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."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sam Welsford (Aus) Northern Beaches Cycling Club||1:04:13|
|2||Kaden Groves (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|3||Nicholas White (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|4||Michael Rice (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|5||Tristan Ward (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|6||Brenton Jones (Aus) Canyon dhb p/b Soreen|
|7||Mathew Ross (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team||0:00:05|
|8||Brendan Johnston (Aus) Team CCS Canberra Men|
|9||Marc Williams (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club||0:00:05|
|10||Daniel Braunsteins (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club||0:00:07|
|11||Alex Holden (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|12||Cameron Ivory (Aus) GPM-Stulz||0:00:10|
|13||Brendon Green (Aus) Veris Racing Men's Team||0:00:13|
|14||Ben Carman (Aus) Nero Continental|
|15||Matthew Bird (Aus) Adelaide University Cycling Club|
|16||Jason Lea (Aus) Maloja Pushbikers||0:00:21|
|17||Neil Van der Ploeg (Aus) Albury Wodonga Panthers Cycling Club|
|18||Tasman Nankervis (Aus) GPM-Stulz||0:00:28|
|19||Liam White (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing||0:00:31|
|20||Ayden Toovey (Aus) Team BridgeLane||0:00:44|
|21||Leigh Howard (Aus) Geelong Cycling Club||0:00:49|
|22||Ryan Thomas (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast||0:00:53|
|23||Rylee Field (Aus) Team BridgeLane||0:01:13|
|24||Michael Potter (Aus) ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast|
|25||Aaron Watts (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|26||David Randall (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing||0:01:27|
|27||Alex Lack (Aus) GPM-Stulz||0:01:30|
|28||Steele Von Hoff (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE|
|29||Samuel Jenner (Aus) Team BridgeLane||0:01:41|
|DNF||Tom Chapman (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Benjamin Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Samuel Hill (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Benjamin Van Dam (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNF||Karl Michelin-Beard (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Sean Whitfield (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||William Hodges (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Conor Murtagh (Aus) Oliver's Real Food Racing|
|DNF||Nathan Elliott (Aus) InForm TM Insight MAKE|
|DNF||Angus Calder (GPM Stulz)|
|DNF||Nick Spratt (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Harrison Bailey (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Thomas Green (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Cameron Roberts (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNF||Curtis Dowdell (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Matt Hutchinson (Aus) Butterfields Appselec p/b Van Dam Racing|
|DNF||Dylan Lindsey (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|DNF||Adam Lloyd (Aus) Avantias Pro Racing|
|DNF||Cyrus Monk (Aus) CycleHouse Racing Team|
|DNF||Jack Aitken (Aus) Coburg Cycling Club|
|DNF||Timothy Lennon (Aus) South Coast Cycling Club|
|DNF||Oliver Marshall (Aus) Armidale Cycling Club|
|DNF||Julian Thomson (Aus) Bendigo & District CC|
|DNF||Lucas Hoffman (Aus) Whyalla Cycling Club|
|DNF||Patrick Drapac (Aus) Brunswick Cycling Club|
|DNF||Alex Porter (Aus) Scotch College South Australia Cycling Club|
|DNF||Daniel Bucknall (Aus) Ballarat Sebastapol Cycling Club|
|DNF||Shannon Johnson (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club|
|DNF||Russell Gill (Aus) Norwood Cycling Club|
|DNF||Samuel Volkers (Aus) Memil CCN Pro Cycling|
|DNS||Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora Hansgrohe|
|DNS||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|DNS||Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|DNS||Robert Power (Aus) Team Sunweb|
|DNS||Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis|
|DNS||Scott Bowden (Aus) Team BridgeLane|
|DNS||Angus Calder (Aus) GPM-Stulz|
|DNS||Nick Locandro (Aus) Subaru-Giant|
|DNS||Adam Nelson (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNS||Braeden Dean (Aus)Xspeed United Continental|
|DNS||Scott Law (Aus) Marconi Cycling Club|
|DNS||Christopher Ball (Aus) Manly Warringha Cycling Club|
|DNS||Matthew Sherwin (Aus) Maccabi Cycling Club|
|DNS||Joel Coxon (Aus) Hawthorn Cycling Club|
|DNS||Cameron Fraser (Aus) Eastern Suburbs Cycling Club|
|DNS||Nick Bensley (Aus) St Kilda Cycling Club|
|DNS||Mark Seddon (Aus) Seymour Broadford Cycling Club|
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