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6th Courier Mail Noosa International Criterium - NE
Australia, November 2, 2002
White takes top honours in Noosa
By Sharon Payne
US Postal rider, Matt White (28) from Sydney had his first win in three years in a star-studded field at the Noosa International Criterium on Saturday. Second place went to another European-based professional Allan Davis in a breakaway with White. The two set up their final placings in the last 10 minutes of the 45 minute criterium. The field split into three main groups which disadvantaged the Tour de France sprint king, Robbie McEwen. McEwen who just three weeks ago finished second in the World Road Championships failed to pick up a place.
It was the first time in the five year history of the race that a breakaway had been successful. The race shaped up differently from the start when attacks came from Hayman, Betts, and Davis splitting the field up into three main groups. It was not until the final minutes that it became clear that McEwen's group was not going to get him up to contest the sprint.
"I felt pretty good but always in these types of criteriums you're better to ride at the front," said White. "I don't get many opportunities to ride for myself so it's good to have a win back here."
Matt has spent two years with Lance Armstrong's US Postal and is hopeful of a Tour ride next year. "I haven't had a personal win for so long but it's my job to work for other riders. Our team is third in the world," explained White.
Brisbane-based 22 year old, David Betts took third place just eight seconds off the leaders. Betts has been racing in Belgium for the past six months with Team Down Under. Racing in Europe has paid off for the under 23 rider who turned out one of the strongest rides of the day.
Henk Vogels (Mercury) was the unluckiest rider after having mechanical problems mid-race and losing contact with the front group. Vogels who is fresh off a win in the final stage of the Herald Sun Tour was undoubtedly the fittest in the field of fifty riders.
Cadel Evans rode his last race in his Mapei team colours before joining Germany's Team Telekom next year. Cadel found himself in the third group with McEwen, but just failed to bring his bunch up to the second group despite riding the last five laps on the front.
Images by Delly Carr
1 Matt White (Aus) US Postal 2 Allan Davis (Aus) ONCE 3 David Betts (Aus) Team Down Under 4 Henk Vogels (Aus) Mercury 5 Craig Cahill (Aus) Lite Bar/Burke's Bikes 6 Mat Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 7 Ashley Hutchinson (Aus) AIS 8 Ben Litchfield (Aus) Planet Cycles 9 Jon Cantwell (Aus) AIS 10 Lee Palmer (Aus) Flight Centre
2001 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Domo-Farm Frites 2000 Scott Sunderland (Aus) Palmans 1999 Marcel Wüst (Ger) 1998 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) 1997 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com