Sam Welsford takes elite men's criterium title at Australian Road Championships

Sam Welsford (Northern Beaches Cycling Club) won the elite men's criterium at the 2020 Australian Road Championships in Ballarat, Victoria, on Friday afternoon, out-sprinting Mitchelton-Scott's Kaden Groves and Team BridgeLane's Nick White for the title after what was a wet and windy race.

"I am over the moon. This has been in the back of my mind to try to win this race. Last year I missed the mark a little bit so it's great to come back this year and take the win," said Welsford.

With the race starting in terrible weather – just as the previous criterium categories had endured – a number of riders listed to take part, including last year's bronze medallist Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) and new Cofidis signing Nathan Haas, chose to sit the race out thanks to the wet, slippery road surface, and keep their powder dry for Sunday's road race.

Indeed, there were only 29 finishers from 59 starters, demonstrating less the speed of the race and more the misery of the conditions.

Many were content to let a seven-man breakaway, which included GPM-Stultz rider Tasman Nankervis, to animate the hour-long race, 40-lap, 44km race, but neither were the sprinters' teams prepared to let them get a lead of any more than around 15 seconds at any point, and they were reeled in as the speed went up and the favourites, including last year's winner Brenton Jones (Canyon dhb), began to manoeuvre into position.

Having featured as part of the day's breakaway, Nankervis was nevertheless active and on the attack again in the closing stages of the race, trying to break the sprinters' hold on the race.

In the sprint for the line it was a relatively easy win for Welsford, with second-placed Groves displaying his frustration at missing out by thumping his fist on his handlebars.

White took the final podium spot ahead of ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast's Michael Rice and last year's runner-up, and White's Team BridgeLane teammate, Tristan Ward, while defending champion Jones took sixth, at the back of a small group that had moved clear from the rest on the run-in to the line.

"It was extremely tough, it was so wet, I couldn't even see 10 metres in front of me at some points. But it was about sticking to what you know and trying to move forward and backing yourself for the tough long sprint," Welsford said.

"This is pretty special to me as I haven't had as much success on the road, as I have on the track, so to have my first elite medal on the road to be gold, it is just unbelievable. For me to be able to sprint against some of the best guys, it sets me up for post 2020 and where I want to be, and that is on the road."

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Full results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Welsford (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club 1:04:13
2Kaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3Nicholas White (Aus) Team BridgeLane
4Michael Rice (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
5Tristan Ward (Aus) Team BridgeLane
6Brenton Jones (Aus) Canyon dhb p/b Soreen
7Mathew Ross (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team 0:00:05
8Brendan Johnston (Aus) Team CCS Canberra Men
9Marc Williams (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club 0:00:05
10Daniel Braunsteins (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club 0:00:07
11Alex Holden (Aus) Subaru-Giant
12Cameron Ivory (Aus) GPM-Stulz 0:00:10
13Brendon Green (Aus) Veris Racing Men's Team 0:00:13
14Ben Carman (Aus) Nero Continental
15Matthew Bird (Aus) Adelaide University Cycling Club
16Jason Lea (Aus) Maloja Pushbikers 0:00:21
17Neil Van der Ploeg (Aus) Albury Wodonga Panthers Cycling Club
18Tasman Nankervis (Aus) GPM-Stulz 0:00:28
19Liam White (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing 0:00:31
20Ayden Toovey (Aus) Team BridgeLane 0:00:44
21Leigh Howard (Aus) Geelong Cycling Club 0:00:49
22Ryan Thomas (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:00:53
23Rylee Field (Aus) Team BridgeLane 0:01:13
24Michael Potter (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
25Aaron Watts (Aus) GPM-Stulz
26David Randall (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing 0:01:27
27Alex Lack (Aus) GPM-Stulz 0:01:30
28Steele Von Hoff (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE
29Samuel Jenner (Aus) Team BridgeLane 0:01:41
DNFTom Chapman (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFBenjamin Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFSamuel Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFBenjamin Van Dam (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNFKarl Michelin-Beard (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFSean Whitfield (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFWilliam Hodges (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFConor Murtagh (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing
DNFNathan Elliott (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE
DNFAngus Calder (GPM Stulz)
DNFNick Spratt (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFHarrison Bailey (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFThomas Green (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFCameron Roberts (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNFCurtis Dowdell (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFMatt Hutchinson (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing
DNFDylan Lindsey (Aus) Subaru-Giant
DNFAdam Lloyd (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing
DNFCyrus Monk (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team
DNFJack Aitken (Aus) Coburg Cycling Club
DNFTimothy Lennon (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club
DNFOliver Marshall (Aus) Armidale Cycling Club
DNFJulian Thomson (Aus) Bendigo & District CC
DNFLucas Hoffman (Aus) Whyalla Cycling Club
DNFPatrick Drapac (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club
DNFAlex Porter (Aus) Scotch College South Australia Cycling Club
DNFDaniel Bucknall (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club
DNFShannon Johnson (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club
DNFRussell Gill (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club
DNFSamuel Volkers (Aus) Memil CCN Pro Cycling
DNSJay McCarthy (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe
DNSJai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNSChris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNSRobert Power (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNSNathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
DNSScott Bowden (Aus) Team BridgeLane
DNSAngus Calder (Aus) GPM-Stulz
DNSNick Locandro (Aus) Subaru-Giant
DNSAdam Nelson (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective
DNSBraeden Dean (Aus)Xspeed United Continental
DNSScott Law (Aus) Marconi Cycling Club
DNSChristopher Ball (Aus) Manly Warringha Cycling Club
DNSMatthew Sherwin (Aus) Maccabi Cycling Club
DNSJoel Coxon (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club
DNSCameron Fraser (Aus) Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club
DNSNick Bensley (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club
DNSMark Seddon (Aus) Seymour Broadford Cycling Club

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