Howzat Howsen! Damo wins but Scotson retains Bowden yellow Leader’s jersey
Round 3 of the Bowden Elite Teams Series was held at Victoria Park on an overcast and drizzly Sunday afternoon with intermittent bouts of sunshine doing enough to help dry the circuit between light rain.
The good news for the riders today was that the howling winds that have smashed the race in the previous two Rounds decided to take the day off. The bad news for anybody who was not riding for Team Lightsview was that a bloke by the name of Damien Howson was back in town after his recent Bronze medal in the U23 ITT at the UCI World Road Championships. Howson was superb and managed to get into today’s breakaway and power on for the win.
The 60 minutes plus 2 laps criterium started on a wet but quickly-drying circuit and after a few cruisy laps the pace picked up on lap 5 when Nick Wood (Bike Station/Watermark) ventured out front. “Is that Wood attacking?” was heard from the judge’s van. “Nah, he just likes to ride fast” came the response. Ride fast he did as Wood stretched the bunch to be two-abreast and about 100 metres long. The big surprise was that Chris Martin (Team Lightsview) was caught out and lost contact with the bunch.
The bunch was circulating at a constant pace regularly clocking 1:20 to 1:22 laps and numerous riders came to the front to keep the pace up without any real attacks. Soon that would all change.
The whistle blew to signal Prime Sprint #1 and as riders cornered the hairpin at the top of the long finishing straight everybody was together. A big bunch lined up for the sprint points on offer with the right-hand side of the circuit being where the heavy traffic was. The green jersey of Shaun O’Callaghan (Team Lightsview) emerged from the pack to the left-hand side and with no traffic to negotiate he was head down, bum up and a beautifully timed sprint to take the 5 points on offer. In a clean sweep of the first prime , Team Lightsview also filled the minor placings with Michael Stallard claiming 3 sprint points and Russell Van Hout snatching the last point on offer.
The end of the first prime heralded the beginning of a big attack that saw 10 riders trying to get away. Howson was there and he had some pretty good company with O’Callaghan, Wood, Harry Carpenter (SASI), Joshua Harrison (SASI), Ollie Anderson (Orbea), George Tansley (Euride Racing SA Elite), Ryan Obst (Corsa Cycling-CIC Australia), Tristan Jones (Super Elliott’s Cycles) and Russell Gill (Super Elliott’s Cycles).
A gap was quickly forming to the main bunch, which included the yellow jersey of Miles Scotson (SASI), and over the next 4 laps the lead group put 18 seconds into the pursuers. It was game on and a test of Scotson’s nerve and resolve.
Prime Sprint #2 was very keenly contested between the riders in the lead group and in particular between O’Callaghan and Carpenter. O’Callaghan chose the far right of the circuit and jumped early. Carpenter saw a gap between riders and did a ‘Sir Chris Hoy’ and went through it and grabbed O’Callaghan’s wheel but couldn’t get out of his slipstream. It was O’Callaghan, Carpenter and Anderson for the points.
The SASI boys cop a bit of stick sometimes….well….because they’re good. Purists of our sport would love watching them ride to tactics and they did it again today. With Harrison up the road and Scotson trying to defend his yellow jersey back in the pursuing bunch, Harrison sat up and dropped back to work with World Omnium Champion Glenn O’Shea (SASI) to protect Scotson and his yellow jersey lead. Finding himself surrounded by SASI was Van Hout.
There were now three groups on the circuit. Group-Howson was away and had a 15 second advantage to Group-Scotson who had a further 10 second advantage to the main bunch.
Over the next few laps Group-Howson increased its lead to Group-Scotson, mainly due to the efforts of Jones who was smashing himself on the front of the lead group for much of the time. If you ever want to see a rider give everything for his team and his team leader (Gill), Jones is the man you should watch. When the Commissaires had their post-race huddle to discuss the winner of this week’s purple Most Aggressive jersey, Jones was their clear choice.
O’Shea was doing some big turns on the front of Group-Scotson and they pulled back 6 seconds. Meanwhile, the main bunch was not organised for a chase and the two lead groups up the road were increasing their advantage on each lap.
Prime Sprint#3 was set for another O’Callaghan versus Carpenter battle but Wood decided he wanted to join the party too. The green jersey was hammering towards the judges and then out came Carpenter with Wood on his wheel. Carpenter was making fast ground and the line could not come quick enough for O’Callaghan who just held off Carpenter by a bee’s whisker with Wood claiming third. It was a clean sweep today by O’Callaghan of all the Primes and he keeps his green sprinter’s jersey.
With just 12 minutes plus 2 laps of racing remaining Group-Howson led Group-Scotson by just 11 seconds but the advantage of having a larger group of riders was about to pay dividends for the lead group and over the next 4 laps their lead would increase to 24 seconds. It was a brave chase by Group-Scotson but weight of numbers got them in the end.
With the lead group now closing down on lapping the main bunch Chief Commissaire David Schutz decided to give the main bunch the bell to sort out positions 13th and down and get them off the circuit so that the front-runners had a clear run to the finish. It was a very good decision.
The two lead groups were now seperated by 22 seconds and as Group-Howson was given the call of “Two laps to go!” it was none other than Jones on the front with Gill on his lieutenant’s wheel and O’Callaghan sitting on Gill, then followed by Tansley and co.
Ding, ding, ding. The riders were on the frenetic last lap and reigning SA Criterium Champion Tansley was looking good as he found a nice spot letting Wood and Obst do the work. Howson was up there and O’Callaghan and Carpenter were sitting side-by-side waiting to light their after-burners. Jones was almost done from his huge efforts on the front and was going back through the pack and this brought Gill out to play.
Howson jumped but had he gone too early? It’s nice to be the first into the hairpin but it is a long, long finishing straight that has caught-out many a rider in the past. Howson had a gap and it was going to be a big effort from anybody to pull back a world-class time trial rider over the final run to the finish. Tansley was on the rivet and Carpenter, O’Callaghan, Wood, Gill, Obst and Anderson were all jostling for clean air in the dying metres.
Howson afforded himself a quick look over the shoulder and a little fist-pump as he crossed the line to claim the win in Round 3. Carpenter out-sprinted the others for the minor placings and grabbed 2nd place on the podium, followed by Tansley in 3rd.
Scotson retains his Bowden yellow Leader’s jersey but his lead has been cut by Carpenter, who has now had two second-placings. It’s getting busy at the top in the GC classification but there is plenty of racing to go in the series.
Our special thanks to our major sponsor, Bowden. The Bowden urban renewal project is fantastic for our State. Do yourself a favour and check out their website at www.lifemoreinteresting.com.au and register your interest. It will be a magnificent place to live.
Thanks also to our partner sponsors Champion System; Santos; Image Shopfitting Constructions (ISC); and Focus Bikes. Thank you to David Schutz and his team of Commissaires; Graeme Zucker our race commentator; all of our corner marshals and volunteers; Viv Bing and her sports medicine staff; Kevin from Chameleon Photography; Marie and Kylie from CSA; Ray Hedley for his great help in setting-up and packing-up; and Norwood CC for hosting support graded crits earlier in the day.
See you at Round 4.
Bowden Elite Team Series (2012) - Round 3
TOP 10 PLACINGS: ROUND 3
1. Damien Howson (Team Lightsview)
2. Harry Carpenter (SASI)
3. George Tansley (Euride Racing SA Elite)
4. Shaun O?allaghan (Team Lightsview)
5. Nick Wood (Bike Station/Watermark)
6. Russell Gill (Super Elliot’s Cycles)
7. Ryan Obst (Corsa Cycles-CIC Australia)
8. Oliver Anderson (Team Orbea)
9. Tristan Jones (Super Elliott’s Cycles)
10. Miles Scotson (SASI)