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Australian Road Cycling Championships - NE

Sunshine Coast, Australia, September 3-11, 2005

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Day 3 - September 5: Criteriums: under 15 men; under 15 women; under 17 men; under 17 women,

Victorian wins the chook raffle; back-to-back titles for Queensland

Stellar performances from Australian cycling's future stars

By John-Michael Flynn on the Sunshine Coast

Leigh Howard
Photo ©: John Flynn
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He may have described it as a 'chook raffle' but there was no playing down the significance of Victorian Leigh Howard's victory in today's Under 17 Criterium event at the National Club Road Cycling Championships on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

In fact, what more can be said about the 15 year old Australian Junior Cycling sensation, than what's already written into the results book. A record six National Titles on the track, a bronze medal in Saturday's National Club Championship Road Race, Gold in yesterday's Time Trial and another Gold in today's Criterium.

The Geelong cyclist is now the keeper of eight National Championships in age group racing across the disciplines of track and road, a feat which, it is believed, has never before been achieved. The fact that Howard won today's criterium in emphatic fashion only added to the young rider's growing stature as a rider of the future.

"Criteriums are a luck of the draw, it's just a big chance a chook raffle is what they call em," Howard said while playing down today's National Championship win. But those in the know had vastly different perceptions after watching the young Victorian smash the field with a series of attacks, before putting on the afterburners to win the sprint finish.

"Before the race I didn't really get a warm up," Howard told Cyclingnews. "Got in there, just got changed and jumped on the start line with no warm up so I thought I'd just go out there and give it a crack."

Wet and slippery racing

Howard managed to stay out of trouble in this morning's junior criterium heats, which were contested on a wet and slippery road surface at Currimundi. The conditions managed to claim several contenders in both the under fifteen and under seventeen events, including Port Macquarie's under 17 National Road Race Champion Angus Morton.

A sketchy 90 degree bend at the southern end of the course proved hazardous in the rainy weather as young riders pushed the envelope with a National Championship on the line. Strong riding from Blair Windsor of Bathurst Cycling Club and Penrith's Nicholas Spratt, among others, ensured the under seventeen men's final wasn't one way traffic.

But in the end, the elements and the competition proved no obstacle for Victorian Howard, who won the sprint clearly from Canberra's Thomas Palmer and Chelsea and Peninsula's Peter Johnstone. In fact, Howard's only disappointment for the week of racing so far, came by way of a fifty dollar fine for crossing the finish line 'hands-free'.

While he may be destined for a lucrative career on the streets of Europe, for now at least, Leigh Howard will be washing dishes at home for a month to pay off his debt to the cycling establishment. A small price, perhaps, but if the talented road / track rider continues winning at this rate, he may be scrubbing pots and pans until his thirtieth birthday!

Double titles for Courtney

In the Under 17 Women's event, Queenslander Courtney Le Lay made it back-to-back titles at the Club Road Nationals. The winner of Saturday's road race played her cards to perfection in a contest which, but for her efforts to haul in an early breakaway, could have had a vastly different result.

Western Australian Sarah Kent of the Midland Cycling Club set the early pace, embarking on a solo breakaway, which at least for a few laps appeared as though it might succeed. "I was just thinking is anyone going to chase her down?" Le Lay recalled of her work to bridge the gap mid-race. "No-one ended up doing it so I thought may as well do it, half way in the race got plenty of time to recover."

Recover, the young Queenslander certainly did! The rider from the super-strong Balmoral club stormed home in the sprint finish, to take the race ahead of Midland's Josephine Tomic and Balmoral team-mate Lucy Mosely.

Patrick cranks the Porsche into gear as Megan wins 'for real'

In the Under 15 men's criterium, Melbourne's Patrick Drapac scored his second National title for the week. The young cyclist wearing the unmistakable red colours, and in the saddle of a rare Porsche bicycle (like Ferris Beuller said .. there is no substitute!), 'rode it like he stole it' in the dash to the line, prevailing over Grayson Follett of the Gold Coast Goldstars club and Callum Docker of Lidcome Auburn.

"Yeah, I felt pretty confident coming into the crit," an excited Drapac told Cyclingnews. "I was a bit worried about the rain obviously the corners and stuff so I kept a bike length behind the next rider and took the corners straight."

In the under 15 Women's event, success finally came the way of Dubbo's Megan Dunn, who was controversially disqualified from Saturday's road race after crossing the line in first place. This time around, there were no troubles for Dunn with wheel changes or gearing restrictions. Dubbo's dasher was simply too good on the day for her rivals, winning the sprint finish, but not before doing her fair share of work at the front end of the bunch.

Brodie Stewart ensured it would be a busy day on the podium for Brisbane's Balmoral club by finishing second in the sprint, just ahead of Tasmanian Bianca Thompson from the Mersey Valley-Devonport club.

"After what happened on Saturday it just makes you want to win more," Dunn, the National road and track champion, said of her motivation to succeed. "Yesterday I got a third and I was really happy with that and a gold today just made my day."

The junior program at the National Club Road Championships on the Sunshine Coast concludes tomorrow with the pairs time trial.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by John Flynn


Under 17 men
1 Leigh Howard (Geelong Cycle Club)                   
2 Thomas Palmer (Canberra Cycling Club)               
3 Peter Johnstone (Chelsea & Peninsula C C)           
4 Ricky Peoples (Shepparton Cycling Club Inc)         
5 Glenn O'shea (Bendigo & District CC)                
6 Travis Meyer (Midland CC)                           
7 Dale Scarfe (Central Coast CC)                      
8 Reuben Meneaud-Young (Port Adelaide CC)             
9 Blair Windsor (Bathurst CC)                         
10 Mannon Houssaye (Wangaratta Cycling Club Inc)      
11 Lindsay Wall (Canberra Cycling Club)               
12 Nicholas Spratt (Penrith Panthers CC)              
13 Mitchell Brooks (Midland CC)                       
14 Trevor Griffiths (Shepparton Cycling Club Inc)     
15 Sean Dunn (Dubbo CC)                               
16 Tom Gallagher (Carnegie Caulfield CC)              
17 Ben Grenda (Launceston City CC)                    
18 Daniel Jamieson (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)       
19 Geoff Straub (Armidale CC)                         
20 Joel Lewis (Kangaroo Point C C)                    
21 Thomas Robinson (Launceston City CC)               
22 Malcolm Rudolph (Maryborough & District CC)        
23 Anthony Rix (Bendigo & District CC)                
24 Sean Caskey (Ffast Cycle Club)                     
25 Jonathon Cridland (Southern Cross CC)              
26 Luke Gooley (Shepparton Cycling Club Inc)          
27 Strachan Kerswill (Sunshine Coast CC)              
28 Brodie Talbot (Colnago-Caravello CC)               
DNF Mark Flood (Bendigo & District CC)                
DNF Jarrad Burrell (Southern Districts CC)            
Under 17 Women
1 Courtney Le Lay (Balmoral Cycle Club)               
2 Josephine Tomic (Midland CC)                        
3 Lucy Moseley (Balmoral Cycle Club)                  
4 Lisa Friend (Carnegie Caulfield CC)                 
5 Chloe Hosking (Canberra Cycling Club)               
6 Rebecca MacphersON (Midland CC)                     
7 Grace Mcgrath (Coral Isle Cyclists Inc.)            
8 Anthea Clarke (Byron Bay Freeriders)                
9 Brittany Foster (Geelong Cycle Club)                
10 Zoe Appel (Balmoral Cycle Club)                    
11 Sarah Edwards (Rockhampton Cycle Club)             
12 Ashlee AnkudinofF (St George CC)                   
13 Carlee Taylor (Norwood C.C.)                       
14 Caitlin Westropp-Evans (Canberra Cycling Club)     
15 Heidi Kirk (Midland CC)                            
16 Bethany Coleman (Launceston City CC)               
17 Jacinta Aitken (Kooragang Open CC)                 
18 Camille Jones-Pallett (Midland CC)                 
19 Samsiah Rice (South West CC)                       
20 Jessy Byrnes (Kangaroo Point CC)                   
21 Ellen Marks (Wagga Wagga CC)                       
22 Sarah Kent (Midland CC)                            
DNF Danielle Longworth (Peel Districts Cycle Club)    
DNF Amba Bennett (Coffs Harbour CC)                   
DNF Gabriella Miller (Peel Districts Cycle Club)      
DNF Alana Haansbergen (Noarlunga South Coast CC)      
DNF Samantha Hosie (Byron Bay Freeriders)             
DNF Kadee Webber (C.A.T.S.)                           
Under 15 Men 
1 Patrick Drapac (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc)         
2 Grayson Follett (Gold Coast Goldstars C C)          
3 Callum Docker (Lidcombe Auburn CC)                  
4 David Lyons (Launceston City CC)                    
5 Jack Hickey (Gunnedah CTC)                          
6 Christopher Murphy (Gold Coast Goldstars CC)        
7 Edward Robinson (Launceston City CC)                
8 Jordan Van Der Togt (Midland CC)                    
9 Jordan Fawkes (Hunter District CC)                  
10 Shamus Liptrot (Central Districts CC)              
11 Sam Davis (Northern Districts)                     
12 Riley Pattison (Northern Districts)                
13 Alex Carver (Lidcombe Auburn CC)                   
14 Shawn Baxter (Grafton CC)                          
15 Ben Cutajar (Gold Coast Goldstars C C)             
16 Liam Melville (Peloton Sports Inc.)                
17 Dale Parker (Central Districts C.C.)               
18 Andrew Smith (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)          
19 Thomas Richards (Ipswich Amateur C C)              
20 Stuart Smith (Leongatha Cycling Club Inc)          
21 Patrick Lane (Carnegie Caulfield CC)               
22 Nicholas Rix (Bendigo & District CC)               
23 Angus Tobin (Bathurst CC)                          
24 Lachlan Morton (Port Macquarie)                    
25 Luke Ockerby (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)          
26 Brodie Pearse (Wagga Wagga CC)                     
27 Adam Phelan (Canberra Cycling Club)                
28 Brendan Cole (Northern Rivers Cycling Club)        
DNF Kevin Hawes (Port Macquarie)                      
DNF Jonathan Dunlop (Midland CC)                      
Under 15 Women
1 Megan Dunn (Dubbo CC)                               
2 Brodie Stewart (Balmoral Cycle Club)                
3 Bianca Thomson (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)         
4 Caitlin Brookes (Wagga Wagga CC)                    
5 Courtney Dutton (Broncos)                           
6 Sinead Cosgrove (Goulburn CC)                       
7 Melinda Potente (St George CC)                      
8 Tamara Josefski (Broncos)                           
9 Amy Cure (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)               
10 Annette Edmondson (Adelaide CC)                    
11 Emma Smith (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)            
12 Jessica Mckay (Broncos)                            
13 Michaela Anderson (Midland CC)                     
DNF Heather MacphersOn (Midland CC)                   
DNF Hayley Grant (Townsville Cycle Club)              
DNF Kellie Berglund (Peel Districts Cycle Club)       
DNF Ryla Jakelski (Midland CC)                        
DNF Shelly Flood (Bendigo & District CC)              
DNF Annika Brown (Goulburn CC)                        
DNF Tara Bryan (Wagga Wagga CC)                       
DNF Ainslee Bennett (Wangaratta Cycling Club Inc)     
DNF Sarah Cure (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)           
DNF Lindsey Edmunds (Norwood C.C.)                    

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