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2004 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic
Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2004
Carnegie Caulfield-Billa Bridge Wines Diary
Regular Cyclingnews correspondent Mal Sawford is directing the Carnegie Caulfield-Billa Bridge Wines team at this year's Bay Classic. The team consists of Michael Ford, Simon Clarke, Cam Wise, Nathan Wise and Trent Lowe, and Mal reports on their progress in the five race series in this special diary.
A tough start to the week
Round 1 - January 5: Williamstown
CCCC's team of young stars warmed up while the Women's race was run in horrendous conditions - the rain was so heavy at one stage that their start was delayed! After facing similar wet conditions on the opening day of the 2004 Bay Classic, another crash fest was on the cards, but the casualty rate proved minimal, giving the guys the confidence to attack the circuit.
The first corner took riders around a cobblestone-lined roundabout, which was the slowest point of the circuit, the other three corners were much more straightforward. As is expected on the tight circuits that the Bay Classic is known for, riders lucky enough to claim a front row spot on the start line hammer from the gun, making life very difficult for the unfortunates on the back row.
As luck would have it, CCCC had drawn third last spot on the grid, putting most of the team well and truly at the back of the bunch at the end of the hectic first lap - which was completed in a faster time than any of the laps in both the support Men's or Women's races!
Our two trackies, Cam Wise and Junior World Pursuit record holder Michael Ford found the job too tough after a hard week of racing at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals, and pulled the pin early - as did most of the other riders who had raced in Tassie, including Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster (Colnago/Caravello) and Mark Jamieson (Drapac-Porsche Cycling Team). Nathan Wise made it past half distance, before the strain of closing gaps as rider after rider pulled the pin. In the windy conditions, less than half the sixty-five starters completed the race.
Our two finishers on Day 1 were 2002 Junior World MTB Champion Trent Lowe, who survived a mid race fall and a broken seat clamp to finish with the main bunch, and World Junior Team's Pursuit Champion Simon Clarke who rode an attacking race but couldn't seem to pick the right moves.
Race winner Robbie McEwen (Drapac-Porsche) bridged with Hilton Clarke (McKnight's Retravision/Fisher & Paykel) to a three man break after twenty minutes. The five leaders came close to lapping the bunch, with Hilton Clarke the one most tipped to challenge Robbie for the win, but at the finish it was Jaaron Poad (Colnago/Caravello) who came closest to causing an upset, before McEwen cruised past in the final twenty metres for a crowd-pleasing win.
Simon fought out the bunch finish, and picked up ninth overall, giving him a vital front row start for the second race in Portarlington.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mal Sawford