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Carnegie Caulfield Criterium
Glenvale Crescent, Mulgrave, January 26, 2003
Weather cooler, but racing still scorches
By Mal Sawford
After two days over 40 degrees, a relatively cool 24 degree morning was a pleasant surprise for competitors in the Australia Day edition of the weekly Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club criterium.
As has become the norm, A Grade launched off the start line with the 25 rider field all desperate to stay up the front to survive the inevitable split. With Bay Series stage winner Will Walker (CBD Cycles) and Swiss Under 23 stars Ralf Zimmermann, Oliver Mattmann and Chris Rossi joining local strongmen Leigh De Luca and Matt Chessum (Fitzroy Cycles) the pace stayed high until a 3 rider attack started by popular track star Warren Knevitt (O'Mara Cycles) saw the bunch ease off and the gap open.
After a few laps waiting for someone to commit to the chase, De Luca went to the front and turned on the after burners, almost single handedly towing the bunch up to the break. A constant series of attacks and counter attacks saw the race explode, and after the smoke had cleared the race had split in two, with all the favorites bar Knevitt in the strong front group of 10.
The remnants of the bunch didn't have the horsepower or fitness to match the leader's pace, and the gap slowly opened. As the leaders finally lapped the field with 3 to go, 'Flyin' Ryan Kelly (Terry Hammond Cycles) slipped off the front of the lead group, and thanks to some defensive riding from clubmates in the break, held his 50 meter advantage all the way to the line, to record his first podium finish in over 2 years and his first ever A Grade win! De Luca comfortably took the sprint for second ahead of Walker, Mattmann and Zimmermann.
With the biggest field on the day, most B Grade riders were expecting a bunch finish to decide the outcome, but a series of early breakaways took the sting out of the bunch. Tyrin Simpson, Paul Natoli and Helen Kelly were all prominent early, but the winning move went clear midway through the race, and featured strong juniors Taigh Banson (CBD Cycles) and Nathan Wise, with Andrew Robinson, Matt Molan and Geoff Whiter.
The leaders combined well, riding far more smoothly than the A Grade chasing bunch who were struggling to match the pace set by the B Grade front runners, and were never likely to be caught by the field. The five were still together at the final corner, where the speedy and experienced veteran Whiter was too good, taking the win ahead of Banson, Robinson and Molan.
With a strong Women's contingent, the only interest left for the bunch was who would take out the Women's Division. Rachel Rademaker lead out early with Swiss International Priska Doppman on her wheel, but the local rider kept her big gear going to claim the win.
After doing too much too early last week, Danny Weatherley was again prominent early in C Grade, featuring in an early break away with Dion Warburton. Brett Rossiter (Bicycle Superstore), who has sprinted into a succession of minor placings without cracking a win tried the breakaway option today, with visiting Footscray Vet Tom Moloney, but at the half way mark the bunch had regrouped.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Weatherley escaped alone, and with vocal encouragement from the spectators in the finishing straight held on to take the win by 10 meters over the hard charging bunch. The sprint for second was taken out by Paul Kelly from Simon Prentice and David Malady, with Meaghan Godfrey not far off the pace.
D Grade saw racing dominated throughout by the large and eager contingent of Women and Junior riders. The win went to one of the more senior riders in the bunch however, with the final sprint taken out by Russell Forbes, with young Sean Bourke having to settle for second. Australian Under 15 Champion (of just about everything), Tess Downing took out the Women's division with her fine third place overall, with another Vet, Michael Boyce earing the final spot on the podium.
Racing continues every Sunday morning at Glenvale Crescent (Melways Map 80 B2) with a 9am start time. Next week's event is round 3 of the Regional Criterium Series, with Elite and Sport Women's races to be held at 10 am after the Men's C and D Grade races, and before the A and B Grade races.
Criteriums are also held on Tuesdays night at the Necropolis circuits, with the Police Road gate (Melways Map 80 G6) open at 6pm for race starts for all grades at 6.30. All holders of 2003 Cycling Australia licenses are welcome (don't forget to bring your license or receipt!) and non-members can have a go by taking out a three-race license for $39, deductible from your full membership if you decide to continue racing.
Images by Ann Johnstone
A Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 25 starters 1 Ryan Kelly (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Leigh De Luca (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 3 William Walker (Brunswick CC) 4 Oliver Mattmann (Switzerland) 5 Ralf Zimmermann (Switzerland) B Grade (1 hour + 3 laps) 43 Starters 1 Geoff Whiter (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Taigh Banson (Shepparton CC) 3 Andrew Robinson (St Kilda CC) 4 Matt Molan (Broadford/Seymour CC) Women 1 Rachel Rademaker (Blackburn CC) 2 Priska Doppman (Switzerland) C Grade (50 mins + 3 laps) 28 starters 1 Danny Weatherley (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Paul Kelly (St Kilda CC) 3 Simon Prentice (Blackburn CC) 4 David Malady (Footscray CC) Women 1 Meaghan Godfrey (Carnegie Caulfield CC) D Grade (45 mins + 3 laps) 28 starters 1 Russell Forbes (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Sean Bourke (Blackburn CC) 3 Tess Downing (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 4 Michael Boyce (Carnegie Caulfield CC) Women 1 Tess Downing (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 2 Michelle Rowe (Leongatha CC)