The Ritchie Blvd circuit is a 600m “hot dog” course which is something fairly unique to racing in Australia. Nowhere else in the world have I raced or seen races on these heinous circuits. It’s a great course for spectators, but terrifying for the riders. It’s basically a 250m full-out sprint, brake hard into the corner, and then another 250m sprint again. It only takes 10 minutes before the race beings splitting to shreds. If you’re not up at the front in the top 20, the concertina effect begins to take its toll, riders begin opening gaps, and whole groups begin dropping off the back. I’ve seen some of the best riders in the world get spat out the back on this circuit.
ELITE WOMEN’S RACE
In the Elite Women’s race it was Kimberly Wells (Specialized Securitor) who upstaged a dominate Orica-AIS to take the win.
“It always makes you feel better coming in having had some good results, I also did a Gold Coast cycling festival, with another crit there, so that has definitely helped in the preparation,” Wells said.
“Coming into today I was feeling really nervous because it’s a real step up in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.”
Wells, a doctor off the bike, took full advantage of the Orica GreenEDGE-AIS lead train.
“The GreenEDGE girls are always up the front and us Specialized girls were trying to infiltrate that. I was keen to try and break them up. We all saw their lead out train at the end of today’s race and I wanted to jump in on it.”
After the first intermediate sprint the peloton came together causing havoc and forced Wells into the fence and off her bike.
“Bouncing all over the place, I was involved in one of the crashes and smashed my ankle into the fence.
“I’ve taken a bit skin off, but a bit of ice will fix that up.”
Wells, strong enough to continue fighting did enough to win over defending champion Melissa Hoskins.
ELITE MEN’S RACE
Caleb Ewan has to be one of the most exciting riders I’ve ever watched at the Bay Crits. The guy is only 18 years old and has the confidence, smarts, fitness and talent to outsprint and outwit some of the best riders in the world. The amazing thing is, Caleb doesn’t even reckon he’s a sprinter – he’s more of a climber he says.
“I haven’t raced for a while so I didn’t know how I was going to go in the race, this week we did a few hard training sessions with the bike and with that I came up pretty good for the race,” Ewan, who was riding for Bikebug, said.
In the closing part of the race, New Zealand’s Tom Scully (Grays Online) and Jensen Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE) who did a lot of the work at the front, opening a seven second gap only to be eaten up by Ewan and Degani Bakery Cafe’s Greg Henderson on the final lap.
“With five laps to go I didn’t think we could bring them back, there wasn’t really a big organised chase, just the Drapac guy sitting on the front and I knew once he blew there were two GreenEDGE guys and I knew they wouldn’t chase, so Jonny got on the front and drilled it,” Ewan said.
It was the experienced Jonathan Cantwell who set up the moves for Bikebug.
“He basically told me what to do, you would see me just following him around everywhere just watching.”
“Brad McGee told me to watch everything he does because his obviously experienced.”
Teammate Jack Edwards also played a big role early to help setup the win for Ewan.
“I couldn’t see him for the first half of the race, which was the plan, and then later on I saw him come flying through the pack. His really strong for his age,” said Ewan.
Coming off last year’s impressive performance its clear Ewan has an air of confidence about him and bigger things are destined for the NSWIS ride.
“Winning last year I had the ability to come into the race more confident and felt a lot better mentally.”
“As a 17-year-old coming into the race I was a bit overwhelmed, they’re big guys, they race full time, but once I got into the race and won it I felt much more confident and they gave me much more respect.”
“Receiving the yellow jersey, it’s going to be a little bit easier to keep with only three stages, I really like the Bay Crits and it’s a shame they had to cut it to three.”
Stage 1: Ritchie Boulevard, Geelong Eastern Beach
Elite Men’s Results
|3||Thomas SCULLY||Grays Online||8|
|4||Graham BRIGGS||Great Britain National Team||7|
|5||Greg HENDERSON||Degani Bakery Café||6|
|6||Thomas PALMER||Drapac Professional||5|
|8||Simon YATES||Great Britain||3|
|9||Brenton JONES||Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth||2|
|10||Anthony GIACOPPO||Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth||1|
Elite Women’s Results
|1||Kimberley WELLS||Specialized Securitor||12|
|2||Melissa HOSKINS||Orica – AIS||10|
|3||Rochelle GILMORE||Wiggle Honda||8|
|4||Kate FINEGAN||Specialized Securitor||7|
|5||Nicole WHITBURN||Liv / Giant||6|
|6||Peta MULLENS||Anytime Fitness Trek||5|
|7||Sarah ROY||Crino Cycles – Casa & Bottega||4|
|8||Loes GUNNEWIJK||Orica – AIS||3|
|9||Jenny MACPHERSON||Liv / Giant||2|
Sprint ACE Classification
Elite Men’s Results
|1||Greg HENDERSON||Degani Bakery Cafe||6|
|3||Graham BRIGGS||Great Britain||2|
Elite Women’s Results
|1||Kate FINEGAN||Specialized Securitor||3|
|2||Loes GUNNEWIJK||Orica – AIS||3|
Don’t forget, for those of you in Australia highlights of the Bay Crits will be shown at 9.30pm on SBS 2 nightly from 1-3 January.