Kerby claims emotional victory in U23 road race

Howson pipped on the line for second, Haig claims bronze

Jordan Kerby (Qld) has continued his amazing start to the year by taking out the under-23 Australian road national title. Kerby most recently won the prologue at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and lead the race for the opening stage. In the road race just one week following the tour he proved too good for Damien Howson (SA) as he sprinted past the under-23 time trial champion within sight of the line. Jack Haig (Vic), who is better known in the mountain bike scene picked up the silver medal after being one of the strongest climbers in the race.

It was an emotional win for Kerby as he continued his celebrations well past the finish line. Noted for his time trialling results Kerby was surprised to be able to follow the late race attacks after being in the early breakaway that formed on the first lap.

"I've worked very hard for the last five wins, trying to step up, get the wins and today, I finally got the biggest win of my life," said an ecstatic Kerby at the finish. "I've had a couple of junior world titles back in 2010 but this is the biggest win of my life.

"I'm trying to go places and this is one of the first steps to getting there.

Second-place Howson was visibly disappointed after claiming yet another runner-up position but he acknowledged the strength of Kerby after also being involved in the all-day escape group.

"Always, nice to come away with a win but I'm happy with today's ride," said Howson. "Jordan Kerby was just too strong on the line.

"The move went early in the race with about 24 of us. It was always going to come down to the final two laps and whoever was strongest on the climb. We got a bit of a gap and then it was down to three of us.

"With a little over a kilometre to go it was a cat and mouse race. The other two looked at each other and I went down the other side of the road. I had a tiny gap, a sniff of the win but it just wasn't to be. I got caught about 60 metres from the line," said Howson.

Haig, riding for the Huon-Genesys team was the team's best hope for a medal after demonstrating his climbing skills on the tough Buninyong course with his teammates working to protect him throughout the day. Toward the finish Haig admitted his lack of road race experience may have gotten the better of him.

"I lack a bit of the knowledge in road cycling and who the other riders are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are," said Haig.

"I knew in the last two laps that the climb would be my strength, I had a bit of a dig to see if I could drop them but it wasn't the case. We had three of us come down to the finish here." 

How it unfolded

The wind may have dropped compared to the previous day but the exposed larger loop would still make life difficult for the peloton. Turning onto the Midland Highway for the first ascent of the Buninyong climb riders were immediately put into difficulty. Approximately 10 riders found their day essentially over within the opening minutes of the race.

Over the top of the climb it was straight into a long stretch of road that caused the main field to stretch across the road. A large group attacked off the front - immediately gaining 100m from the main peloton.

As the pressure continued to be piled on, more riders were being unhitched in the blustery conditions. With a little under 15km of racing completely, the leading group had swelled to 24 and were rapidly working towards a one minute lead.

The lead group had a number of the strong teams represented with Huon-Genesys Wealth Advisers, GPM-Data#3, Budget Forklifts, Suzuki Bontrager and SASI all featuring in the move.

Jack Haig (Vic), Jake McMahon (Tas), Kyle Ward (NSW), Nicholas Katsonis (Vic), Fergus Sully (Vic), Scott Law (NSW), Robert-Jon McCarthy (SA), Aaron Donnelly (NSW), Michael Crosbie (Vic), Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT), Thomas Hamilton (Vic), Michael Phelan (ACT), Joshua Taylor (NSW), Alex Kinnane (SA), Ryan MacAnally (Qld), Brenton Jones (Vic), Joshua Prete (Qld), Damien Howson (SA), Sam Crome (Vic) and Alex Wohler (Qld) were amongst the front group.

The scramble to chase the huge front group lead to a crash in the main field as 10 riders hit the ground. Most of those affected by the crash were able to rejoin the peloton as the breakaway continued to stretch their lead to over three minutes at the 22km point.

While the bunch struggled to come to terms with the size of the leading group a number of riders decided to try and bridge across unsuccessfully. Group after group tried and failed to form a second group on the road as the slight breeze was too much for some riders to handle.

Riders continued to get dropped as the strain of Buninyong became too much and with just 45km the gap had extended to over five minutes.

With six of the eight smaller Buninyong laps remaining the main field had split in two but still trailed by 4:30. The next group on the road included around 20 riders and were one minuted behind the second bunch on the road.

The breakaway continued to work effectively and rarely eased the pace. The climb proved too hard for a few of the early breakaway riders as Taylor, Phelan and one other fell off from the leading pack. Jones was working hard for his teammate Haig who was being touted as a potential winner for the race.

Huon-Genesys had three riders in the lead with three laps remaining while a strong chase group finally broke clear of the peloton. Adam Phelan (ACT), riding for Drapac Professional Cycling, Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Calvin Waston (Vic), Campbell Flakemore (Tas), Matt Clarke (Vic), Sam Crome (Vic) and Nick Shultz (Qld) were still 3:47 behind the leaders while U23 criterium champion Bradley Linfield (WA) and Caleb Ewan (NSW) had missed the move.

It would take a huge effort if the likes of Phelan, Watson and Tour of Bright winner Clarke were going to catch the front group. Flakemore had three Huon-Genesys teammates still at the front and would be contributing as little as possible to the chase.

With two laps to go Jones attacked his breakaway companions along with McMahon and Lovelock-Fay. The trio had mere seconds entering the start/finish line but the aggression would likely spell the end of the cohesion in the group. Jones had been doing a lot of the pace-making in the lead group and was looking to set-up the counter moves from either Donnelly or Haig.

Wohler had been contributing heavily and paid for his early enthusiasm, getting detached from the break closely followed by the Phelan and Watson group that needed a further 3:13 in order to see the front of the race.

Pre-race favourite Ewan was making his final attempt to get involved in the race having been stuck in the third group on the road. He went in pursuit with a Target-Trek rider for company.

On the penultimate lap four riders attacked the lead group and immediately gained ground. Haig, Kerby, Howson and Crome gained 20 seconds nearing the end of the lap. Donnelly tried to bridge to the four riders ahead but was chased by the remaining riders.

Entering the bell-lap the leading four had almost 30 seconds lead and looked to set to fight out the finish on the final ascent of Buninyong.

Crome couldn't quite hold on up the final climb with the lead now containing Kerby, Haig and Howson.

Kerby eventually attacked the other two and looked like he could power away to the finish. Howson took chase after Haig struggled to follow the pace. Howson and Kerby promptly joined and began to distance the talented climber Haig.

With less than 1km to go Howson had a small lead but it was the speed of Kerby that saw him overtake just before the line to take the victory.


#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jordan Kerby (Qld)3:19:48 
2Damien Howson (SA)  
3Jack Haig (Vic)0:00:03 
4Aaron Donnelly (NSW)0:00:44 
5Brendan Johnston (ACT)0:00:46 
6Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT)  
7Sam Crome (Vic)0:01:06 
8Michael Crosbie (Vic)0:01:08 
9Scott Law (NSW)0:01:15 
10Ryan MacAnally (Qld)  
11Brenton Jones (Vic)  
12Jake McMahon (Tas)  
13Joshua Prete (Qld)0:01:19 
14Thomas Hamilton (Vic)0:01:58 
15Campbell Flakemore (Tas)0:04:25 
16Calvin Watson (Vic)  
17Adam Phelan (ACT)  
18Nicholas Schultz (Qld)  
19Matthew Clark (Vic)0:04:27 
20Jeremy Cameron (Vic)0:05:42 
21Kyle Ward (NSW)0:07:07 
22Samuel Spokes (NSW)0:09:56 
23Bradley Linfield (WA)  
24Jordan Davies (NSW)  
25Patrick Lane (Vic)  
26Jack Beckinsale (NSW)  
27Caleb Ewan (NSW)  
28Oliver Kent-Spark (Vic)  
29Jay Dutton (NSW)  
30Harry Carpenter (SA)  
31Sam McCallum (Vic)  
32Alex Clements (Tas)  
33Samuel Davis (WA)  
34Fergus Sully (Vic)0:12:28 
35Michael Phelan (ACT)  
36Nicholas Katsonis (Vic)  
37Mitchell Cooper (Vic)  
38Joshua Taylor (NSW)  
39Ian Peter Richards (Qld)0:14:50 
40Douglas Freeburn (Qld)  
41Liam Hill (Vic)0:17:44 
42Timothy Cameron (ACT)  
43Luke Ockerby (Tas)  
DNFJesse Kerrison (Qld)  
DNFAlex Wohler (Qld)  
DNFIvan Michelin-Beard (ACT)  
DNFFraser Northey (SA)  
DNFKarl Michelin-Beard (NSW)  
DNFMatthew Slee (NSW)  
DNFJames Boal (Vic)  
DNFJoshua Cornish (NSW)  
DNFBen Cutajar (Qld)  
DNFDavid Edwards (Qld)  
DNFJesse Ewart (NSW)  
DNFRylee Field (NSW)  
DNFScott Mcphee (SA)  
DNFJustin Vanstone (Qld)  
DNFShaun Baxter (WA)  
DNFNicholas Bien (Vic)  
DNFAaron Blomeley (Vic)  
DNFClement Boydell (Vic)  
DNFMunro Boydell (Vic)  
DNFJames Butler (Vic)  
DNFTaylor Charlton (Qld)  
DNFAndrew Clarkson (SA)  
DNFAlistair Crameri (Vic)  
DNFJames Cummings (Vic)  
DNFJames Fox (Vic)  
DNFChris Filiatrault (ACT)  
DNFSam Fuhrmeister (Vic)  
DNFJustin Gassner (SA)  
DNFNicholas Graham-Dawson (WA)  
DNFMichael Hale (Vic)  
DNFJulian Hamill (NSW)  
DNFJoshua Hamilton (Qld)  
DNFChris Harper (SA)  
DNFWilliam Heath (WA)  
DNFHarry Herne (NSW)  
DNFDavy Huang (Vic)  
DNFZane Hunter (Vic)  
DNFCraig Hutton (NSW)  
DNFJarryd Jones (Vic)  
DNFAlex Kinnane (SA)  
DNFJake Klajnblat (Vic)  
DNFMatthew Leonard (Vic)  
DNFWade Longworth (WA)  
DNFJason Lowndes (Vic)  
DNFAndrew Martin (WA)  
DNFJack Matthews (Tas)  
DNFRobert-Jon Mccarthy (SA)  
DNFDaniel Mcdonald (NSW)  
DNFLiam Melville (NSW)  
DNFTrent Morey (Vic)  
DNFStuart Mulhern (Qld)  
DNFConor Murtagh (Vic)  
DNFSamuel Nelson (NSW)  
DNFMatthew Nicholson (Tas)  
DNFShaun O'callaghan (SA)  
DNFCameron Parlevliet (Vic)  
DNFTodd Satchell (Vic)  
DNFSam Sautelle (ACT)  
DNFPatrick Sharpe (NSW)  
DNFClive Silcock (Vic)  
DNFNicholas Smith (Vic)  
DNFStuart Smith (Vic)  
DNFTrevor Spencer (Vic)  
DNFJoel Stearnes (Tas)  
DNFAndrew Stephan (Qld)  
DNFJared Triggs (NSW)  
DNFThomas Weereratne (Vic)  
DNFLiam White (Vic)  
DNFAlexander Woff (Vic)  
DNSDimitry Makeev (Vic)  
DNSMitchell Dedman (Vic)  
DNSBilly Hutton (NSW)  
DNSStefan Imberger (Vic)  
DNSRobert Kell (NSW)  
DNSCalum Middleton (Vic)  
DNSLuke Parker (Vic)  `
Hill climb classsification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Crosbie (Vic)19 pts
2Jack Haig (Vic)9 
3Damien Howson (SA)8 
4Jeremy Cameron (Vic)4 
5Jordan Kerby (Qld)3 
6Fergus Sully (Vic)3 
7Brendan Johnston (ACT)2 
8Thomas Hamilton (Vic)2 
DNFAlex Wohler (Qld)2 
DNFRobert-Jon Mccarthy (SA)2 

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