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BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, January 16-19, 2003
Day 2 - January 17: Elite Men's time trial, 39 km
Ben's Day in the sun
Dodger has to settle for second again
By Jeff Jones in Ballarat
Last year, Queenslander Ben Day was third in a time only 10 seconds slower than his ride today. But in 2003 he rode both faster and better against the opposition, winning the BMC Software Australian Time Trial Championship in Buninyong, Victoria. Day posted a time of 52:26.37, averaging 44.62 km/h over the deceptively tough and windy 39 km course, to beat last year's silver medalist Michael Rogers (ACT/Quick Step-Davitamon) by 14 seconds, with South Australian Adrian Laidler in third at 1'26, as well as claiming the U23 championship crown.
The peroxide blond 24 year old Day was ecstatic with his win, as he had been preparing for this race specifically for the last few months. He made up all his time on Mick Rogers in the first 20 km, and from then on the pair were even until the finish.
"This is the biggest thing ever," Day said afterwards. "It hasn't sunk in yet. I'm just too smashed! I knew Mick was behind me but in a time trial you can't really race against another rider you just have to give it everything you've got until the end and hope it's enough."
"I was pretty confident going into it. I've been training really well in Queensland. I've always had quite a lot of natural strength so I've really been trying to focus on my speed. Leading into it I realised that all I can do is my best on the day. If someone beats me on the day then they rode better than me and they beat me. It's their jersey and they deserve it. But I won and it's fantastic!"
Day hopes that this will push him onto bigger and better things. "I've been trying to get a better name in Australia and get my name out there. I've done a few things overseas, but it's just been kind of hard to crack it on the Australian scene because we've had so many Australians doing so well lately. It's inspiring."
Day's palmares include the Australian National Road Series and the Grafton to Inverell road race in 2000. In 2002 he won the time trial stage of the Volta Algarve in Portugal, and he'll be back there again this year. He signed a contract for the Portuguese Division II team Carvalhelhos-Boavista, and if everything goes according to plan, he'll head over to Portugal next week to start training and racing with them.
"Last year I was with a team that folded [Matescia], but the people there were very supportive and I've signed for one of the best teams in Portugal," he said. "I'm actually supposed to be leaving next week when my visa comes through so I'm really looking forward to going to that team. I think it's going to be a great opportunity, and hopefully it will lead to big and better things."
"My big goal is to get a start in the World's this year. I'd really like to get over there, and what better way than to get a win here today. My ultimate goal is to get into Tour de France team, and get a start there one day."
Day described his ride as hard all the way. "I don't think there was an easy part. You get out of the gate and you've got to go up that hill. Then there's a bit of a headwind along the back straight. There were a bit slower times than last year."
Day was riding so well that he caught both Peter Milostic and Tom Leaper, who started 2 and 4 minutes in front of him. "I saw a couple of guys up the road and I wasn't 100 percent confident as to how I was going. As soon as I saw them thought 'I'm in with a real a chance'. I know those guys are pretty good time trialists themselves, so to be able to pass them today I knew I was having a good ride."
He paid tribute to his supporters and also the event sponsors. "I want to thank BMC for their support and also so many people for the last few years who had the belief in me. They've really looked after me, and if it wasn't for their support there is no way in hell I could be here today. It's absolutely incredible."
Day's elation was not quite matched by Rogers' disappointment in finishing second for as many times in two years. Rogers clearly wanted to win today, despite not being 100 percent prepared.
"I haven't been training specifically for this time trial and I know that Ben has been working towards this for a few months," said Rogers, who rode on a bike he was forced to borrow yesterday because his Quick Step team bike was accidentally left behind in Europe when the team flew to Australia last week to prepare for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
Ironically in 2002 he claimed the lead in the JCTDU on a borrowed bike after colliding with a motorbike on the penultimate stage of the race. He went on to claim overall honours and will next week defend that title in South Australia.
"I'm making a bit of a habit of this borrowed bike thing," said Rogers wryly. "It might have made a little difference to be on a bike I was familiar with but it might not have."
"I started after Ben and was given constant updates of his times through the course," he added. "I knew at the 20km mark he was going well and I tried to go with him but I just couldn't."
Rogers admitted that second is not a placing he is happy with. "I told someone the other day that if I had $10 for every time I'd finished second I'd be a very rich man," said Rogers, who as a junior in 1998 and as an U23 in 1999 claimed World Championship silver medals in the time trial event. He also finished second in the time trial at last year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester behind team mate Cadel Evans.
"But you know, if I keep tapping away I might start winning them," said Rogers who since 1994 has collected two Commonwealth Games gold and one silver medal, two World Championship gold and four silver medals and eleven Australian titles, along with six silver and three bronze medals in events on both the track and road.
He is an outside chance for the Road Race on Sunday, although there he will face stiff opposition from the likes of McEwen, O'Grady, Cooke and several others. "I'm feeling stronger and stronger. This time of year I can come up really quick in a day or so. If I play my cards right we'll see how we go. I'll try and play it a bit lower key. All the blokes who finish will get a good run at the results.
"It's going to be a hard day. I really can't say how I'm going to go. I'll see how my form is over 180 km, but that for me is going to be a really long race."
He is also looking at defending his JCTDU title next week in Adelaide, although his team will start without the injured Kevin Hulsmans, who was sent home after a crash. "It's a bit unfortunate we're down to seven, but I don't think it's really bad...the second day is going to really sort it out. It's going to get down to about five [riders] anyway, and the last few days it's just going to be a battle between those five."
Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com
1 Ben Day (Qld) Boavista 52.26.37 (44.62 km/h) 2 Michael Rogers (ACT) Quick Step-Davitamon 0.13.81 3 Adrian Laidler (SA) Adelaide 1.26.32 4 David Pell (Vic) Bendigo & District CC 1.33.86 5 Mathew Hayman (ACT) Rabobank 1.39.59 6 Geoffrey Cooke (NSW) Sutherland Shire 1.47.21 7 Peter Milostic (NSW) Penrith Panthers 2.06.63 8 Russell Van Hout (SA) Selle Italia 2.09.46 9 Mark Jamieson (Tas) Mersey Valley CC 2.25.00 10 Christopher Carr (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield CC 2.36.81 11 Karl Menzies (Tas) Mersey Valley Devonport CC 3.01.93 12 Glen Chadwick (Qld) Rockhampton Cycle Club 3.05.89 13 Mark Roland (Qld) Life Cycle 3.15.91 14 Luke Roberts (SA) Team Comnet Senges 3.25.59 15 Jonathan Davis (NSW) NSWIS 3.31.59 16 Richard Moffat (NSW) NSWIS 3.33.28 17 Sean Sullivan (Tas) Northern Districts CC 3.34.41 18 Marc Williams (ACT) Canberra C C 3.58.51 19 Chris Bradford (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield 4.03.74 20 Robert Lyte (NSW) Hinchinbrook 4.25.37 21 George Bunt (ACT) Canberra C C 4.53.32 22 Phillip Thuaux (NSW) Central Coast CC 5.25.89 23 Jonathon Hall (NSW) Illawarra CC 5.36.03 24 Darren Casey (Vic) Bendigo 5.48.06 25 Andrew Graham (Vic) Port Fairy 5.55.48 26 Sam Nelson (ACT) Canberra C C 5.59.06 27 Phil Chapman (NSW) Northern Sydney CC 6.00.56 28 Julian Paynter (Vic) St Kilda C C 6.01.47 29 Robert Regester (Vic) Blackburn 6.24.53 30 Tom Leaper (Vic) Navigators 6.32.18 31 James Hannam (SA) Norwood C.C. 6.39.09 32 Anthony Di Battista (Vic) Blackburn 6.45.55 33 Ric Steele (WA) Northern Districts CC 7.17.61 34 David Harrigan (NSW) Parramatta CC 7.26.18 35 Daniel Brickell (NSW) Sutherland CC 7.51.03 36 Glen Matulich (SA) Adelaide 8.07.18 37 Kendall Munday (NSW) Inverell Wheelers 8.25.00 38 Manwel Falcon (Vic) Coburg CC 9.47.21 39 Nicholas Shipp (Vic) Bendigo 9.36.81 40 Simon Van Der Aa (Tas) Hobart Wheelers 11.00.06 41 Leon Burger (Vic) Blackburn 14.32.81 42 Todd Jasper (Vic) Coburg 15.18.88 43 Reece-Emerson Van Beek (Vic) Geelong West 17.26.99 U23 champion 1 Adrian Laidler (SA) Adelaide
Adrian Booth (Qld) Ffast Chris Bradford (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield Daniel Brickell (NSW) Sutherland CC George Bunt (ACT) Canberra C C Leon Burger (Vic) Blackburn Christopher Carr (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield CC Darren Casey (Vic) Bendigo Glen Chadwick (Qld) Rockhampton Cycle Club Phil Chapman (NSW) Northern Sydney CC Geoffrey Cooke (NSW) Sutherland Shire Jonathan Davis (NSW) NSWIS Ben Day (Qld) Cycleogical Anthony Di Battista (Vic) Blackburn Manwel Falcon (Vic) Coburg CC Marcel Gono (Vic) St Kilda CC Andrew Graham (Vic) Port Fairy Jonathon Hall (NSW) Illawarra CC James Hannam (SA) Norwood C.C. David Harrigan (NSW) Parramatta CC Mathew Hayman (ACT) Rabobank Mark Jamieson (Tas) Mersey Valley CC Todd Jasper (Vic) Coburg Adrian Laidler (SA) Adelaide Tom Leaper (Vic) Blackburn Robert Lyte (NSW) Hinchinbrook Glen Matulich (SA) Adelaide Karl Menzies (Tas) Mersey Valley Devonport CC Peter Milostic (NSW) Penrith Panthers Kendall Munday (NSW) Inverell Wheelers Sam Nelson (ACT) Canberra C C Julian Paynter (Vic) St Kilda C C David Pell (Vic) Bendigo & District CC Robert Regester (Vic) Blackburn Luke Roberts (SA) Team Comnet Senges Michael Rogers (ACT) Canberra Cycling Club Mark Roland (Qld) Life Cycle Nicholas Sanderson (Vic) Ararat&District Cycling Club Nicholas Shipp (Vic) Bendigo Ric Steele (WA) Northern Districts CC Sean Sullivan (Tas) Northern Districts CC Phillip Thuaux (NSW) Central Coast CC Martin Tobin (Vic) Wangaratta Cycling Club Inc Reece-Emerson Van Beek (Vic) Geelong West Simon Van Der Aa (Tas) Hobart Wheelers Russell Van Hout (SA) Adelaide CC Simon Walker (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield Marc Williams (ACT) Canberra C C Tim Wilson (Vic) Geelong West