at the Oceania Championships, was standout male under 18 rider, winning both the 'Double Kilo Dash' and the scratch race. Jamie Crass (Bendigo) took the elimination.
Honours were also shared in the women's under 18's. Carly McCoombe (Bendigo) won the 2000 metre dash, but Shannon McCurley (Latrobe City) was too good in the elimination and scratch races.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Fiona Carnibella
Images by Cameron Wells
Omnium 1 Glen O'Shea/Leigh Howard (Red Island) 62 pts 2 Greg Henderson/Hayden Roulston (Team Brunetti's) 46 3 Travis Meyer/Mitch Docker (San Benedetto) 22 4 Zach Bell/Martin Gilbert (Bicycle Superstore) 18 5 Brett Aitken/David Pell (Investec) 20 6 Graeme Brown/Chris Sutton (NAB) 18 7 James Langedyk/Evan Oliphant (HLB Mann Judd) 14 8 Nick Sanderson/Miles Olman (The Square Group) 10 9 Peter Johnstone/Todd Wilksch (Impact Digital) 6 10 Matthew Wilson/Hilton Clarke (Swanston Hotel) 4 11 Aaron Kemps/Koen de Kort (Bikestyle Tours) 12 Sean Finning/Ryan McKenzie (2XU) Sprint round one - men Heat 1: 1 Ryan Bayley 0.00.10.67 2 Azizul Awang 3 Alvaro Alonso Heat 2: 1 Jason Niblett 0.00.11.67 2 Gary Ryan 3 Thomas Palmer Heat 3: 1 Ben Kersten 0.00.11.10 2 Salvador Melia 3 Scott Sunderland Heat 4: 1 Mark French 0.00.10.92 2 Ruben Donet Heat 5: 1 Josiah Ng 0.00.11.09 2 Hodei Mazquianran 3 Bryon Davies Heat 6: 1 Shane Perkins 0.00.10.88 2 Joel Leonard Scratch race - elite women 1 Belinda Goss 2 Liz Gorgouras 3 Theresa Cliff-Ryan 4 Gina Grain 5 Tess Downing 6 Sky-Lee Armstrong 7 Jessica MacLean 8 Jessica Berry Double kilo dash Men 1 Ben Sanders 2 Jamie Crass 3 Lewis Fulcher 4 Trevor Griffiths 5 Dale Parker 6 Toby Dite 7 Sam Brett 8 Maddison Hammond 9 Aaron Box Women 1 Carly McCoombe 2 Netasha Pearse 3 Veronica Dudderidge 4 Shannon McCurley 5 Chloe McIntosh 6 Kendelle Hodges 7 Laine Hammond 8 Maelle Howarth Sprint round one - women Heat 1: 1 Anna Meares 0.00.12.47 2 Josephine Butler Heat 2: 1 Yvonne Hijgenaar 0.00.12.41 2 Liz Georgours 3 Liz Reap Sprint round two - men Heat 1: 1 Ryan Bayley 0.00.10.70 2 Jason Niblett Heat 2: 1 Ben Kersten 0.00.11.09 2 Mark French HEAT 3: 1 Shane Perkins 2 Josiah Ng Future stars elimination Men 1 Jamie Crass 2 Luke Ockerby 3 Trevor Griffiths 4 Toby Dite Women 1 Shannon McCoombe 2 Carly McCoombe 3 Kendelle Hodges 4 Laine Hammond Sprint final - women 1 Yvonne Hijgenaar 0.00.12.23 2 Anna Meares Keirin - Men Heat 1: 1 Azizul Awang 0.00.11.59 2 Jason Niblett 3 Salvador Melia 4 Gary Ryan Heat 2: 1 Joel Leonard 0.00.11.22 2 Alvaro Alonso 3 Byron Davies 4 Josiah Ng 5 Thomas Palmer Heat 3: 1 Mark French 0.00.10.88 2 Scott Sunderland 3 Ruben Donet 4 Hodei Mazquianran Sprint final - men 1 Ryan Bayley 0.00.10.71 2 Shane Perkins 3 Ben Kersten Points race - women 1 Belinda Goss 23 pts 2 Peta Mullens 14 3 Theresa Cliff-Ryan 9 4 Gina Grain 9 5 Iona Wynter-Parks 5 6 Sky-Lee Armstrong 5 7 Jessie Maclean 4 8 Jessica Berry 3 9 Tess Downing 3 10 Lisa Friend 2 Future stars - scratch race Men 1 Ben Sanders 2 Jamie Crass 3 Trevor Griffiths 4 Luke Ockerby Women 1 Shannon McCurley 2 Carly McCoombe 3 Kendelle Hodges 4 Netasha Pearse 5 Laine Hammond Keiren final Women 1 Anna Meares 0.00.12.14 2 Liz Georgouras 3 Liz Reap 4 Yvonne Hijgenaar 5 Josephine Butler Men 1 Ryan Bayley 0.00.10.65 2 Mark French 3 Shane Perkins 4 Azizul Awang