It was a controversial and messy stage yesterday and resembled a Madison more than a criterium. With 90 riders on a 600m long course there’s bound to be confusion and mayhem. I don’t know why they put this many riders on this short of a course. Usually the 30 guys in the back don’t stand a chance. As it turned out, the 75 guys in the back didn’t even finish.
A gun rider from NZ named Tom Scully went off the front of the bunch at about half way into the race and did an impressive solo ride for a number of laps. There was about a 100m gap between Scully and a strong chase bunch (Koen de Kort, CJ Sutton, Jez Hunt, Johnny Walker, Jack Bobdridge, Greg Henderson) and then another 100m gap containing the rest of the peloton. Walker and Bobdridge crashed and then somehow were allowed to join Scully to create a 3 man break while the rest of their former chase group were caught. This changed the dynamics of the race massively as there’s no way Scully would have stayed away.
Scully, Bobridge and Walker worked well together and lapped the main peloton. Another strong group hand already formed ahead of the peloton who were allowed to continue the race. The lapped peloton however contained big names like Brown and McEwen. Just as the announcer said that the front breakaway was about to be lapped Brown attacked and got about a 20m gap (he wanted to get away from the main bunch so he wouldn’t be pulled). When the commissaire told Brown to pull off is when he went off like a loose can0n, swerved his bike at him, and said a few choice words. I don’t think the $250 fine that he received was nearly enough for that type of behavior in front of thousands.
In the end Scully pulled off an impressive win with Bobridge and Walker making up the next placings. Koen de Kort put in an exceptional ride and would have bridged up to the lead break-away if he had another lap. Koen came up with an impressive 4th.
I’ll update more later with some great photos I recieved late last night. My apologies in advance for my sloppy writing. I’m holding the rest of the team up as I write this as we’re now moving to Williamstown which will be an exciting race. More updates to come later!