Western Australian Bradley Linfield has won the under-23 Australian criterium title after a dramatic finish to the 30-lap race. Linfield beat Josh Taylor from the GPM-Data#3 team to the line while Andrew Martin (WA) took the final spot on the podium.
Linfield has his eyes on Saturday's under-23 road race but was clearly happy with the end result.
"I just came here for a bit of a hit-out and to have some fun," said Linfield. "I wanted to do well and it worked out really well for me. I just went on the last straight and got a bit of a gap. I'm really happy.
Second-place Taylor looked comfortable throughout the near 50-minute race and while he timed his sprint perfectly, it was just a little too late to catch the early attack of Linfield.
"Coming so close to the win is a bit disappointing but I'm stoked to get a medal at the national championships," said Taylor. "That was my aim and I got it. I've got to be happy with that."
The final spot on the podium was filled by another Western Australian with Andrew Martin getting the bronze. Martin has been specifically training for the road race but was satisfied with the result.
"Today was really just about staying near the front," explained Martin. "I noticed a few of the main guys get away and I followed them.
"I was able to sit back and watch the other teams work. That really played into my advantage. I'll be lining up for the road race and the form is pretty good. I've been really training for the road race so this is a great bonus.
It was a fast and furious start to the 30-lap race in the under-23 criterium championships as the SASI team looked to stretch the bunch out immediately from the moment the gun was fired. Bradley Linfield (WA) was part of an initial move that gained a small gap over the field led by the Budget Forklifts squad.
Harry Carpenter (SA) was one of the early aggressors with recently-crowned national time trial champion Damien Howson stating his intentions to look for a solo move later in the race.
The small-group breakaway contained Sam Davis (WA0, Linfield, and Sam Spokes (NSW) didn't last long off the front and were brought back into the main group with 25-laps remaining of the hotdog course.
The team of GPM-Data#3 had a number of cards to play with last year's criterium champion Scott Law (NSW) in the race but that didn't prevent Josh Taylor (NSW) giving it a go. Taylor is known for his solo attacks during the criteriums in the National Road Series and gained a small advantage with Sun Tour stage winner and second overall Aaron Donnelly.
With seven laps quickly ticked off Donnelly and Taylor had a 10-second gap over the field. The blistering heat of Ballarat's afternoon sun was too much for some as the field battled to contain the gap to the leading duo.
Coming into the intermediate sprint it was Donnelly and Taylor still off the front as a number of riders attempted to join the front of the race on the back straight of the circuit.
Taylor was first across the line ahead of Howson who had joined a lap earlier with around 10 other riders.
With a number of teams represented at the front, the peloton finally eased its pace. The Flakemore, Linfield, Donnelly, Taylor, Julian Hamill (NSW) and Davis began to work effectively together. Sam Spokes (NSW) was keen to make an impact on the race before heading to Europe to join his new Omega Pharma Development team and bridged across the join the front group.
Race favourite Caleb Ewan (NSW), coming off his overall win at the Mitchelton Bay Classic decided to chase the group down and formed another split in the bunch. He was however, heavily marked and refused to do all the work himself.
The group splintered on and off before finalling getting themselves organised with a little over 10 laps remaining. The main peloton was over thirty seconds in arrears with Ewan the biggest contender to miss the move. The GPM-Data#3 team had two riders represented at the front leaving Law to simply wait for the bunch to react.
With 10 laps to go it was Donnelly who decided to make the race more difficult but he was overtaken by three others in the form of Flakemore, Davis, Taylor and and the u-23 national TT champion Howson. They had less than 10 seconds over the next group as Flakemore took the final intermediate sprint.
Davis was looking fatigued along with Howson while Taylor has his game-face on. The young rider from Sydney wasn't giving anything away as six laps remained.
Spokes tried his own move but once he was caught it was Howson who really applied the pressure with a lap to go. Coming into the finish Linfield attacked his breakaway group early and finish with a clear margin to the rest. The bunch was well out of contention, coming in nearly one-minute behind.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Bradley Linfield (WA)||0:46:36|
|2||Joshua Taylor (NSW)|
|3||Andrew Martin (WA)|
|4||Jack Beckinsale (NSW)|
|5||Shaun O'Callaghan (SA)|
|6||Damien Howson (SA)|
|7||Harry Carpenter (SA)||0:00:03|
|8||Samuel Spokes (NSW)||0:00:08|
|9||Julian Hamill (NSW)||0:00:14|
|10||Aaron Donnelly (NSW)||0:00:27|
|11||Campbell Flakemore (TAS)||0:00:32|
|12||Scott Law (NSW)||0:00:59|
|13||Jesse Kerrison (Qld)|
|14||William Heath (WA)|
|15||Craig Hutton (NSW)|
|16||Samuel Davis (WA)|
|17||Nicholas Graham-Dawson (WA)|
|18||Samuel Nelson (NSW)||0:01:03|
|19||Sam Sautelle (ACT)|
|20||Sam Crome (VIC)|
|21||Brenton Jones (VIC)|
|22||Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT)|
|23||Scott Mcphee (SA)|
|24||Michael Phelan (ACT)|
|25||Jack Haig (VIC)||0:01:10|
|26||Nicholas Schultz (Qld)||0:01:14|
|27||Ryan MaCanally (Qld)||0:01:56|
|28||James Butler (VIC)||0:01:58|
|29||Alex Wohler (Qld)||0:02:32|
|30||Joshua Prete (Qld)|
|DNF||Caleb Ewan (NSW)|
|DNF||Luke Ockerby (TAS)|
|DNF||Alex Clements (TAS)|
|DNF||Ivan Michelin-Beard (ACT)|
|DNF||Fraser Northey (SA)|
|DNF||Joshua Cornish (NSW)|
|DNF||Jesse Ewart (NSW)|
|DNF||Rylee Field (NSW)|
|DNF||Douglas Freeburn (Qld)|
|DNF||Jake Mcmahon (TAS)|
|DNF||Justin Vanstone (Qld)|
|DNF||Shaun Baxter (WA)|
|DNF||Nicholas Bien (VIC)|
|DNF||Camden Bush (VIC)|
|DNF||Jeremy Cameron (VIC)|
|DNF||Andrew Clarkson (SA)|
|DNF||James Cummings (VIC)|
|DNF||Chris Filiatrault (ACT)|
|DNF||Michael Hale (VIC)|
|DNF||Zane Hunter (VIC)|
|DNF||Jarryd Jones (VIC)|
|DNF||Nicholas Katsonis (VIC)|
|DNF||Matthew Leonard (VIC)|
|DNF||Jack Matthews (TAS)|
|DNF||Sam Mccallum (VIC)|
|DNF||Robert-Jon McCarthy (SA)|
|DNF||Liam Melville (NSW)|
|DNF||Stuart Mulhern (Qld)|
|DNF||Conor Murtagh (VIC)|
|DNF||Matthew Nicholson (TAS)|
|DNF||Cameron Parlevliet (VIC)|
|DNF||Patrick Sharpe (NSW)|
|DNF||Clive Silcock (VIC)|
|DNF||Joel Stearnes (TAS)|
|DNF||Andrew Stephan (Qld)|
|DNF||Jared Triggs (NSW)|
|DNF||Liam White (VIC)|
|DNF||Alexander Woff (VIC)|
|DNS||Peter Loft (TAS)|
|DNS||Adam Phelan (ACT)|
|DNS||Matthew Clark (VIC)|
|DNS||Dimitry Makeev (VIC)|
|DNS||Luke Parker (VIC)|
|DNS||Trevor Spencer (VIC)|