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Macedon Ranges Teams Classic, Newham, Victoria

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Grade

All of Victoria's top riders gathered in the small township of Newham for the third instalment in the Victorian Super Series - The Macedon Ranges Teams Classic. Racing got underway under dark skies and the threat of rain but it didn't discourage the big field from turning out for what was to be a great bike race.

The pace was on from the beginning and after the first couple of undulations, there were already riders feeling the pinch, perhaps ruing a poor warm up on what remained a cold day throughout. Race organisers placed an early KOM bonus at the 8km mark and this may have proved to be a sufficient carrot, with an early break forming as a result of a sprint to the first marker, with Shaun McCarthy (Decked Out Coaching) taking the early bonus.

A Grade Break - Courtesy David De Gama www.digitalsportimages.com8 riders followed McCarthy over the climb and away from the peloton and before long had established a handy break. Leigh Howard, Pat Shaw (VIS), Brad Edmunds (Cycle City - Ballarat), Tim Decker, Shaun McCarthy (Decked Out Coaching), Jarrod Moroni (Alphington Sports Medicine), Miles Watson (Total Rush), Tom Leaper (Bicycle Superstore) and Steven Robb (CBD Cycles) were the riders testing the legs of the chasers early on, many of which carrying excellent form into this race. Shortly after, disaster struck for Leaper as a puncture forced him out of contention, cutting the lead bunch to 8.

As the first lap of the 30km circuit continued the break continued to pull away. When the riders came through to greet the judges for the first time, the gap was out to 1m 10s with the riders all working well together. As the peloton rolled through for the first time at some pace, being led by the Alphington Sports Medicine team, it was clear that the peloton recognised the talent that had found its way into the break. Howard and Shaw were keen to continue the VIS of Victorian teams racing, but they were joined by some other talented young riders, along with the experienced Tim Decker, who rarely misses a race winning move.

As the leaders turned towards Lancefield, they continued to drive hard up and over the several short climbs including the KOM, which was again won by McCarthy. The gap continued to widen throughout the second lap. Recognising this, the CCCC - SHM team attacked the peloton and made their attempt to bridge the gap. Peter Barnett and Matthew Chessum got away off the front and were quickly joined by Andrew Ward (Cycle City - Ballarat) and Peter Smith (Carnegie-Caulfield CC). When the leaders came through for a second time, the lead had stretched to 1m 31sec to the chase group, with another 30sec back to the peloton, which by this stage had begun to break up in two, with the added pressure.

This course is beginning to earn a reputation amongst the riders and it continued to take no prisoners as the main bunch continued to disintegrate. At the 75km mark of the race, the signs began to look ominous as the leaders continued to build their lead and the chasers were seemingly in no mans land as they were failing to make any sort of gains on the leaders. As they rolled through for the bell, at 30km to go, the leaders had extended their lead to 2min 34sec back to the chasers and a seemingly unassailable 5min 34sec back to the peloton. Most within the lead group looked very comfortable and it became clear at that point where our winner would be coming from.

As the leaders turned towards Lancefield for the final time we began to see some movement in the bunch with an attack from Howard (VIS), taking the KOM and the final bonus prize. 4 riders had the strength to go with him, with team-mate Pat Shaw on his wheel, McCarthy and Decker (Decked Out Coaching) and the odd one out Miles Watson (Total Rush) also making the jump. The leaders began now to size one another up and with around 8km to go, the relatively unknown Miles Watson made a break. With the VIS content to watch for the time being, team leader Tim Decker (Decked Out Coaching) sent team-mate Shaun McCarthy up the road to join Watson and these riders helped themselves to a handy little break. Despite the efforts of the outnumbered Decker (Decked Out Coaching), Leigh Howard (VIS) soon recognised the danger and attacked what remained of the lead bunch, going away and bridging the gap to the two leaders. Decker made numerous attempts to bridge the gap himself but was not provided with any assistance by Shaw (VIS) who had obviously decided that the VIS hope had already bridged the gap.

By this stage the main bunch had been all but obliterated with a number of attacks. With the teams format, every placing could make the difference and ensured that numerous battles for the minors began to unfold. Four riders went clear in a last ditch bid to bridge the gap with Glenn O'Shea (VIS), Zak Dempster, Trent Stevenson (Decked Out Coaching) and Vaughan Bowman (CCCC - SHM) forming a small chasing group. Out the front and as the leaders rounded the final turn they had opened a big lead on the chasers. However Watson (Total Rush) seemed spent from his earlier attack and was unable to go with the talented duo of Howard (VIS) and McCarthy (Decked Out Coaching) who it became clear would be fighting it out for the win. Leigh Howard celebrates - Courtesy David De Gama

As the two leaders came into the view of the judges and the crowd that had gathered, McCarthy was on front, making every effort to shake Howard from his wheel. Howard, riding the number 1 saddlecloth, would not lose Mccarthy's wheel and with 200m to go, he attacked with an awesome burst of power. Whilst Bendigo's McCarthy was able to hold Howard's wheel it was always going to be too tough and the ever talented Howard from Geelong had yet another feather in his already crowded cap.

19 seconds later, Miles Watson (Total Rush) rolled in third, clearly hurting from his earlier efforts but a stellar effort in the company he kept throughout the bike race. A further 2min 14sec back saw the remnants of the lead bunch led in by the ever present Tim Decker (Decked Out Coaching). He was followed in by fellow Bendigo rider Glenn O'Shea (VIS), who had made a massive effort for fifth and Pat Shaw (VIS), ensuring that the VIS would take yet another teams race. 15 seconds later and rounding out the top ten were the talented veteran Peter Barnett, Zak Dempster (Decked Out Coaching), Vaughan Bowman (CCCC - SHM) and Trent Stevenson (Decked Out Coaching).

B Grade

In the 'B Grade' teams event, the riders were faced with a 90km journey and again, the pace was on throughout. Whilst there were numerous attacks throughout the first 70km of the event, no one was able to stamp their authority on the event and the peloton continued to haul back those that went away. Both KOM bonuses were taken out by young Sean Hurley (Brunswick CC - Rapido) who by his own admission is not a climber. Local knowledge and experience on the course at club level had obviously provided him with an edge, as he seemed to target these from the outset.

With 15km to go, an attack was launched by the composite team of St Georges Motor Inn, with Nick Aitken and Kane Walker being joined by Matthew Davis (Croydon Cycleworks - Pick a Part), Andrew McKellar (Footscray CC) and Wayne Evans, Cameron Winton (Le Tour Cycles - Avanti Plus). This proved to be the winning break on a course which often sees the breaks provided with the advantage. As the riders approached the finish along the difficult Dons Rd section, the strong riders began to come into their own with small gaps between wheels beginning to open up. Walker found the going a little tough and fell off the back. As the sprint wound up with B Grade Finish - Courtesy David De Gama www.digitalsportimages.com300m to go, it was any of five riders, now spread across the road. Emerging from the handful of riders was the talented 17 year old Nick Aitken (St Georges Motor Inn) who went to the front with a some awesome leg speed. The only rider able to go with him was Matthew Davis (Croydon Cycleworks - Pick a Part) who closed to within striking distance, perhaps leaving his run a little late and finally beaten by half a bike length. It was a top win for the kid from Leongatha and would have to rank amongst his top wins.

The pair were closely followed by Wayne Evans and Cameron Winton (Le Tour Cycles - Avanti Plus) along with Andrew McKellar (Footscray CC). In the finish Kane Walker (St Georges Motor Inn) rolled in 9 secs later. Off the front of the bunch, 46 secs down on the winner and in 7th place was Dennis Bowen-Day (Biggin & Scott). Taking the bunch sprint was Roy Clarke (Croydon Cycleworks - Pick a Part), who greeted the judges 53 secs after Aitken.

Reg Bradley Memorial - Masters/Women

The day started with a combined handicap for Masters & Women and for what turned out to be a top opening event for the day. The race was held over 60km and in honour of Reg Bradley - a past champion and long time member of the Coburg Cycling Club, who unfortunately passed away earlier in the year. 39 starters faced the starter scattered out across 5 bunches in what were cool, overcast but still conditions.

Limit was sent off at 10am and with a few scratchings, the 5 riders were always going to face a tough challenge, with a strong scratch bunch being assembled behind them. After losing Lawrence Maskill to breathing difficulties early on, it was an impressive effort for the four limit riders to have held onto their race lead, upon completing their first and penultimate lap. At the bell, with 30km to travel, 2nd limit had closed to within 1min but the real move had come from scratch who had collected the 3min bunch Masters racing for the line - Courtesy David De Gama www.digitalsportimages.comand amalgamated into a strong chasing bunch of 15 riders. This scratch bunch had made up around 11min and were now within 2min 59sec from the leaders.

The scratch bunch continued to close in and collect those bunches ahead of them and with 8km to go, the amalgamated bunch had become 20 riders. As they headed towards Cobaw the pace continued to quicken and several riders began to feel the pinch. As they rounded the final turn towards Newham, 3km from home, the 20 had become only 7 and it was clear it wasn't to be the bunch sprint that had threatened to eventuate. As the headlights of the convoy came into view it became clear that two riders had attacked and gone clear. Phillip Smith (Coburg CC) then attacked Aaron Christiansen (Hawthorn CC) and opened up a sizeable gap. Despite Christiansen's gallant efforts he could not close the gap and the inaugural 'Reg Bradley' belonged to Phillip Smith. Christiansen followed soon after, with Brett Fisher (Bendigo CC) taking out the bunch sprint.


A grade
1 Leigh Howard (Victorian Institute of Sport)    2.53.51
2 Shaun McCarthy (Decked Out Coaching A)                
3 Miles Watson (Total Rush)                         0.19
4 Tim Decker (Decked Out Coaching A)                2.33
5 Glenn O’Shea (Victorian Institute of Sport)           
6 Pat Shaw (Victorian Institute of Sport)               
7 Peter Barnett (CCCC – SHM)                        2.48
8 Zak Dempster (Decked Out Coaching A)                  
9 Vaughan Bowman (CCCC – SHM)                           
10 Trent Stevenson (Decked Out Coaching A)              
1 Victorian Institute of Sport                      1080 pts
2 Decked Out Coaching A                              965
3 CCCC – SHM                                         690
4 Carnegie-Caulfield CC                              520
5 Total Rush                                         500
B grade 
1 Nick Aitken (St Georges Motor Inn)             2.17.37
2 Matthew Davis (Croydon Cycleworks – Pick a Part)      
3 Wayne Evans (Le Tour Cycles – Avanti Plus)            
4 Cameron Winton (Le Tour Cycles – Avanti Plus)         
5 Andrew McKellar (Footscray CC)                        
6 Kane Walker (St Georges Motor Inn)                0.09
7 Dennis Bowen-Day (Biggin & Scott – CCCC)          0.46
8 Roy Clark (Croydon Cycleworks – Pick a Part)      0.53
9 Luke Hanley (St Georges Motor Inn)                    
10 Gerard Donnelly (Celtic Décor)                       
1 St Georges Motor Inn                              1010 pts
2 Croydon Cycleworks – Pick a Part                   850
3 Le Tour Cycles – Avanti Plus                       835
4 Footscray CC                                       615
5 Celtic Décor                                       535
C grade 
1 Phillip Smith (Coburg CC)                      1.46.18
2 Aaron Christiansen (Hawthorn CC)                  0.06
3 Brett Fisher (Bendigo & District CC)              0.25
4 Kevin Simmons (Broadford Seymour CC)                  
5 Leigh Murphy (Bendigo & District CC)                  
6 Andrew Wilson (Sunbury & Hume Districts CC s.t.)      
7 Tom McDonough (Coburg CC)                             
8 Luke McDonough (Coburg CC)                            
Fastest Time 
1 Phillip Smith (Coburg CC)                      1.32.18
First Female 
1 Kathy Watt (Blackburn CC)                             
2 Clare Vlahopoulos (Carnegie-Caulfield CC)             
3 Lorraine Meinke (Brunswick CC)                        

Local results 2007