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Results and Reports for July 13-19, 2002
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Mildura-Coomealla Cycling Club
Merbein Cemetery circuit, July 14, 2002
By Peter Winton
Another tough race day with 20 knot winds (advised by part-time weatherman Arthur!) from west-nor'-west battering riders around the technical Merbein circuit. 16 intrepid - perhaps "masochistic" is a better description - cyclists rolled up for their weekly dose of lung busting, lactic acid leg pain. But first, congratulations to Peter Mills, the newly crowned National Duathlon Champ in the 50-54yr bracket!
With Christophe Baudry preferring snow-skiing to cycling this weekend it was left to Rob McNally to shoulder the burden of chasing down the 16 minute benefit granted to limit riders Koopman and Liddle. Eyebrows were raised also at the announcement of 8 minutes for Beruldsen, Robbins, Winton and Stefani (welcome home Damon, albeit briefly). I didn't have a problem with that time gap!
The good old chopping block, received a 1 minute respite from the clutches of scratch, comprised riders Anderson, Welsh and Shipsides. At 5 minutes however, were Marshall, Gregory, Lokan and Dwyer. There appears little between the members of the 5 minute and 8 minute bunches and I'm sure the handicapper may see fit to bundle them all up very soon and see if teamwork is a word they can relate to.
Koopman was dumped within the first 100m by Liddle, no surprises there to anyone.
As the lone limit rider scooted up the rise and past the start line for the first time, the lonely and cold figures of McNally, Wightwick, and Mills were waiting for their turn. Scratch caught the 1 minute riders on lap 2 and this group then reeled in the 5 minute men on lap 6.
By lap 4 (of 8) the consensus of opinion in the 2nd limit bunch was that Liddle had gone home as he wasn't to be seen, at all! The truth came out eventually as all learned that he sat on the back of chopping block and then scratch when they were both a lap down. Brendan, you will be severely dealt with by persons unknown!
2nd limit were being driven into the ground by the raging bull of a rider Beruldsen, with speeds of 60 klicks down the wind assisted straight before legs could either get warm or, as laps ticked by, recover from the cemetery climb. Acting timekeeper Corrado Stefani, advised this powering group of a 4 minute gap to scratch at the end of lap 4 and again of a 4:30 gap at the end of lap 6, it was difficult to imagine a challenge from them after that announcement.
McNally had spreadeagled the combined 5 minute and 1 minute groups on the 7th climb and proceeded to time-trial the last lap on his own. This effort knocked Dwyer out of the race, Wightwick had already surrendered and Mills joined them with Koopman having retired much earlier. After catching Liddle on lap 6 the race winner would definitely come from 2nd limit, it was then a question of holding sway within the bunch, looking after legs and saving energy for any charge yet to come.
The cemetery climb is a kilometre long and with a false flat midway and the sharpest rise in the last 100m it's tough for us flatlanders and add to that the 20 knot winds it was a tough one. It was here on the last climb that Beruldsen, whom we thought would have blown-up by this time, attacked. Winton and Liddle were in immediate trouble. Stefani, the cagey Air Force cadet, had been foxing all race with shorter, slower turns and he stomped on the pedals to attack over the top of Beruldsen.
Stefani rode away before the top of the rise to put 100m into those behind. Robbins however, stuck with the never-say-die Beruldsen and eventually came over the top of him for 2nd place after Stefani. Winton rode hard to try and bridge the gap but only succeeded in dragging Liddle up and was nutted out of 4th place.
Big Michael Shipsides fought off the challengers in his group with a powerful sprint from 100m out relegating Marshall, Welsh and Gregory. Unfortunately for Jack Lokan the wrenched knee he inflicted upon himself in the morning whilst sweeping corners took it's toll and he wasn't able to produce his usual good form. The other reason might be he's trying to get sympathy for the next handicap, or he's saving himself for this weeks graded scratch, we'll see.
With Mark Phillips absent, all B grade riders wrestled back some much needed points in the tussle for championship kudos.
Next week is a 2 lap (54km) graded scratch affair starting at "Orange World" at 1:30pm.
1 Damon Stefani 1.44.06 2 Harry Robbins 3 Ian Beruldsen 4 Brendan Liddle (subject to protest) 5 Peter Winton 2.20 6 Rob McNally 7 Michael Shipsides 8 Nathan Welsh 9 Geoff Marshall 10 Kev Grgeory 11 Arthur Anderson 12 Jack Lokan Fastest time: Rob McNally 1.42.11