Simon Gerrans wins second national road race title
Victoria’s Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) claimed his second elite men’s road race in three years in an exciting finale of the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong yesterday.
In what was dubbed by some as the best elite men’s field to assemble in the championship’s history, the 18th and final lap delivered a memorable finish to the race.
A four-man sprint to the line featured a brilliant display of tactics from 2012 champion Gerrans, 2011 Tour De France champion Cadel Evans (BMC), 2013 Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Gerrans’ teammate Cameron Meyer.
The quartet traded attacks throughout the final few kilometres, where it was Gerrans who had the goods to out-fox and eventually outsprint Evans and Porte on the line.
Late attacks from Victorian’s Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) and Mark O’Brien (Avanti) were marked by 2013 criterium champion Meyer (WA) and team Belkin’s Jack Bobridge (SA), while Gerrans took advantage of the confusion and tried to make a break himself.
Gerrans earned a small gap on the final king of the mountain before Evans joined him on the descent. Eventual fourth placed Meyer then bridged with Porte before launching a selfless attack in an attempt to shake Porte and Evans.
“I knew I had good legs [and] as long as we were all together, I was pretty confident I could win in that scenario,” said Gerrans. “Cameron Meyer fully committed for me today, he rode his guts out there for me so it’s huge thrill to finish it off for the team.”
Some 135 riders set out on 18 laps of the 10.2km famed Mt Buninyong circuit, with just a total of 41 finishing the punishing 183km race.
There was no time wasted in forming the early break – which swelled to 17 riders by lap four – with Drapac and Orica-GreenEDGE well represented.
Drapac drove the group which achieved a maximum advantage of over three minutes before it dwindled to four with two laps remaining, and was subsequently absorbed by the remaining peloton as the bell sounded.
Follow the link for results from the 2014 men’s elite Australian national road race championships. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Gracie Elvin makes history with back-to-back nationals wins
Canberra’s Gracie Elvin became the first woman in 20 years to claim back-to-back women’s road race crowns at the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong yesterday.
Elvin (Orica-AIS) equaled the performance of Kathy Watt (1992-1994), edging out 2011 criterium champion Lauren Kitchen (NSW) and 2013 Subaru National Road Series winner Katrin Garfoot (QLD) in a sprint to the line.
It was the Orica-AIS outfit’s third women’s road race title in a row (Spratt 2012), an honour and privilege revered by the number one ranked professional team.
“To wear the jersey over in Europe is a pretty big deal for us. We’re the only Australian pro-team, so it’s important for us,” said Elvin.
Elvin and Kitchen recovered after being dropped on the final climb, while Elvin’s teammates Amanda Spratt (NSW) and Shara Gillow (QLD) crested the climb in contact with the small group also containing Emily Roper (QLD), Tiffany Cromwell (SA) and Garfoot.
“I was holding on for dear life on that last climb, I just couldn’t do it,” explained Elvin. “I was with Lauren and was thankful she dragged me back.
Earlier in the race, Victoria’s Lisa Jacobs broke free from the peloton at the bottom of the second Queen of the Mountain climb, with the bunch content to allow her to achieve a maximum advantage of over three minutes.
After 45km, Bridie O’Donnell (VIC) tried her luck to bridge to Jacobs, however even with the help of Orica-AIS’ Jessie Maclean (ACT), the pair were absorbed by the peloton with three laps remaining.
Elvin immediately launched a counter attack, catching a fading Jacobs inside the final 25km. A last ditch effort by Miranda Griffiths (VIC) to join the pair went unrewarded before Cromwell (Specialized Lululemon) and Garfoot (Queensland Institute of Sport) launched a perfectly timed attack to catch a powering Elvin with 15km remaining.
However the trio didn’t have enough in reserves to out-climb a desperate six-rider strong peloton, with the lead bunch catching the group with 10 kilometres remaining before the fireworks of the final lap played out.
In the women’s under 23 category, a sensational performance by 19-year-old Emily Roper (QLD) clinched her the gold medal. Roper added to her time trial gold medal and criterium bronze medal as the first under 23 rider across the line, finishing in the final group with Elvin and second placed Jenelle Crooks (QLD). Third place went to Jessica Mundy (SA).
Follow the link for results from the 2014 elite women’s Australian national road race. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Caleb Ewan takes second nationals title
Caleb Ewan (NSW) clinched his second national title in two days following an emphatic victory in the under 23 men’s road race at the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong.
Ewan, who triumphed in Thursday night’s criterium in the Ballarat’s CBD, outsprinted his rivals in the final few hundred metres of the 132km race. The West Australian duo of Robert Power and Bradley Linfield rounded out the podium.
“I’m over the moon,” Ewan exclaimed. “I’m so happy with how I went. I feel a bit more relaxed now, I couldn’t really soak it in after the crit on Thursday but to get both titles, I’m really happy with that.”
With one lap remaining, Ewan was part of a six-man leading group with Tom Hamilton (VIC) Harry Carpenter (SA), Alex Clements (TAS), Robert McCarthy (SA) and Shaun O’Callahan (VIC). Over the top of the king of the mountain, Linfield and Power joined the group and launched attack after attack in an attempt to tire the renowned sprinter Ewan. But their efforts were in vain with the soon-to-be Orica-GreenEDGE member showing his strength in the final push to the line.
“The last time up that climb I was cramping the whole way, I just had to make it look like I wasn’t going that hard when they attacked me,” an elated Ewan said.
The day began with a breakaway group of five forming on the second lap including Jason Loundes (VIC), Michael Crosby (VIC), Mitchell Cooper (VIC), Samuel Wood (QLD) and Jeremy Cameron (VIC). The group worked well together to establish a lead of over one-and-a-half minutes before the bunch eventually dropped back to a strong peloton with 48km remaining.
Numerous attacks and breakaway attempts followed before Ewan found himself in the right move inside the final 20km.
Follow the link for results from the 2014 U23 men’s Australian national road race. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Chris Horner signs with TAI PDX Cycling … or does he?
Much has been written in the past few months about where 2013 Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner will end up this year, and Horner himself has got in on the action overnight.
Horner retweeted a whole host of tweets from different teams (and from teams in different sports!) suggesting that they had signed the 42-year-old American.
— Jeff Standish (@jstando) January 12, 2014
— Nick Blakiston (@nickblakiston) January 12, 2014
— UO Cycling (@uocycling) January 12, 2014
Reports last week suggested Horner was close to signing a deal with Danish Continental team Christina Watches but Cooke suggested over the weekend that such reports were presumptuous.
Heading out the door for training now, so no new team signings in the next few hours… ;)
— Chris Horner (@hornerakg) January 12, 2014
Trek Factory Racing reveals 2014 squad and new kit
The Trek Factory Racing team has had it’s official launch over the weekend with more than 1,200 fans, Trek retailers and media personnel heading to the Velodrome de Roubaix to meet the new team.
The squad was launched by Trek vice president Joe Vadeboncoeur, who said, “Today is a huge day in the history of Trek and this team. We love racing and can’t wait for the season to start. This is a big step for Trek and big step for cycling. We have built an international team that will work hard to make the fans part of the team.”
Our new kit , since yesterday officially revealed! pic.twitter.com/eMpwErNizt
— Jens Voigt (@thejensie) January 11, 2014
The Trek squad for the Tour Down Under is currently en-route to Adelaide for the first WorldTour race of the season.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Garmin partners with POC
Team Garmin-Sharp officially announced their partnership with Swedish company POC over the weekend after Rohan Dennis and Steele von Hoff were spotted wearing POC helmets at the Australian national championships over the past few days.
“I really believe the POC range of helmets is revolutionary in bringing new levels of comfort, aerodynamics and cooling to the market,” stated Dan Martin, stage winner in the 2013 Tour de France and Liège-Bastogne-Liège plus Volta a Catalunya victor.
“I am blown away by POC’s advanced design and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with them this season.”
The helmets have attracted some early attention for looking noticeably different to other helmets on the market, the time trial helmet in particular.
Click here to read more at VeloNation.
De Gendt looking to rebuild career with one-year contract
Thomas De Gendt didn’t have the greatest season with Vacansoleil-DCM last year but the Belgian is hoping a one-year deal with Omega Pharma-QuickStep will allow him to rebuild his promising career.
“It was a tough year, that’s for sure, but I learned a lot. It was a year filled with a lot of bad luck, maybe 2013 was my unlucky 13 but it’s over and I can only look forward”, De Gednt told CyclingNews. “I learned about where my injury was coming from and perhaps Vacansoleil stopping was the best thing that could have happened.”
De Gendt’s race schedule remains under wraps for the moment but the Belgian is keen to get back to the consistency he enjoyed in 2012.
“I want to start the first races this season with good feelings and have that condition right from the off rather than chasing form and chasing form. If you do that it’s so hard to reach your top level. I don’t know my complete program yet. I’ll start in Mallorca and then we’ll go from there.”
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Interview with Joel Pearson and Steven Waite of African Wildlife Safaris
The African Wildlife Safaris team recently announced that they were applying for a Continental license in order to be eligible for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Now, Joel Pearson and Steven Waite from the Australian National Road Series team, has spoken with Cycling News about the team’s ambitions and what we can expect of them in 2014.
Here’s an excerpt:
“CN: What differences did you anticipate in moving up to Continental level and what will be your team aims now you can participate in wider range of races?
Joel: From NRS to Continental, it isn’t that much different except for more paperwork and expense. Especially in Australia as it doesn’t really allow you to do much than you can do anyhow as there is only one race in Australia that it opens the door for you to and that the (Jayco Herald) Sun Tour.
Steven: We’ve done it primarily and almost solely for the Sun Tour. If there are opportunities that present themselves thereafter, we might look at them.
Click here to read the full interview.
How to climb stairs without dismounting
Check out this effort by Cody Kaiser at the US cyclocross championships over the weekend.
It’s unclear whether this technique is more energy efficient than simply dismounting and running up the stairs but it’s certainly more impressive.
Click here for a video explanation of how the technique works.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:
- Behind the scenes of Drapac’s big step up
- Ride Tall: the Robert Hodgson story
- How to become a better criterium racer