By Mal Sawford
Riders from the Isle of Man, Jersey, Canada, Wales, Northern Ireland , Scotland and Malaysia have sharpened up for the Commonwealth Games by racing with the Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, Australia’s biggest racing club, over the past few weeks. Clearly they have enjoyed the experience, and with the time trial, MTB and road races now only days away, riders from England, New Zealand, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Guyana, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda got in on the action at Glenvale Crescent, a 1.2 kilometre criterium circuit in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
As expected, the action in the ‘internationals’ race was fast and furious with many of the visitors fresh off the plane and keen to stretch their legs. British National Champion Russell Downing (DFL/cyclingnews) attacked early and often, and a strong Welsh squad all took their turn off the front of the field. Australian MTB medal chance Chris Jongewaard (Savings & Loans) ripped out some huge turns to keep the field in single file.
Julian Winn (Wales) joined locals Danny Kah and Nick Culvenor in a promising move at the thirty minute mark which Robin Reid (Marco Polo) tried to reach, but the bunch used him to leapfrog to the leaders. Pat Shaw (Giant/VIS), the leading rider in the host club’s summer series, counter attacked and held off the field for two laps before surrendering to the relentless chase. The final break of note saw Dale Appleby (Wales), Cam Carlysle (BikeNOW), Anwar Manan (Malaysia) and Shaw clear, but once again, within two laps the field regrouped. The Malaysian team, led by their flag bearer at the Comm Games opening ceremony Shahrulneeza Razali took control in the final two laps, setting up the sprint for their fast man, Mohd Jasmin.
A final lap flyer from local Mark Howard (O’Mara Cycles) wasn’t enough to upset the sprinters, and Jasmin duly delivered with an impressive finishing burst, ahead of Downing who made ground late to sneak in ahead of Winn and the best of the locals, Aaron Salisbury (HLP).
A dozen of the Comm Games women joined the B Grade field, and made life unpleasant for those locals more used to a fast but steady pace. The girls from New Zealand, including Michelle Hyland, Sonia Foote and Rosara Joseph launched a succession of attacks, matched by similar aggression from Amy Moore (T-mobile/Canada) and Amy Hunt (England). Tess Downing (Drapac/Porsche Development Program) showed no sign of tiredness after a series of late nights in the Under 19 exhibition races at the Games, and stayed at the front of the big bunch, shoulder to shoulder with defending Games champion Nicole Cooke (Univega/Wales) and Helen Kelly (VIS).
Canadian trackies Gina Grain and Mandy Poitras opted for an easier ride at the back of the bunch, but Grain made her way up to the pointy end with little trouble at the call of three to go. In the final lap, Grain’s team mates positioned her perfectly to hit the lead 150 metres from the line, but she couldn’t match the horsepower of local sprinters Clint Van Beveren and Russell Collins and had to settle for third. Cooke was close behind in outright fifth, with Amy Hunt the third placed female finisher.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by David O'Leary/www.allstar.net.au
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