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Australian Madison Championships - NE
Melbourne, Australia, March 20, 2004
Weispfennig/Teutenberg lead Germans to victory
But Finning and Norton take Australian crown
By Mal Sawford in Melbourne
The Australian Madison Championships was brilliantly won by ace German pair Erik Weispfennig and Lars Teutenberg, with their thrilling victory not assured until the final sprint. Second place went to the young Victorian pairing of Brad Norton and Sean Finning, with the 2002 winner Rod McGee teaming with Chris Sutton claiming the bronze medal.
How it unfolded
Weispfennig, a former Madison World Champion, had finally won the prestigious Bendigo Madison a fortnight earlier riding with Sydney Gold Medallist Brett Aitken - after three frustrating second place finishes. He won the 2003 Australian Madison Championships with Stefan Steinweg, and with current partner Teutenberg was the unbackable favourite to take out this year's event, riding in the Australian Abalone Exports colours.
Weispfennig rated three teams as the main threats: The FDJ.com pairing of Rod McGee and Chris Sutton; Bicycle Technologies Todd Wilksch and Tim Decker; and the current Victorian Champions, Brad Norton and Sean Finning (Drapac Property - Porsche). When asked about his chances he replied, "I think pretty good. But every race is different so you can never be sure before the race and there are a lot of good teams here. I have no idea if I have got the same good legs like two weeks ago in Bendigo. We have to try to lap the field, because the fast sprinters like Todd Wilksch and Chris Sutton, I think they are better in the sprints so we should try to take a lap."
Rod McGee was also quietly confident, "I always like to back myself a bit in a Madison event. It's one of those where experience overrides youthful exuberance, so I'm fairly confident. My legs don't feel too bad tonight. Without doubt the Germans are the number one danger, they've ridden a lot of these events and it's what they get paid the big money for over in Europe - they wouldn't be here if they weren't any good at it! This is the first year that I've ridden with Chris, but we ride a very similar style of race, and there's been no problem with us gelling together."
McGEe played his cards very close to his chest when asked what gear he would select to tackle the 50 kilometre event, offering only "something between 90 and 96" before later relenting and revealing he would bolt a 91.8 on.
The dominant rider in Victorian carnivals this season has been Horsham star Todd Wilksch. He proved to be an astute judge of others' form, and correctly nominated the winning trifecta. Having picked the Germans to win the race, he nominated Norton /Finning, and McGee/Sutton as the main dangers. Aiming for a podium finish himself, his plan was to contest the sprints leaving partner Tim Decker fresh to attack or follow attacks - and he also picked Norton and Finning to be the only ones capable of taking a lap with the German pair.
Although the final results ran much as predicted, the racing which unfolded was anything but boring. The opening laps were run at a fearsome pace, with four teams in trouble by the first sprint, which saw Chris Sutton scorch past Weispfennig to take maximum points, confirming the German's vulnerability in the sprints. Japanese rider Kouji Yoshii (Assos) produced the first serious attack just before the second sprint, and with partner Leigh De Luca up to the challenge, held off the FDJ.com led chase to snatch the win. Soon after, however, Weispfennig surged, with Finning glued to his wheel, and the two teams quickly opened a 100 meter lead. McGee launched a belated solo chase, but could not make up any ground as the two leading teams quickly approached the tail of the field around the 250 meter track.
The NSWIS team of Steve Fitzpatrick and Chris Pascoe joined the FDJ boys in a fruitless attempt to get back on terms with the attackers, but once Finning had caught the rest of the bunch, he went straight past and quickly brought the two New South Wales teams back to the bunch with over 140 laps and eight sprints still to complete.
At this point, most spectators presumed the German pairs' experience would see them run out easy winners, as they held a handy 5 point lead over the Norton /Finning combination, and needed only to follow any moves from the other teams who were a lap down. Finning and Norton obviously hadn't read the script however, and consistently out pointed the Germans over the next four sprints, drawing level on points after the 60 laps to go sprint.
Both teams continually attacked in an effort to break the deadlock, but neither was prepared to give in. At 40 laps, Teutenberg took second behind Pascoe, with Norton third, putting the Germans in the lead by a single point. The sprint at 20 laps saw the crash prone team of Patrick Shaw and Simon Clarke (Agosta Transport) take a flier, but the sprinting speed of Weispfennig saw him just get home with Norton inches behind in second, and the favourites were then three points clear with only one sprint remaining.
With five points awarded for a sprint win, the Finning and Norton had to win the final sprint, and rely on the Germans finishing no better than fourth to steal the overall victory. When Mitchell Docker (Lockwood Security Concepts) jumped away with 15 laps remaining, it seemed to have played perfectly into the leaders hands, until Finning leapt from the bunch and joined the break. It took two agonizing laps for Weispfennig to bridge to the move, at which point the race was finally safe, and he celebrated the win with a big salute to the crowd as he crossed the line in second place in the final sprint.
McGee and Sutton collected three sprint wins on their way to third placing, a lap down, narrowly holding off a late charge from the NSWIS pair. Victorian youngsters Clarke and Shaw rode to a fine fifth place, vaulting past Yoshii/De Luca with their win in the final sprint.
As the leading Australian finishers, Norton and Finning were awarded Australian Champion Jerseys. Interviewed after the presentation, the nineteen year olds were delighted with their efforts, but Norton revealed "we had high expectation after Warragul (the Victorian Championships), where we lapped Brett Aitken and Darren Young. We had a great race at Bendigo, got out early and got a few points but faded a bit in the middle, so we tried to come up again for tonight - and we did! The Germans are great old pros basically, and we're just up and coming riders, so to win the Australian Champion's Jersey it's a great honour really."
Norton hopes he has done enough to guarantee selection for the Australian Track Championships, where he will ride any event on offer "Points race, Scratch, Teams Pursuit - whatever I can get a ride in - except the sprint!" Finning will hang up his titanium track machine for the year, as he leaves for Italy shortly to join the National Under 21 Road team.
18 riders qualified for the Cyclists International Wheelrace over 1500 meters by placing in the top six of their qualification races. Weispfennig almost came to grief at the start, getting badly tangled with a pusher before threading his way back onto the track, but the loss of momentum cost the backmarkers dearly. The six B Grade riders jumped well, and took only two laps to get on terms with the C Grade finalists.
Fitzroy Cycles team mates Hamish Taylor and Tommy Nankervis combined perfectly, with Taylor taking up the pace making two laps from home, and delivering Nankervis, a handicap specialist, to the line for an easy win and was still able to hold on for second, ahead of Kain Nunn (spoke(n)).
Invitational Under 17 racing saw Abe Hastwell take out both the Motorpace and Elimination, but outstanding rides from Under 15 rider Michael Downing (Le Tour Cycles), winner of two Gold Medals at the Australian Junior Championships, saw him finish third in both races. Sister Tess, also a dual Gold Medallist, joined the field for the first time and acquitted herself well.
Jenny Macpherson (Fitzroy Cycles) had taken out the Victorian Scratch Race Championships at the Brunswick velodrome earlier in the day, and continued her good form with an impressive sprint to win the Motorpace. Only a late attack from Jessica Berry (Banana Flooring) in the Scratch race kept Macpherson from a clean sweep on the day, with Berry holding off the Champion by half a length at the line.
Daniel Thorsen (Drapac Properties/Porsche) had taken the Men's Scratch Race Championships, and also backed up with a win in the evening session, taking out the Sprint Derby ahead of Jeremy McLay (Kennedy Cycle Fit) and Joel Leonard. Leonard had earlier taken the Keirin Final in an impressive display, winning by five lengths over Damien Keirl and Brad Norton. Michael Ford (VIS) won the Aces Elimination from Simon Clarke (VIS) and Norton.
Images by Shane Goss/licoricegallery.com
Images by Mal Sawford/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Hippy/thehippy.net
Cycling Australia Australian Madison Championships 1 Erik Weispfennig/Lars Teutenberg (Ger/Australian Abalone Exports) 22 pts 2 Brad Norton/Sean Finning (Drapac Property - Porsche) 17 1 lap behind 3 Chris Sutton/Rod McGee (FDJeux.com) 20 4 Chris Pascoe/Steve Fitzpatrick (NSWIS) 17 5 Simon Clarke/Patrick Shaw (Agosta Transport) 14 6 Kouji Yoshii/Leigh De Luca (Assos) 10 7 Tim Decker/Todd Wilksch (Bicycle Technologies) 5 8 Richard England/Warren Scott (The Locker Group) 2 9 Mitchell Docker/Michael Ford (Lockwood Security Concepts) 1 4 laps behind 10 David Pell/Peter Ladd (Slazenger) 0 The Locker Group Match Sprint 1 Damien Keirl (Ballarat) 11.457 11.457 2 Jason Niblett (Horsham) 11.767 Drapac Property - Porsche C Grade Scratch 1 Daryl Keirl (Ballarat) 2 Peter Ladd (Bendigo) 3 Kain Nunn (Blackburn) 4 Peter Candy (Brunswick) 5 Matthew Pegg (Blackburn) 6 Lawrie Naughton (Bendigo) Lockwood Security Concepts B Grade Scratch 1 Tommy Nankervis (South Australia) 2 Shaun Morris (Shepparton) 3 Laurie Noonan (Brunswick) 4 Jeremy McLay (Chelsea & Peninsula) 5 Hamish Taylor (Northcote) 6 Glen Hutchinson (Footscray) Australian Abalone Exports Grade Elimination 1 Michael Ford (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Simon Clarke (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Brad Norton (Shepparton) 4 Leigh De Luca (Carnegie Caulfield) 5 Richard England (Blackburn) 6 Erik Weispfennig (Germany) John Beasley Cycles Under 17 Motorpace 1 Abe Hastwell (Ararat) 2 Leigh Howard (Geelong West) 3 Michael Downing (Carnegie Caulfield) Fortress Extended Automotive Warranties Women's Motorpace 1 Jenny Macpherson (Carnegie Caulfield) 2 Belinda Goss (Tasmania) 3 Jessica Tanner (Shepparton) Cyclists International Wheelrace 1 Tommy Nankervis (South Australia) 2 Hamish Taylor (Northcote) 3 Kain Nunn (Blackburn) John Beasley Cycles Under 17 Elimination 1 Abe Hastwell (Ararat) 2 Alex Smyth (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Michael Downing (Carnegie Caulfield) Drapac Property - Porsche C Grade Elimination 1 Peter Candy (Brunswick) 2 Peter Ladd (Bendigo) 3 Daryl Keirl (Bendigo) Slazenger B Grade Elimination 1 Hamish Taylor (Northcote) 2 Andrew Steele (Blackburn) 3 Mario Giramondo (Carnegie Caulfield) Fortress Extended Automotive Warranties Women's Motorpace 1 Jessica Berry (Bendigo) 2 Jenny Macpherson (Carnegie Caulfield) 3 Belinda Goss (Tasmania) Agosta Transport Aces Keirin 1 Joel Leonard (Footscray) 2 Damien Kierl (Bendigo) 3 Brad Norton (Shepparton) Bicycle Technologies Sprint Derby 1 Daniel Thorsen (Shepparton) 2 Jeremy McLay (Chelsea & Peninsula) 3 Joel Leonard (Footscray)