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Australian Road Cycling Championships - NE
Sunshine Coast, Australia, September 3-12, 2004
Day 9 - September 11: Road races: Women Sport 19+, U19 & Elite, Men Sport 19+, U19, U23 & Elite, 39-169km
D-Day in Yandina
By Anthony Tan in Yandina
The queen day of the 2004 National Road Cycling Championships did not disappoint: each of the five championship winners won their share of gold on offer through one or combination of strength, teamwork and cunning. On a gorgeous spring day in Yandina, the tough-as-nails road circuit brought out the best in all. And the most eagerly anticipated races - the under 23 men and elite men and women - drew good, knowledgeable crowds, and deserving, likeable winners.
An unforgiving 13 kilometre circuit, the Yandina course is renowned for seeking truly worthy national champions. A combination of extreme dry heat, two short but steep climbs in close succession, both on dead roads, and the convergence of the nation's best riders, all fighting for the honour of national road champion, make this a parcours not for the faint-hearted.
Exiting the start/finish in Railway Street, riders head south for 300 metres along Conn Street then left onto Fleming Street, before sweeping round an off-camber corner to head north, making another left into School Road and then chucking a right on to Ninderry Road.
Continuing east until km 3, riders make a left-hand turn into Fairhill Road, where the first climb of 350 metres at an average gradient of 7% awaits. After an all-too-brief respite of no more than 100 metres, riders turn hard right to tackle the day's principal difficulty at the 4km mark: a 400 metre, 13% climb up Old Coach Road. With mouths wide open and gasping for air, riders still need to be on their toes; a steep, tricky, narrow descent down Fairhill Road follows before a gradual 700 metres of uphill, taking them to the six kilometre mark.
Here, riders veer left on to the slightly undulating Yandina Creek Road, heading in a westerly direction to km 7.5, before another left sees the riders go south for five clicks along bumpy Bunya Road. 500 metres before the start/finish, riders turn hard-left, encountering a slight chicane that leads them back to the 350 metre-long, hotmix-lined finishing straight in Railway Street.
Early bird Armstrong gets the win
With a start time of 7.30am, the under 19 women needed to be well awake to tackle the first event of the day, and it was Parramatta CC's Skye-Lee Armstrong who took first blood in Yandina in the under 19 women's road race. Recently returned from the junior track world championships where she took bronze in the keirin, Armstrong fought off numerous attacks from the climbers over the four laps, then used her track craft and pure speed to take a clear win over Joanna Von Berry (Broncos) and Genna Crean (Noarlunga South Coast CC).
"I'm not a hill climber so I just decided to sit in the bunch going up the hills," said Armstrong to Cyclingnews about her strategy going into the race.
"I just came back from the Track World's; going from that straight to the road, I first thought, too far. I didn't have the road miles in the legs, so I said to myself, 'Just hang in there the first two laps'; I thought I might drop off the third or fourth lap, but I dug deep and hold on.
Not surprisingly, Armstrong found herself under fire on the climbs, but the small field of eight riders combined the fact that there were no two riders from the same club worked in favour of lass from Parramatta Cycling Club.
"I had to defend myself and keep on fighting," said Armstrong. "The hardest part of the race was just climbing the hills - but when I saw I was still there in the end, I knew that I had it.
Wall wins one more
Five minutes before the women's under 19 event, a considerably larger field of 30-odd riders took to the start line for the men's under 19 road race to complete seven laps of the 13 kilometre Yandina circuit for a distance of 91 kilometres.
On a high from his win in the individual time trial just two days ago, Illawarra CC's Joshua Wall once again showed his strength by attacking the field with one and a half laps remaining, bridging up to his NSWIS team-mate Brendan Brooks (Port Macquarie) who was out on his own, then dropping Brooks on the climb in the final lap for an ever-so-sweet solo victory. In a bunch sprint for second, Tyler Mclachlan (Southern Cross CC) lead home a depleted peloton of 15 riders 46 seconds later, followed by Wesley Sulzberger (West Tamar CC).
"We always like to have two team-mates up the road, but it wasn't exactly planned," said Wall to Cyclingnews when asked if his move with Brooks was premeditated. "But this is exactly how my State Titles turned out - he [Brooks] went up the road and I bridged across to him; he's a pretty dangerous rider, so I covered that [move] and was lucky enough to get away from the field."
Speaking of his attack which saw him ride away from a select group of 15 riders, Wall, who's clearly having the form of his life, said: "I was feeling really good out there today; the hills started to sting a bit, but I had a look at all the other guys and I could see they were hurting a little bit more than me, so that spurred me on just that little bit more."
Wall gave ample praise to his coach of three years, believing him to be one of the best he's ever worked with and going as far to say he didn't think his emphatic victory would have been possible without him. "I owe most of it to him," he said.
Asked which victory he took more delight in, Wall had little hesitation before answering: "The road race is just that little bit sweeter, because you get to come across the line with your hands in the air! It's something I've wanted to do for a fair while."
Aggression the order of the day: VIS team-mates deliver decisive 1-2 win
An action-packed men's under 23 race followed soon after in arguably the most exciting event of the day. Jonathan Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC), clearly the most aggressive rider of the race, was duly rewarded for his attacking, inspired riding, his hard-fought victory made sweeter when his Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) team-mate and under 23 individual time trial champion, Will Walker (Brunswick CC), crossed the line right behind him to deliver the VIS a decisive 1-2. In third place was Josh Wilson (Launceston City CC), who rode a great race and finished on the same time as Walker.
"I just played the offensive, got up the road and tried to be in the moves, knowing my Jayco-VIS team-mate [William Walker] was in bunch and covering everything," said a visibly drained Clarke to Cyclingnews, totally depleted from his mammoth effort.
Clarke explained his motive behind attacking and attacking often was a result of the other riders simply following wheels: "It was a bit of a negative race in that me and Will were being aggressive and the others were following, so we had to make the race hard to suit us," he said.
His VIS team-mate Walker, who was looking noticeably fresher, agreed: "The guys in the peloton weren't working that well and [the break] sort of stayed around a minute; I had a pretty easy opportunity to sit on and not do a lot of work - when the break got tired, I had the opportunity to ride across to the lead group."
"Will was just as strong today - he came across to us at the end by himself, and it was a super ride by him; we ran 1-2, so I'm rapt," added Clarke, who was now managing a smile.
Walker was equally praiseworthy, and was only too happy to watch his team-mate go up the road for the win.
"Congratulations to Jono - he's an awesome rider and he was out there all day today. It's really hard on dead roads like this, so he won the race fair and square and I'm glad I had the opportunity to ride for him today and end up getting second," he said.
Asked how confident he was in winning a two-man sprint, Walker said he sensed the Tassie rider was fading, but knowing Wilson, whose father was a former top professional himself, Willy W wasn't taking anything for granted.
Continued Walker, "I saw Josh Wilson was pretty tired but he's a tough bike rider - his Dad's ridden the Giro and got eighth overall, I think, so I knew he's got the family pedigree to do well. He still got third, so it was a good ride by him and I think he's a great rider for the future."
Clarke, who was slowly returning to some semblance of normality after a super-hard day in the saddle, summed up the day's proceedings: "It couldn't have gone any better," he said, grinning.
How it unfolded
In glorious sunshine, 37 under 23 riders took to the start in Railway St to ride 11 laps of the Yandina circuit for a total of 143 kilometres. Soon after the flag dropped, West Tamar's Kharne Hammersley took off like a rocket, with one of the race favourites, David Kemp (Toowoomba CC), hooking on to Hammersley shortly thereafter.
Kemp didn't last long though, a mechanical with his chain forcing him back to the bunch just as a trio of riders in the form of Tommy Nankervis (Adelaide CC), Daniel Newham (Gold Coast Goldstars CC) and Sean Finning (Castlemaine CC) were bridging across, making the junction before the start of lap 2. For the next four laps, the quartet maintained a slender margin that hovered at around the one minute mark until another group - James Medlay (Canberra CC), Jonathan Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Keith Evans (Midland CC) - made it four more to form a lead group of eight.
With five laps completed, six to go, and the margin back to the diminishing peloton under the minute mark, the octet upped the pace on the first 7% climb up Fairhill Road, which saw Finning flicked before the harder and steeper ascent up Old Coach Way. But with some of the leading seven missing out on turns, the impetus in the break was lost, and one lap later, it was all back together again.
A sixth ascent up the 400 metre, 13% climb of Old Coach Way wasn't enough to do any damage, but Tassie-boy Joshua Wilson (Launceston City CC), Jonathan Cantwell (Lifecycle CC) and Jonathan Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield CC), who featured earlier in the initial break of eight, were determined to force another selection, succeeding shortly after the twisty, narrow descent on Fairhill Road.
The trio maintained a slender advantage of less than minute to the now 13-strong peloton over the following three circuits until tired legs created a natural selection with two laps to go. On the Old Coach Way climb, Jonathan Cantwell found his legs lacking (or should that be lactating) and was dropped from the lead group, while back in the peloton, the 13 became 9 and then 3 as what riders remained passed through for the final lap.
With Jonathan Clarke's VIS team-mate William Walker (Brunswick CC) sitting pretty the whole time, policing the peloton that now numbered just three, the recently-crowned under 23 national TT champ found his moment and took off in pursuit of Clarke and Wilson, making the junction with just under a kilometre to go. Expecting Walker to go again, Wilson was taken by surprise as the seemingly indefatigable Clarke shot through to take a thoroughly-deserved win, with Walker comfortably outsprinting an exhausted Wilson for the silver medal.
Kathy cleans up - again - with trademark solo victory
"Oh no - I thought I'd be well retired by now," laughed a beaming Kathy Watt (Blackburn CC) shortly after her second national championship win in three days, asked if she ever thought she'd still be winning national titles at 40 years of age.
"It's great to win an Australian championship; I won my first one after I won the Olympics (in 1992), so it's always special to win, and I just like being fit and healthy," she said.
Once again, Watt's reputation caused consternation in a smallish elite women's field, which only worked in favour of the Barcelona road race gold medallist. Despite a string of attacks right from the opening lap, none were strong or committed enough to have any significant effect, other than to bring the field back together only kilometres later.
"I wanted to stay with the group as long as possible, but nobody was working except the other Victorian, Claire [Baxter, Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club], so I just had to change my tactics," said Watt to Cyclingnews about her decision to launch one of her trademark solo attacks.
And so on the fourth of nine laps, not content to already be in the lead group, Watt audaciously leapt out of the break on the 13 percent climb up Old Coach Road with apparent ease, and simply kept on going. And going. And going. Until she was gone, gone, gone.
60-odd kilometres later, Watt crossed the line, looking like she'd just come back from a training ride. Not did she have time for a toilet break, Kathy also stopped for a congratulatory kiss and a chin-wag to her husband - and then went back to the start/finish to watch the bunch sprint for second, which was won by her friend Claire Baxter (Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club) from Victor Cycling Club's Sally Cowman... six minutes and six seconds later.
"I didn't want to be out there that long - it's too hard!" laughed Watt, almost embarrassed by the extent of her winning margin. "I wanted to stay with the numbers, but it's not the way it panned out. "Last year, it was hotter and I really suffered, whereas this year it wasn't quite as hot. I've had another year to improve and gain more fitness, so I'm pretty happy with the way everything's going."
On whether today's victory gave her added confidence going into next week's Grafton to Glen Innes classic, Watt wasn't so sure though.
"A win's a win, but next week's a totally different race," she said.
Patience a virtue, patience a victory
In what is and was ostensibly a race of attrition, Caravello Joinery Cycling Club played the perfect waiting game today, with their rider Tony Mann attacking a tired and severely depleted peloton on the third to last lap to take a solo win in the longest event of the championships.
Mann's team-mate Robert Mclachlan launched a similar move one lap later, but was joined by gold medallist in the individual and pairs time trial, Peter Milostic, on the final circuit. Mclachlan, however, wasn't too concerned, and easily outsprinted the Penrith Panthers CC rider to earn their delighted manager Dominic Caravello an emphatic 1-2 victory and added confidence going into Victoria's Herald Sun-Tour, which starts in just over a fortnight from now.
"We just had to be patient, see how it unfolded halfway through and not do anything too stupid and look after your legs," said a puffed but chuffed Mann to Cyclingnews after the race.
"It's one of those courses that doesn't roll too well, especially with the short, sharp hills, so you've just got to sit and be patient. We just waited and waited and had Rob [Mclachlan] sitting in; having the three of us up there [in the break], it worked out well and made the ride a whole lot easier."
When Cyclingnews asked Mclachlan if the move by Mann was premeditated, he replied thoughtfully, "It's very hard to know what a road race is going to do."
"It is a race of attrition, but those breaks that were going away, you're always worried whether they're going to come back or not," he said.
On the other hand, Peter Milostic wasn't worried in the slightest; after all, he'd already won two gold medals in two days!
"I was out there to finish, and that's in all seriousness," said Milostic. "When you race with no worries about losing, you don't lose anything, if you know what I mean. And it was a good situation for me - I knew Rob [Mclachlan] was the guy to watch."
Even though two out of the remaining nine riders were from his team and made no effort in the chase, Mann admitted afterwards he didn't intend to go so far out, but once he committed himself, he wasn't turning back.
"When you're committed to it, you've got to try and finish it off," he said. "After the hill, it's quite a fast finish, so it's easier to sit there by yourself and hold a nice rhythm. I just tried to hold it together up the hill, pedalling easy gears to look after the legs, and when I needed to, just stomped it home."
With Mann doing just that, Mclachlan began thinking about himself, and said the original motive behind his attack with one and a half laps remaining was to gain a small lead on the remaining eight riders, should any of them attempt to dislodge him on the final climb of Old Coach Road.
"I was actually feeling a little bit average on the second last hill, so I thought, 'I wouldn't mind getting a head-start up it.'" said Mclachlan.
"I had to be careful when I went; it's pretty hard out there on your own and there was always a group of guys who could of swapped off and brought me back, but I think they were too tired. Pete [Milostic] came across to me and we swapped if off till the end. I've usually beaten Pete in the sprint in the past, although a lot of it depends on how good your legs are. He's not slow, but I still had enough power there to do it."
Remarked Mann about his triumph, "If you put yourself in the gutter every day, one day you're going to have good legs and ride off for the win!"
Images by David Magahy/www.goldcoastphotography.com
Elite Men, 169km 1 Tony Mann (Caravello Joinery CC) 4.11.50 2 Robert McLachlan (Caravello Joinery CC) 0.42 3 Peter Milostic (Penrith Panthers CC) 4 Matthew Newlands (Victor Cycles) 1.21 5 Nigel Dunstone (Caravello Joinery CC) 1.24 6 Brendan Hill (Lifecycle Cycling Club) 7 Peter Herzig (Uni Cycle Club) 3.09 8 Bradley Mills (Clarence St CCC) 4.12 9 Robert Lyte (Hinchinbrook Cycling Club) 4.15 10 Kurt Dutton (Victor Cycle Club) 4.19 11 Daniel Bricknell (Sutherland Shire Cycling Club) 4.25 12 Bradley Nightingale (Lifecycle Cycling Club) 13 Anthony Kellen (Ffast Cycle Club) 7.19 14 Gilbert Gutskowli (Broncos) 14.07 DNF Robert Lyte (Hinchinbrook Cycling Club) DNF Anthony Challinor (Parramatta CC) DNF Glenn Stojanow (Clarence St CCC) DNF Leighton Jefferson (Caravello Joinery CC) DNF Kurt Dutton (Victor Cycle Club) DNF Grant Gaston (Victor Cycle Club) DNF Garth McLachlan (Ipswich Amateur C C) DNF Ian Walker (Gold Coast Goldstars C C) DNF Matthew Smith (Ffast Cycle Club) DNF Nathan Waddell (Ffast Cycle Club) DNF Stefan Cecconi (Midland CC) DNF Greg Rossiter (Southern Cross Cycling Club) DNF Simon Walker (Carnegie Caulfield) DNF Jeremy Betts (Lifecycle Cycling Club) DNF Dylan Boone (Carnegie Caulfield) DNF Daniel Alcock (Coffs Harbour CC) DNF Robert Driver (C.A.T.S) DNF Daniel Bricknell (Sutherland Shire Cycling Club) DNF Ross Cattle (Sunshine Coast Cycling Club) DNF Matthew Wood (Kangaroo Point C C) DNF Kurtis Redman (Sunshine Coast Cycle Club) DNF Cameron Rogers (Ffast Cycle Club) DNF Alistair Hartley (Kangaroo Point C C) DNF Brad Glennan (St George CC) DNF Hilton McMurdo (Northern Districts) Elite Women, 91km 1 Kathryn Watt (Blackburn Cycling Club Inc) 2.33.09 2 Claire Baxter (Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club) 6.06 3 Sally Cowman (Victor Cycle Club) 4 Carly Hibberd (Victor Cycle Club) 5 Candice Sullivan (CATS) 6 Kate Nichols (St George CC) 7 Nikki Egyed (Lifecycle Cycling Club) 8 Kerryn Charman (Geelong West Cycling Club Inc) 9 Kate Charge (Lidcombe Auburn CC) 10 Laura Bortolozzi (St George CC) 11 Jennifer Finlay (Hamilton Pine River Wheelers) 12 Caitlin Fraser (Bendigo & District CC) 13 Natasha Harrigan (St George CC) 14 Zoe Southwell (Parramatta CC) 15 Jemma O'Brien (St George CC) 16 Kerry Auguston (Illawarra CC) 10.38 17 Amy Kirk (Midland CC) 18 Christine Riakos (St George CC) 19 Jessie McLean (Canberra Cycling Club) 10.52 DNF Alexis Rhodes (Norwood C.C.) DNF Belinda Goss (Mersey Valley Devonport CC) DNF Briana James (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc) DNF Audrey Quick (Blackburn Cycling Club Inc) DNF Cheryl Walker (Carnegie Caulfield) DNF Liz Young (Lifecycle Cycling Club) DNF Tania Shipton (Hamilton Pine River Wheelers) Undder 23 men, 143km 1 Jonathan Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield) 3.30.06 2 William Walker (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 3 Joshua Wilson (Launceston City CC) 4 Daniel Bennett (Gold Coast Goldstars C C) 1.12 5 James Medlay (Canberra CC) 6 David Kemp (Toowoomba Cycling Club Inc.) 7 Matt Lloyd (St Kilda CC) 8 Jonathan Cantwell (Lifecycle Cycling Club) 9 Jai Crawford (Hobart Wheelers) 10 Stephen Rossendell (Hobart Wheelers) 11 Jason Hegert (Ballarat/Sebastopol C C) 5.33 12 Daniel Newnham (Gold Coast Goldstars C C) 10.11 13 Tommy Nankervis (Adelaide CC) 23.43 DNF Thomas Atkinson (Wagga Wagga CC) DNF Benjamin Clark (Tamworth CC) DNF Tim Hillard (Gunnedah CTC) DNF Jason Patterson (Townsville Cycle Club) DNF Matthew Wood (Kangaroo Point C C) DNF Mathew Rex (Norwood C.C.) DNF Daniel Burtt (Geelong West Cycling Club Inc) DNF Ryan Moody (Geelong West Cycling Club Inc) DNF Michael Teggelove (Echuca/Moama Cycling Club) DNF Andrew Cochrane (Ballarat/Sebastopol C C) DNF Warren Scott (St George CC) DNF Chris D'Amelio (Bairnsdale & Riviera CC ) DNF Nigel Cooper (Gap Tornadoes) DNF Gareth Davies (Lifecycle Cycling Club) DNF Tommy Nankervis (Adelaide CC) DNF Casey Munro (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) DNF Peter Ladd (Bendigo & District CC) DNF Daniel Newnham (Gold Coast Goldstars C C) DNF Kharne Hammersley (West Tamar CC) DNF Sean Finning (Castlemaine Cycling Club Inc) DNF Keith Evans (Midland CC) DNF Bradley Payne (CATS) DNF Kurtis Redman (Sunshine Coast Cycle Club) DNS James Bondio (Gap Tornadoes) Under 19 men, 91km 1 Joshua Wall (Illawarra CC) 2.17.01 2 Tyler McLachlan (Southern Cross CC) 0.46 3 Wesley Sulzberger (West Tamar CC) 4 Johnny Walker (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc) 5 Scott Peoples (Shepparton Cycling Club Inc) 6 Mitch Chapman (Bathurst CC) 7 Brendan Brooks (Port Macquarie) 8 Adam O'Connor (Midland CC) 9 Kai Rothlisberger (Ffast Cycle Club) 10 Aaron O'Grady (Coffs Harbour CC) 11 Mitchell Pearson (Eurobodalla CTC) 12 Max Theodore (Sunshine Coast Cycle Club) 13 Michael Sargeant (Ffast Cycle Club) 14 Mark O'Brien (Horsham Cycling Club Inc) 15 Luke Cridland (Southern Cross CC) 16 Tim Walker (West Tarmar CC) 17 Fabio Calabria (Canberra Cycling Club) 4.11 18 Nathan Silleto (Canberra Cycling Club) 5.02 19 Grant Patrick (Southern Cross CC) 5.11 20 Jayden Veljacich (Midland CC) 5.19 21 Brenton Hetherington (Lifecycle Cycling Club) 22 Christopher Guillan (Southern Cross CC) 5.25 23 Keegan Aitchison (Southern Cross CC) 5.28 24 Joel Czislowski (Ffast Cycle Club) 25 Jacob Kerswill (Sunshine Coast Cycle Club) 12.58 26 Jarrod Denman (NRG Cycling) 21.11 27 Jeremy Davis (Ffast Cycle Club) 35.02 DNF Anthony Bennett (Lidcombe Auburn CC) DNF Michael Mellish (Central Coast CC) DNF Russell Gill (Norwood C.C.) DNF Brett Gillespie (Melville Fremantle CC) Under 19 women, 52km 1 Skye-Lee Armstrong (Parramatta CC) 1.31.21 2 Joanna Von Berky (Broncos) 0.02 3 Genna Crean (Noarlunga South Coast C.C.) 4 Laura Luxford (Uni Cycle Club) 5 Belinda Thompson (Canberra Cycling Club) 7.32 DNF Victoria Freeland (Stawell-Great Western C C) DNF Angeline Papajcsik (Balmoral Cycle Club) Sports Class Women 1 Emma Mews 1.11.17 2 Megan Lyons 9.08 3 Sam Wakelin 9.09 Sports Class Men 1 Luke Chippindale 1.44.41 2 Matthew Ryan 0.01 3 Kerry Hebbard 9.12 4 Stephen Newcomb (Epsom Cycling Club) 5 Stephen Handreck 6 Justin Whelan 10.19 7 Jason Dalla Lana 10.47 8 Simon Bennett 13.02 9 David Roughley 16.14 10 Julian Porter 16.32 11 Sam Robinson 21.18 12 Giuseppe Cirella (Toowoomba Cycling Club Inc) 13 Enda Lyons 28.37 One lap behind 14 Peter Bath 15 Michael Ware 16 Adam Rutledge (Lifecycle) 17 Andre Vester 18 Shaun Pearson DNF Stuart Bushell