A thrilling finish to the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic saw Baden Cooke (Skilled/Lowe Farms) fend off the challenge of Greg Henderson (Mazda), preventing the New Zealander from obtaining the points needed to snatch overall victory from Cooke’s teammate Chris Sutton. Sutton finished in third place behind the pair, winning his first overall title at the race his father won 21 years ago.
"We were absolutely flying, that’s one of the fastest criteriums I’ve ever done," said Cooke. "All five of us in the break just put the hammer down, we were cornering extremely fast. Once we got the gap I knew CJ had won the overall, I hit out for the sprint and I was just strong enough to hold off Henderson, who was coming quickly. I'm very happy to win and very happy for the Skilled/Lowe Farms team."
For Sutton the victory was not only a welcome start to his season but also just his second overall victory in a multi-stage race. Like his Jayco Bay Cycling Classic victory, Sutton won no stages en route to claiming the Delta Tour Zeeland in the Netherland in 2008.
"It’s a good feeling to walk away with the yellow, it was a hard race today. With such a top class field it wasn’t easy," he said. "I just tried to make sure I put myself in the bike race and did everything right. Cookie put a bit of pressure down mid-way through the race with Greg Henderson.
"I jumped across and we just worked well," he said. "I’m over the moon."
While the racing was considerably less eventful than the previous evening’s debacle, it still wasn’t without drama. One got a sense of déjà vu as Drapac-Porsche’s Joe Lewis protested a red-flag from the chief commissaire, but was subsequently allowed to keep his position in the breakaway after Henderson shouted "he’s in, he’s in" on the following lap.
Lewis rode out the race in the lead group but afterwards was informed by commissaire Doug Armstrong that he’d been awarded a Did Not Finish for the event. The controversy centred around a mechanical incident Lewis experienced around the backside of the course. He had allegedly stopped to fix an issue with his chain and rejoined with the leaders on the following lap, however as the matter wasn’t declared to officials he wasn’t considered in his rightful place and thus his result was annulled.
Former race leader Graeme Brown (Urban Hotels) didn’t enjoy a controversy free finish to this year’s series either. Brown reported after the event that a rider he refused to name – former-Rabobank teammate Matthew Hayman – had blocked him while he was attacking from the second group, as Hayman was dropped by the lead group. It’s believed there was retaliation from Brown, however insufficient evidence to support the claims meant no action was taken.
"I don’t want to divulge the situation to be honest," said Brown when asked where he felt he'd lost the day’s race. "There was a point in the race where somebody else’s team inhibited my getting across to the break and if it wasn’t for that I think I would have…I was within a few metres of getting on to the back of the break. That point is where I lost any chance of winning the overall classification.
"Whether he meant it or not, he went really slowly around the corner and I couldn’t go around him," said Brown. "It’s a bit of a shame but it’s over now.
Track sensation and Columbia-HTC rider Leigh Howard was one of the first riders to attack on today’s 850 metre circuit. The move didn’t last and nor did Howard, with the rider amongst the first to withdraw from the race. Howard’s was one of several attacks in the opening half of the race, none of which were able to gain a notable advantage.
After winning the previous day’s stage Tom Scully (John Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel) showed his sprinting prowess as he held off Brown in the day’s first sprint. Scully again came out on top after being challenged by Henderson in the second sprint, securing the New Zealander the sprint classification win.
Cameron Jennings (Budget Fork Lifts), Henderson, Cooke, Sutton, Hayman, and Lewis then got away. The big names gave chase with a second group including Brown, Koen de Kort (O2 Networks) and Matthew Goss (Team Degani Cycling Café).
As the laps counted down a series of pulls by Jack Bobridge (SASI Team O’Grady) managed to draw back the second group but did little to stifle the front group’s lead. Following the incident with Hayman, Brown had clearly relinquished whatever hope may have lingered by that point, leaving the battle for the overall race to Sutton and Henderson.
Hybrid team brings dream double for Honda
Rochelle Gilmore claimed her third victory from four races on the final day, but it was her Honda Dream Team teammates that were the stars of the series finale. Gilmore held off a late charge by Chloe Hosking (MB Cycles) to claim a rapid finish, with teammate Peta Mullens taking third.
Gilmore’s teammates were dominant in their control of the peloton throughout the race. Unlike the second race, where they had struggled to control matters, the team operated as a well-oiled machine to shut down any opportunity for a move
"We focused on what we were capable of doing and put all of our energy into trying to win the race," said Gilmore. "Chloe Hosking tried everything to push in on our train, I’m sure she’d love to be part of the Honda Dream Team but today we weren’t going to let her."
The previous day's winner Helen Kelly (Jayco VIS) and Amanda Spratt (Jayco AIS) were the main protagonists throughout the day. Spratt’s team spent much of the race jostling with Honda Dream Team at the front of the peloton, but every surge was easily matched by the race-winning outfit.
|1||Baden Cooke (Skilled/Lowe Farms)||12||pts|
|2||Greg Henderson (Mazda)||10|
|3||Chris Sutton (Skilled/Lowe Farms)||8|
|4||Cameron Jennings (Budget Fork Lifts)||7|
|5||Robbie McEwen (Mazda)||6|
|6||Graeme Brown (Urban)||5|
|7||Joel Pearson (Genesys Wealth Advisers)||4|
|8||Paul Richards (Degani Cycling Cafe)||3|
|9||Michael Phelan (Drapac Porsche)||2|
|10||Alex Carver (Jayco Skins)||1|
|1||Chris Sutton (Skilled/Lowe Farms)||30||pts|
|2||Greg Henderson (Mazda)||28|
|3||Graeme Brown (Urban)||24|
|4||Baden Cooke (Skilled/Lowe Farms)||20|
|5||Robbie McEwen (Mazda)||20|
|6||Matthew Goss (Degani Cycling Cafe)||17|
|7||Joel Pearson (Genesys Wealth Advisers)||15|
|8||Tom Scully (John Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel)||12|
|9||Jack Bobridge (SASI team O’Grady)||10|
|10||Koen de Kort (O2 Networks)||10|
|1||Tom Scully (John Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel)||15||pts|
|2||Graeme Brown (Urban)||10|
|3||Baden Cooke (Skilled/Lowe Farms)||7|
|3||Degani Cycling Cafe||37|
|5||Genesys Wealth Systems||15|
|6||John Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel||12|
|7||SASI Team O’Grady||10|
|9||Budget Fork Lifts||8|
|1||Rochelle Gilmore (Honda)||12||pts|
|2||Chloe Hosking (MB Cycles)||10|
|3||Peta Mullens (Honda)||8|
|4||Megan Dunn (Jayco VIS/NSWIS)||7|
|5||Belinda Goss (Pitcher Partners)||6|
|6||Isabella King (Plan B Racing WA)||5|
|7||Melissa Hoskins (Plan B Racing WA)||4|
|8||Helen Kelly (Jayco VIS/NSWIS)||3|
|9||Emma Mackie (Race)||2|
|10||Rebecca Locke (Unattached/Vic)||1|
|1||Rochelle Gilmore (Honda)||43||pts|
|2||Chloe Hosking (MB Cycles)||32|
|3||Megan Dunn (Jayco VIS/NSWIS)||25|
|4||Peta Mullens (Honda)||24|
|5||Isabella King (Plan B Racing WA)||18|
|6||Belinda Goss (Pitcher Partners)||16|
|7||Helen Kelly (Jayco VIS/NSWIS)||15|
|8||Kirsty Broun (Jayco AIS)||14|
|9||Emma Mackie (Race)||13|
|10||Tiffany Cromwell (Honda)||8|
|1||Rochelle Gilmore (Honda)||11||pts|
|2||Peta Mullens (Honda)||8|
|3||Ashlee Ankudinoff (Jayco VIS/NSWIS)||6|
|3||Tiffany Cromwell (Honda)||6|
|4||Plan B Racing WA||24|
|1||David Pell (Unattached/Vic)||12||pts|
|2||Adrian Hanson (Unattached/Tas)||10|
|3||Jarrod Moroni (Unattached/Vic)||8|
|4||Po Hung Wu (NSWIS Team 2)||7|
|5||Angus Tobin (NSWIS Team 1)||6|
|6||Neil van der Ploeg (Unattached/Vic)||5|
|7||Mitchell Benson (Unattached/WA)||4|
|8||Tobyn Horton (Unattached/Vic)||3|
|9||Sean Bourke (Degani Kinglake Ride 2010)||2|
|10||Craig Hutton (Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel)||1|
|1||Mitchell Benson (Unattached/WA)||21||pts|
|2||Ethan Kimmice (NSWIS Team 1)||21|
|3||Jarrod Moroni (Unattached/Vic)||20|
|4||Po Hung Wu (NSWIS Team 2)||19|
|5||Angus Tobin (NSWIS Team 1)||14|
|6||Steven Martin (Unattached/Vic)||13|
|7||Chris Steffanoni (Unattached/Vic)||12|
|7||David Pell (Unattached/Vic)||12|
|9||Matthew Jensen (Unattached/Vic)||10|
|9||Adrian Hanson (Unattached/Tas)||10|
|1||Chris Steffanoni (Unattached/Vic)||10||pts|
|2||David Pell (Unattached/Vic)||6|
|3||Mitchell Benson (Unattached/WA)||5|
|1||NSWIS Team 1||35||pts|
|2||NSWIS Team 2||19|
|4||Degani Bakery Cafe||11|
|5||John Trevorrow Cycles/Chifley Hotel||8|
|6||Degani Kinglake Ride 2010||2|