By Mikkeli Godfree in Mt Beauty
As if there hadn't been enough tension and excitement for one day, the men were yet to race. Again, the Commonwealth Games were at the forefront of more than one or two riders' minds with only Chris Jongewaard (Avanti) an assured start in March at Lysterfield. Again, it was a tense, hot and dusty start line with the sun beating down on a pack of 47 elite riders. One riders was keeping cool however, with an umbrella shading him from the rays - Sid Taberlay. Was it a sponsor stunt or was Sid laying his cards on the table as taking this race bloody seriously? Time would tell.
As the gun wen, Jongewaard - in typical style - hit the front and put his South Australian hands around the throat of the race. Chris scorched the track with a 20min-flat lap while a hungry Sid came through eight seconds in arrears with Dan McConnell and Josh Fleming (Felt-Hutchinson) sniffing around within striking distance of the front two but well clear of the rest.
By the second lap, Sid had caught his Avanti team-mate Chris, but took a spill allowing the early leader to resume his position at the front of the field. With Sid scrambling back to the wheel of the '05 national champion, onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking that Chris was helping his team-mate escape the clutches of the chasers to ensure Sid took the win and with it the second spot for the Commonwealth Games. However, as the race heated up, Sid began to dominate and there was no love lost between these two as each tried to sneak off the front.
In the battle for third, Josh Fleming - national champion the last time Mount Beauty hosted the event - was doing his usual 'start slow and wind up' trick but it was too little too late and all he could do was distance himself from a tiring Dan McConnell.
For the rest of the story from the elite men's race at Aussie MTB Nationals and a complete run-down of all the championship events, follow these links: