Matthews moves into overall lead with win

Cromwell dominates hectic women's race

Under-23 World Champion Michael Matthews has started his new professional career with a bang, claiming a brilliant victory in stage two of the Jayco Bay Series in Portarlington, Australia.

The 20-year-old, riding for Urban in the series, edged out his breakaway companion and multiple Grand Tour stage winner Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) in a close sprint finish. Matthews' series team-mate Joe Lewis, who is riding for the Trek-Livestrong team in 2011, rounded out the podium. Matthews' win also put him in the overall series lead, taking the yellow jersey from Matthew Goss.

“I just wanted to break up the field a bit and see what I could do as I'm not a rider who can sit in all day and sprint with the fast boys so I need to make it a bit hard for the field so I can have a real strong sprint,” a delighted Matthews said after the race.

The Portarlington circuit is highly technical, considered the toughest in the series with a small hill making life difficult for the peloton. Immediately after the race start Team Sky tried to animate proceedings, with Chris Sutton making an early move.

Adam Phelan (Urban) went with Sutton but the move didn't last long as the peloton was keen to keep any breaks in check. Alex Ray (Rush Racing), Tom Palmer (02 Networks), Gerrans and Wes Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tas) were just some of the handful of riders to try and break away.

With the peloton wary of such a strong move getting clear however, they were brought back before Matthews made his dash for glory off the front, with Gerrans on his wheel.

Over the next two laps the duo enjoyed a 20-second buffer over the peloton. Other riders tried to move from the peloton, most notably Damian Howson (Jayco AIS) but despite their best efforts they couldn't reach the leading duo, which was working well together.

With half of the hour-long race completed, Gerrans and Matthews' lead grew out to over half a minute. Chris Sutton and Greg Henderson joined forces with David Tanner (Lowe Farms) and Bernard Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tas) to try and chase down the break.

With Gerrans up the road, Sky's tactics bewildered the crowd and the commentators but after a lap, it appeared that the men in black were forcing the pace to put race leader Goss under pressure in the peloton.

The move did bring the duo's lead down to under 20 seconds but was nullified as a new group formed, instigated by local Leigh Howard (Jayco VIS). He was joined by Sutton and Lewis but the move only lasted half a lap.

As the lead decreased to 17 seconds and with eight laps to go, Wes and Bernie Sulzberger attacked the peloton which was splitting due to the pace and were joined by Henderson and Lewis. The quartet tried its best to bridge the gap but was unable to chase down the duo.

Matthews did most the work in the last part of the race and in a blistering performance held off Gerrans in the final four hundred metres.

“We heard that Henderson was trying to bridge across so Gerrans stopped working with six laps to go and I did all the work. I asked him what we were going to do and he said we would sprint it out. I managed to outsprint him and I was happy with that,” Matthews explained.

“It was a real hard race and for Joe Lewis to get third made it even better.”

Overnight leader Matthew Goss finished in seventh position and relinquished the leader's yellow jersey to Matthews; the young gun couldn't stop smiling. “It feels good. It's my first time in the Bay Series,” said Matthews.

Goss' placing was important for the overall tour and he acknowledged that after the race. “It was pretty important. I felt pretty good. However, I tried to do too much too early and it cost me in the end. Tomorrow's circuit is hard and we'll see what happens,” said the Tasmanian.

Gerrans and Lewis happy with their performances.

Simon Gerrans took the green points jersey from Graeme Brown today after capturing points in every sprint and was happy with the ride.

“Full credit to Michael, he earned it after doing a lot of work in the last few laps” Gerrans said. “My preparation has gone well and I'm happy with how things are going. I have had two solid months training and will focus on the Nationals and Tour Down Under before I get my European campaign under way in February,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Lewis was ecstatic to be able to match it with the professionals. “It's a brilliant result. I had Michael up the road so it was my job to sit back. I didn't want to take Henderson up to him because he's a pretty good sprinter so I held them off and took my chances at the end,” he explained.

Honda Dream Team secures another win.

The Honda Women's Dream Team secured its second win in the series, this time through 20-year-old Tiffany Cromwell. The South Australian was too good, beating Jayco AIS duo Lauren Kitchen and Alex Carle.

“It was a great day out there, it was a little bit windy and I felt good and had the legs today,” a happy Cromwell said after the finish.

As soon as racing got under way, there was a crash involving half a dozen cyclists. Unfortunately in-form Tasmanian Belinda Goss (Vetta) was one of the casualties, suffering a suspected broken collarbone. Race leader Rochelle Gilmore (Honda Dream Team) was involved but didn't suffer any injuries as Bike Force rider and HTC-Highroad professional Chloe Hosking came down and broke her bike but luckily escaped injury.

After the crash it didn't take long for the first move of the day to be established with the Honda Dream Team showing its intentions as Tiffany Cromwell attacked. Latching onto her wheel was Alex Carle (Jayco VIS). The duo held a small advantage of five seconds over the Virgin Blue-led peloton.

Not long after, Carle's team-mate Lauren Kitchen bridged across and the three enjoyed a 12-second buffer over the peloton.

Emma Mackie (Virgin Blue) and Katherine O'Shea (Vetta) attacked from the peloton to try and bridge across to the leaders but were unsuccessful, although they didn't give up.

With six laps of the race to go, Carle dropped off from the lead group and Cromwell was looking strong. With a lead of over a minute ahead of the peloton, Cromwell attacked Kitchen and was suddenly on her own at the head of the race.

In the final two laps, Cromwell could see the rear of the peloton in the distance as Kitchen and Carle battled valiantly to hold onto second and third with O'Shea and Mackie closing in.

When Cromwell got the bell lap it was evident she was going to win the race despite Kitchen's best efforts to try and catch her and the focus was on the battle for third with Carle desperately trying to hang on with Mackie breathing down her neck.

Cromwell crossed the line to win her first Jayco Bay Criterium race after a podium last year with Kitchen in second postion. In the final straight Mackie managed to get on Carle's wheel but the youngster held on for a superb third place finish.

“We thought before the race it was going to be breakaway conditions due to the tough nature of the course. I had the opportunity, went for it and made it to the end. I was a bit worried when the two Jayco Girls got together but when I got that gap, I went for it,” she concluded.

Cromwell's performance today ensured she collected the sprinters jersey. Her team-mate, Rochelle Gilmore held onto the yellow jersey after finishing sixth and was pleased with the day.

“We're doing fantastic and defintely exceeded all expectations. It was really great to see Tiffany pull it off under pressure because we certainly put the pressure on her before the race,” Gilmore described. “We said no getting out of this one Tiffy, you're the climber on the Honda Dream Team and the best climber we've got. Everytime we have done that with our younger riders they have managed to pull it off.”

Controversy in the Men's Support Race

Genesys Wealth Adviser's young gun Steele Von Hoff leads the support event with 22 points from two races after claiming second place today. His team-mate Nathan Earle won the stage and Nathan Haas completed the clean sweep, rounding out the podium.

However, team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston has explained he has had to withdraw his riders from the series.

“Doug Armstrong, the Chief Commisaire has continually threatened to take the licences off our riders if they collude in a race. A lot of teams out there are riding as teams and we feel we are being singled out and because of that we can't afford our guys losing their licences before the Nationals so we've made the decision to withdraw them from the race.”

The series continues tomorrow with a twilight hotdog circuit at Richie Boulvevard along Geelong's Eastern Beach.

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Urban)12 pts
2Simon Gerrans (Team Sky)10 
3Joe Lewis (Urban)8 
4Bernie Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania)7 
5Greg Henderson (Team Sky)6 
6Wes Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania)5 
7Matthew Goss (E3/Pure Tasmania)4 
8Leigh Howard (Jayco VIS)3 
9Allan Davis (Bikebug.com)2 
10Chris Sutton (Team Sky)1 
General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Urban)17 pts
2Matthew Goss (E3/Pure Tasmania)16 
3Chris Sutton (Team Sky)11 
4Simon Gerrans (Team Sky)10 
5Allan Davis (Bikebug.com)10 
6Leigh Howard (Jayco VIS)9 
7Joe Lewis (Urban)8 
8Bernie Sulzberger (E3/Pure Tasmania)7 
9Graeme Brown (Urban)7 
10Greg Henderson (Team Sky)6 
Blood Hyundai Sprint Ace
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Gerrans (Team Sky)8 pts
2Graeme Brown (Urban)8 
3Michael Matthews (Urban)5 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urban32 pts
2E3/Pure Tasmania28 
3Team Sky27 
4Bikebugcom10 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tiffany Cromwell (Honda)12 pts
2Lauren Kitchen (Jayco AIS)10 
3Alex Carle (Jayco AIS)8 
4Emma Mackie (Virgin Blue)7 
5Katherine O’Shea (Vetta Pasta)6 
6Rochelle Gilmore (Honda)5 
7Kirsty Broun (Virgin Blue)4 
8Judith Arndt (Unattached/GER)3 
9Peta Mullens (Honda)2 
10Nicole Whitburn (Unattached/Vic)1 
General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rochelle Gilmore (Honda)17 pts
2Tiffany Cromwell (Honda)12 
3Lauren Kitchen (Jayco AIS)10 
4Belinda Goss (Vetta Pasta)10 
5Kirsty Broun (Virgin Blue)10 
6Nicole Whitburn (Unattached/Vic)9 
7Peta Mullens (Honda)9 
8Alex Carle (Jayco AIS)8 
9Emma Mackie (Virgin Blue)8 
10Judith Arndt (Unattached/GER)8 
Blood Hyundai Sprint Ace
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tiffany Cromwell (Honda)6 pts
2Lauren Kitchen (Jayco AIS)4 
3Alex Carle (Jayco AIS)4 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Honda38 pts
2Jayco AIS18 
3Virgin Blue18 
4Vetta Pasta16 
Support men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nathan Earle12 pts
2Steele Van Hoff10 
3Nathan Haas8 
4Paul Van Der Ploeg7 
5Mitchell Codner6 
6Ryan Standish5 
7Peter Braunsteins4 
8Stuart Grimsey3 
9Angus Tobin2 
10Campbell Flakemore1 
General classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steele Van Hoff22 pts
2Mitchell Codner14 
3Nathan Earle12 
4Angus Tobin12 
5Nathan Haas8 
6Paul Van Der Ploeg7 
7Neil Van Der Ploeg7 
8Shaun Lewis6 
9Ryan Standish5 
10Jack Beckinsale5 

 

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