Results and Reports for February 2 - 3, 2002


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St Kilda Cycling Club Criterium

Port Melbourne, February 3, 2002

Coultas and Reinehr Break Through

Anyone hoping that February would bring some long overdue summer weather was surely disappointed with what mother nature turned on for competitors at the Port Melbourne criterium course on Sunday.

Potentially outstanding conditions quickly deteriorated as the overcast day grew colder and windier by the minute. It's been a long time since spectators have watched competitors warming up for up to 45 minutes in full length arm and leg warmers before a summer crit race!

The head wind that welcomed riders into the long home straight of the course made breakaways nearly impossible and perhaps not unpredictably, all grades culminated in bunch sprint finishes on the day. Racing got underway with the open women who shared the course with the C/D grade men.

The women's field remained as one for only three laps of the course as early attacks from Sam Lindsay and Louisa Hamilton-White quickly splintered the field. The two escaped with Alex Reinehr before being reeled in by Sarah Starr. Punctures to Daniela Kirchlinde and at least one other competitor made it even tougher for the chasers. In the end, the three riders who were responsible for controlling the race in its entirety fought out the finish with the explosive Reinehr taking out a close victory ahead of Lindsay and Hamilton-White.

The D grade men managed to maintain a steady pace throughout the race and in spite of strong front riding from a number of riders (most notably John Grant), the field stayed together for the most part. In the end, an early sprint from third placegetter Trevor Smith was not enough to take out the finish as he was overrun with less than 100m to ride by both John Grant and eventual winner, Murray Hyde. Hyde flashed all over the road in his effort to reach the line first but clearly had the legs over his nearest rival Grant who (at close to twice the size of the much smaller Hyde) could not find a way around.

A very large field of C grade competitors made getting away impossible as countless attacks were reeled in with monotonous regularity by a peleton that worked extremely well together. Matt Johnson in particular made a number of attempts to leave the rest behind that unfortunately amounted to nothing with his hard work providing no reward. The bunch was destined to fight out the result in a last lap frenzy and in the end, it was Luke Stork who overcame Robert Cutting and David Wilkinson.

A and B grade men then shared the course. It was a similar story in B grade to that of the C grade race as attack after attack was pulled in by a large and hard chasing peleton. That didn't stop visiting Irish duo (Finton McCormack and his racing partner) from mounting numerous bursts in a combined effort to maximise their chances of securing some serious prize money. Alas, there was to be no luck for the Irish and the best they could manage was second place (and some handy cash for the week's groceries) to the tiring McCormack. Darren Curry eventually took out the race ahead of McCormack and Leon Melven. Hopefully, a more tactically astute race from some of the local riders next week will result in an even more competitive and exciting race.

No team tactics this week in A grade, just hard and close racing. There is no doubt that some riders would have been disappointed with the results of their attacking efforts as the fast pace ensured that the bunch was ultimately held together for the duration of the race. Nearly all riders made an attempt to escape the clutches of other competitors with John Madden, Nathan D'Arcy, Alex James, Aaron Barbetti, Jeremy Dunning and Daniel Nelms (amongst numerous others) all making failed attempts at breakaways.

Amongst those who were in no small part responsible for bridging the gaps was eventual winner Dave Coultas whose huge calves were in no small part responsible for brining the bunch back together on numerous occasions. In the finish, Coultas proved too strong for Mark Howard and Alex James in a very close finish that saw almost a blanket finish for the top ten riders.

Next Week's race, the third in the SKCC Scapin Series, is certain to be another hotly contested affair.


Open Women
1 Alex Reinehr
2 Samantha Lindsay
3 Louisa Hamilton-White
A Grade
1 David Coultas
2 Mark Howard
3 Alex James
B Grade
1 Darren Curry
2 Finton McCormack
3 Leon Melven
C Grade
1 Luke Stork
2 Robert Cutting
3 David Wilkinson
D Grade
1 Murray Hyde
2 John Grant
3 Trevor Smith

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