Masters Criteriums Conclude In Marulan
The criteriums featured on day two and three of the 2012 Cycling Australia Masters Road National Championships with the women’s criterium kicking off the action on Thursday in Marulan.
Riders were once again faced with windy conditions, making the 1.2km circuit tricky for all races with all women’s categories were combined into three races; WMAS1-2, WMAS3-4 and WMAS5+, with all riders were eligible for individual medals.
The WMAS1-2 race was the first to take place with 30 minutes + three laps awaiting a field of 12 riders, with WMAS2 competitors Felicity Wardlaw (MTBA VIC) and Melina Bernecker (USA) forming an early breakaway after only three laps. Both would lap the field with ease as they formed an unassailable lead by sharing the pace making.
Despite falling on a tight corner mid race, Wardlaw was able to snare a sprint victory over Bernecker, with Simone Grounds (Balmoral) winning bronze. Lisa Antill (Sydney Uni Velo) picked up gold in the WMAS1 category with her fifth place across the line.
Jane Walker (Hamilton Pine River Wheelers) was the winner of the second race of the day, with a gutsy win over local favourite Michelle Crawford (Goulburn) in the WMAS3 category. A four girl breakaway formed mid race comprising Jane Walker, Michelle Crawford, Annabel Cox (Port Adelaide) and Linda White (Lifecycle). The break worked well until the final lap when Walker and Crawford broke clear in the final moments, resulting in Walker winning the dash for the line.
“I knew that I had to watch her (Crawford) and stay with her. A couple of times I thought I was going to lose them on the climbs, I just hung on” Walker said. “I do my best in the sprint, sometimes I do well and sometimes I don’t. Today was one of my good days” she added. Linda White was the recipient of the WMAS4 gold medal with her third place finish, only a couple of seconds behind Walker and Crawford.
The final event of the day saw the WMAS5+ riders brave the heavy winds with Jane Youdan (Balmoral) took the overall honours ahead of Gaye Lynn (Sutherland Shire) and Susan Tierney (Bicisport).
Challenged by the conditions, Youdan was happy to stay upright. “It was a bit scary, the wind almost caught my wheel a few times but I managed to hang in there and keep my head down”.
Jane Youdan won the WMAS5 category, Philippa Read (St Kilda) took out the WMAS6, Gaye Lynn the WMAS7 and Rosemary Hastings (Bathurst) the WMAS8.
Beautiful sunny weather welcomed riders on Friday for nine men’s criterium races in the action-packed day at the Marulan Driver Training Centre. The winds were down in comparison with the previous two days, making conditions conducive to fast racing.
The opening race of the day was taken out by Richard Spinks (Northern Sydney) who was by far the strongest rider in the MMAS9-10 field. Spinks went solo from 15 minutes, lapping the field to claim a comprehensive victory. Mark Nicholls (Sutherland Shire) took out the MMAS10 category ahead of Barry Robins (Waratah Masters).
The MMAS8 was similar to the previous race with two riders breaking from the peloton early in the race and taking control. Colin Maciver (Armidale) and Darrell Wheeler were the dominant riders; Wheeler prevailing in a tight sprint finish. Paul Jensen (Ffast) was the victor in the MMAS7 race overtaking Bryan Walsh (Carnegie Caufield) in a tight tussle to the line.
The MMAS6 race was one of the more thrilling races with Paul Mandl (Manly Warringah) winning a six-man sprint over Bruce Phelps (Grafton) and Ian Lovell (Hunter Disctrict).
“It was just all on and I was struggling” is how Mandl described the final dash to the finish. Mandl was aleady planning for tomorrow’s road race, “I’m going to stay in the bunch and not do the sort of moves I tried at the state championships, which were fun but not smart”.
The star studded MMAS4 race saw former Olympian Eddie Salas (Penrith) take the hotly contested victory over Graeme Allbon (Randwick Botany) and Scott Butler (Illawarra). The three riders to make the podium formed an early break, joined by Michael Cheesman (Mackay) and David Crosswell (Hamilton Pine) in the final laps.
“We were playing cat and mouse at the front, no one wanted to do too much of a turn. The other two riders for back on as a result”, Salas said. “I don’t do too many kilometres these days so I had to stay fresh for a good sprint at the finish”.
Jayson Austin (Bicisport) stole the show in the MMAS3 category with a tear away win over the final straight. Austin recovered from a poor start to the race and was able to break clear of Stephen Pearce (Collie) and Mark Fenner (Nowra Velo) in the final moments to seal a comfortable victory.
“I thought it was going to stay together, so I took a gamble I guess. I normally pin the ears back and have a go but today I thought I’d sit back and just wait until the end for one last big effort to pay dividends, and it did”, Austin commented.
In the final races of the day; Peter Milostic (Penrith) did it easy in the final phases of the MMAS2 race due to a fall by Alex Gardner (Manly Warringah) and Michael O’Connor won over Jonathon Hazelton in the MMAS1 category.
The championships will conclude on Saturday with road races taking place in nearby Gunning.