January 12, 2006
I have just stepped out of the Caravello team van after a quick trip back from Melbourne for the Bay Series Criteriums.
The FRF Couriers/Caravello team consisted of Peter McDonald, Tony Mann, Jason Hegert, Robbie Cater and me. After a long drive down from Sydney, picking up Peter and Robbie on the way, we stopped in at Melbourne airport for our last pick up, Tony Mann. Jason would meet us at the Mercure in Geelong as he just had a short drive from Ballarat to contend with.
The first day at Williamstown saw Peter take 6th place. Tony rode aggressively the whole day, just getting reeled in by the bunch on the last lap. I had an ok day, and had a bit of a sprint for the 10th place on offer. I finished about 4th in the group. The other two guys unfortunately got stuck behind a crash and never saw the front of the race again.
Day two...Portarlington. This is one very tough crit. Peter once again showed his form and managed 4th on the day after being on the attack from the gun. Tony once again rode aggressively and finished 9th. I bashed my way around, but got shook with five to go. This is actually the longest I have ever gone around this circuit. The other young guys were learning a lot, and what a steep learning curve it is.
Geelong + Hot Dog course = Pain
This was the fastest crit I have ever done. Period. After 15 minutes there was only about 20 riders left. It was just absolutely flat out. Unfortunately, Peter pulled up with a bit of pain in the knee and we couldn't muster a result towards the finish. Richard England rode a great race to take the Australian title.
The fourth day was a few hot laps of the Botanic Gardens in Geelong. Once again it was flat strap. The course had a nasty, bumpy section which took its toll on the riders and took out others. A crash mid way through the race took a number of riders out of contention, whilst up front the race split to pieces with Robbie McEwen taking the win.
On the morning of the 4th day the team participated in Amy's Ride, I hope the ride continues to grow in the future.
The final day is always a mixed bag, with the series leaders watching each other there is the chance to slip into a breakaway for the riders who are not in overall contention. Tony got the ball rolling in the first 15 minutes, riding strong in the front group. This was brought back and I managed to make my way into the selection that countered the first move. We began to swap off turns and having no riders in the break that would threaten the lead of Hilton Clarke, we were allowed our freedom.
Mark Renshaw rode across to the break, making seven in the front. We pretty much just kept plugging through the turns, leaving the one Drapac rider sitting on the back not doing a turn. After about 30 minutes in front, and knowing that the winner would come from one of us seven, a few attacks were put in but to no avail. We all rounded the last corner together. I could only manage 5th, oh well. Renshaw held off the Drapac rider to take the win.
The trip back to Sydney was a lot faster than the trip down...thanks Dom. Unlike the trip to Melbourne we were not passed by six semi trailers, we were doing the overtaking!
A thank you must be extended to Dominic, Frank (for coming down on the last few days) and Lawrence Mann for helping out with the team.
Next week we are off to the Australian titles, hopefully the form comes along for the journey.