Bowden Elite Team Series (2012) - Round 1
The highly anticipated opening Round of the Bowden Elite Teams Series was held this afternoon in the magnificent Victoria Park environs. A funny day greeted riders: warmth, dead calm conditions and brilliant sunshine early for the junior crits; then a bit of rain and a wet circuit for some senior graded crits; followed by more sunshine, a bit of wind but thankfully a dry circuit for the Bowden Elite Teams. Yes, a funny old day.
However, there was nothing funny about Miles Scotson’s (SASI) ride today as the newly crowned World Junior Track Champ rode a superb race to claim his first Yellow Jersey in the Bowden Elite Teams Series. But first……..
Thirteen teams comprising 62 riders received their briefing from Chief Commissaire Mike Harnett before he sent them on their way for 60 minutes plus 3 laps of criterium racing. The wind was gusting almost directly across the circuit giving riders a cross-wind to contend with for much of the race.
The early stages saw riders lapping in the mid to high 1:30s before the first real attack was launched by 2012 Australian Olympian and World Junior Track Champion Alex Edmondson (SASI). Earlier in the week Edmondson had modelled the Bowden Yellow Leader’s Jersey at the photo-launch for the series and had quipped “This will be the closest I get to actually wearing it.” He is a modest man.
Edmondson was pulled back and over the next three to four laps there were sporadic launches by individuals off the front of the bunch including Andrew Roe (Euride Racing SA Elite), Fred Bonail (ISC-Focus Bikes), Frank Smith (Super Elliott’s Cycles) and Fraser Northey (Euride Racing SA Elite). All were short-lived as a somewhat nervous bunch, probably mindful of what happens when bunches split in cross-winds, chased down the would-be burglars.
The pace increased and then a blistering attack was launched by Michael Stallard (Team Lightsview) that saw a reaction from Ed Bissaker (Catlike), Tom Kaesler (SASI) and three other riders whose numbers we couldn’t get as we felt the ‘whoosh’ of air as they passed our vantage point at great speed. The lead 5 quickly put 6 seconds into the bunch.
Prime Sprint #1 arrived and it was Stallard and Bissaker who were off the front and duelling for the points on offer. Stallard went early on the very long straight to the line and might have made a tactical error by riding over to the left side of the circuit and allowing ‘Big Ed’ to draft him with the cross-wind from the left. Bissaker emerged and with both riders throwing their steeds at the line he out-pointed Stallard in a very close photo finish. Meanwhile back in the bunch Kaesler showed a great turn of speed to explode out of the front and show a clean set of wheels to his pursuers.
The wind now started to play havoc and the bunch split into three groups. The lead group of about 10 riders, with Stallard handing out some pain, were now lapping in the mid 1:20s. The pace was on. A big group of about 25 riders were trying to organise a chase and out the back the riders in the third group were finding it a tough day in the office. Some found the pace in the opening stanza of the series a bit too hot and elected to DNF. They will be better for the run after blowing out the winter cobwebs.
A crash occurred that saw London 2012 Paralympic Gold Medal winner Scott McPhee (Bike Station-Watermark) hit the bitumen. McPhee, who won the Green Sprinter’s Jersey in the last series, is as tough as old boots and picked himself up and re-joined the race. He would later go to hospital to have some cuts checked out but we’ve heard he is okay.
A Commissaire’s dream for judging Prime Sprints is to have a small number of riders off the front and that is what they got again for Sprint #2 courtesy of Messrs Bissaker, Stallard and Shaun O’Callaghan (Team Lightsview). Bissaker jumped first and had too many watts for Stallard and O’Callaghan. Bissaker was now the ‘virtual leader’ of the green jersey.
A big gap was forming with 17 seconds back to the chasing bunch. In a touch of deja vu from the last series, it was Russell Gill (Super Elliott’s Cycles) doing a lot of work on the front without too much assistance before Kaesler and Tristan Jones (Super Elliott’s) started coming through for turns. All the while, Scotson was looking very comfortable in the bunch and riding cleverly to the conditions to conserve as much energy as possible. Scotson’s big kick would soon come to the fore.
Prime Sprint #3 took place with a hard-chasing bunch closing the gap down to just 7 seconds. Stallard had come to play today and still had energy to burn with a great sprint to take the maximum points on offer with Kaesler and O’Callaghan breathing down his neck. Stallard’s nicely timed sprint would see him pip Bissaker by just 1 point in the green jersey contest.
The bell heralded the final lap and it was helter-skelter. Scotson, Roe and Kaesler were off the front and the chasing bunch was being led by Chris Luxton (Orbea) to try and shut them down. The lead trio rounded the final hairpin and lined-up for home with Scotson choosing his line down the far right side of the finishing straight. Roe grabbed Scotson’s wheel and their pace was too much for Kaesler as the young gun got spat off Roe’s wheel.
Enter ‘the kick.’ With Roe seemingly in Scotson’s slipstream, the latter went ‘wham’ and easily starting gapping Roe…..and kept going. Scotson crossed the line to claim Yellow, with Roe in second place, followed by Kaesler, Bissaker, Tansley, Edmondson, O Callaghan, Luxton and Gill. Congratulations Miles!
Jersey holders after Round 1:
Bowden yellow Leader’s Jersey – Miles Scotson
Champion System green Sprinter’s Jersey – Michael Stallard
Santos white Best Young Rider’s Jersey – Tom Kaesler
ISC red Master’s Jersey – Chris Luxton
Focus Bikes purple Most Aggressive Jersey – Shaun O’Callaghan
Cycling SA thanks:
Our new major sponsor, Bowden, for their wonderful support of this series;
Our category jersey sponsors Champion System, Santos, Image Shopfitting Constructions (ISC) and Focus Bikes;
Mike Harnett and his team of Commissaires;
Our track announcer and commentator, Graeme Zucker;
Dennis and Viv, our Sports Trainers (medical);
CSA staff Marie and Kylie;
Ray Hedley, Robert Hedley, Stuart Anderson and all the track-side volunteers.
See you at Round 2.