Ben Kersten, 2006 Commonwealth Games kilo gold medallist, continued his transition to road cycling with an outstanding win in the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium.
Kersten, racing for Fly V Australia, has now backed up his victory in the US Pro Criterium Championship last season by outsprinting a 65-strong professional field featuring professional teams Garmin, Footon-Servetto and Lampre.
The race was staged on the Singapore Motor Grand Prix race circuit over 105 minutes and came down to the wire, with Kersten's teammates Scott Law, Hayden Brooks and Pat Shaw providing the horsepower to neutralise a threatening breakaway with just 300 metres remaining.
Kersten, a world class 1km time trial rider on the track and more recently a powerful road sprinter, took the lead 150 metres from home and won by several lengths.
"It was touch and go in the last few laps but with a lap remaining I thought we had done enough to catch the three leaders and to challenge for the sprint," said Kersten. "I positioned myself well and once the break was caught I focused on the sprint, hitting top speed with 150 metres to go."
The Fly V Australia rider also won the Cronulla International Grand Prix last December, beating Team Sky's Chris Sutton and dual Olympic champion Graeme Brown from Rabobank. The Cronulla Grand Prix confirmed Kersten's potential, especially with Sutton going on to win the Bay Criterium Series in Victoria and the final stage of the Tour Down Under.
"The pressure was on us to deliver with two of the best sprinters in Kersten and Law. Scott Law is a great natural talent and at 18 years of age is the name to watch for the future but I was so impressed with Benny as he raced with great confidence and condition," said team director Henk Vogels.
The OCBC Cycle Singapore attracted a vast array of competitive cyclists, with 9,000 competitors contesting the supporting event, a 50km race. The numbers were up by more than 4,000 on the numbers of last year and organisers are planning to increase this even more significantly in the future.
Kersten will return to Sydney for three weeks before linking up with most of his Fly V Australia teammates in the US.
|1||Ben Kersten (Aus) Fly V Australia|
|2||Michelle Merlo (Spa) Footon Servetto|
|3||Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini|
|4||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Rapha Condor Sharp|
|5||Kenneth Hanson (USA) Team Type 1|
|6||Patrick Bevin (NZl) New Zealand|
|7||Mart Ojavee (Est) Team CKT TMIT - Champion System|
|8||Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Team CKT TMIT - Champion System|
|9||Mike Northey (NZl) New Zealand|
|10||Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor Sharp|
|11||Kyle Wamsley (USA) Bissell|
|12||Michael Phelan (Aus) Drapac Porsche|
|13||Daniel Holloway (USA) Bissell|
|14||Scott Law (Aus) Fly V Australia|
|15||Cody O'Reilly (USA) Bissell|
|16||Deon Locke (Aus) Team CKT TMIT - Champion System|
|17||Travis Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions|
|18||Joseph Lewis (Aus) Drapac Porsche|
|19||Ryan Anderson (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|20||Rob Hayles (GBr) Endura Racing Team|
|21||Scott Thwaites (GBr) Endura Racing Team|
|22||Peter Williams (GBr) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta|
|23||Aldo Ino Illesic (Slo) Team Type 1|
|24||Malcom Elliott (GBr) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta|
|25||James McCallum (GBr) Endura Racing Team|
|26||Tjarco Cuppens (Ned) Team Fuji Asia|
|27||Jeremy Yates (NZl) New Zealand|
|28||Ian Bibby (GBr) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta|
|29||Enrique Mata (Spa) Footon - Servetto|
|30||Pat Shaw (Aus) Fly V Australia|
|31||Fabio Felline (Spa) Footon - Servetto|
|32||Artyom Golovachshenko (Kaz) Team Polygon Sweet Nice|
|33||Davide Ricci Bitti (Ita) ISD - Neri Cycling Team|
|34||Roman Krazilnikov (Rus) Team Polygon Sweet Nice|
|35||Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Porsche|
|36||Kirril Kazantsev (Kaz) Team Polygon Sweet Nice|
|37||Alexander King (GBr) Endura Racing Team|
|38||Gianluca Mirenda (Ita) ISD - Neri Cycling Team|
|39||Roger Beuchat (Swi) Team CKT TMIT - Champion System|
|40||Motoi Nara (Jpn) Geumsan Ginseng Asia|
|41||Yeong Uk Kim (Kor) Geumsan Ginseng Asia|
|42||Tom Southam (GBr) Rapha Condor Sharp|
|43||Alessandro Colo' (Ita) ISD - Neri Cycling Team|
|44||Guy East (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|45||James Sampson (GBr) Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta|
|46||Andrea Grendene (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini|
|47||Mararten Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1|
|48||Salvatore Mancuso (Ita) ISD - Neri Cycling Team|
|49||Junaidi Hashim (Sin) OCBC Singapore Cycling Team|
|50||David Gutierrez (Spa) Footon - Servetto|
|51||Hayden Brooks (Aus) Fly V Australia|
|52||Yuseke Higuma (Jpn) Team Fuji Asia|
|53||Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Rapha Condor Sharp|
|54||Angus Morton (Aus) Drapac Porsche|
|55||Sergey Kudentsov (Rus) Team Polygon Sweet Nice|
|56||Jason Allen (NZl) New Zealand|
|57||Jesse Anthony (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|58||Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini|
|59||Peter Van Agtmaal (Ned) Team Fuji Asia|