Mark Jamieson (Jayco-2XU) has closed his season in the best possible way, with the 27-year-old taking a hard earned victory in one of Australia's toughest and most prestigious one day races, the Grafton-Inverell Cycle Classic. Jamieson bested Chris Jory (BikeBug.com) and Brian Mcleod in a thrilling finale in Inverell to win the classic in what transpired to be a record time for the 228 kilometre course.
For Jamieson, who only returned to professional cycling at the start of the year, the victory comes as the culmination for the hard work and commitment the former Track world champion has put in all season on the National Road Series. An early animator on the Gibraltar climb with talented young climber Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Squad), Jamieson initially looked to be on a kamikaze mission, however with eight others joining the duo just after the peak, the team plan to set up Matt Lloyd for the win was discarded, and 'Jamo' was given carte blanche in what would be the race winning move.
With a number of well-credentialled riders in the front group, Jamieson had to play his hand perfectly, and when a late attack on the day's final climb was initiated by Team TDU's Mark O'Brien, Jamieson was quick to jump across. As the finish loomed Jamieson's track prowess shone through and the Jayco-2XU rider proved too quick for Chris Jory (BikeBug.com) and Brian Mcleod (Budget Forklifts) to take a hard fought win in a time just a hair over six hours.
"It's reward for a long hard season," an exhausted Jamieson said at the finish in Inverell. "I've only been back on the bike 10 months, rebuilding to what I was after a couple of years off. To get a result like this here is great. It's the biggest win of my career."
Jamieson added that he was as surprised as anyone to see the early move with Morton last out the day.
"When we went away on [Gibraltar], it was just to animate things a bit, and break up the big bunch on the climb. [Morton and I] didn't think the move would stick. Even when we were joined by the other eight guys, I didn't believe we were going to stay away. But then we hit the final 30 kilometres, it sunk in that this was the winning move.
"I started thinking about the sprint, and the legs were still pretty good. Those small sprints, of three or four riders are perfect for a former trackie like myself, and that's how it worked out. I'm stoked."
Team manager Pat Jonker was also full of praise for Jamieson, who he described as a deserving winner.
"He's normally a guy that does 200 per cent all day and fades," said Jonker. "Today I sort of forced him to really dial it back, and to not do quite as much. People may see that as [negative racing], but I think everyone knows how much of a hard worker Mark is, and the result today is nothing but deserved."
Meanwhile, Lachlan Morton's aggression all day in the break was rewarded with the Chipotle rider picking up the Sprint and KOM jerseys.
"With the legs I had today, I think I made the most of the racing. Once I picked up the first KOM points I started thinking about [the classification], and I just kept on adding to that from then. It's a nice bonus considering I've been off the bike for nearly a month."
Budget Forklifts took the team's classification courtesy of having two riders in the front group.
How it unfolded
At just after 8 in the morning on a perfect day for cycle racing, the peloton of some 114 riders rolled out for the start of the 51st edition of the Grafton to Inverell for what was set to be a recording breaking day in the saddle.
Early on it was attacks galore as the smaller teams did their best to get themselves some exposure before the race hit the decisive Gibraltar climb.
The most dangerous of the moves came when nearly 25 riders gapped the main field at just after the 20 kilometre mark, sending the peloton into a mad scramble to bring things back together. The race situation regrouped just before the first KOM at Cattle Creek, which encouraged Lachlan Morton to jump from the field and get himself top points ahead of Kris Juel (Team Erdinger) and Pat Shaw (Genesys).
On the descent, a rider from the Parramatta Racing Team, Geoff Straub went away solo and the bunch seemed content to let him build an advantage. In to Jackadgery and over Mann's River, Straub was left to dangle at just over a minute as the field raced to the bottom of Mt Gibraltar.
20 kilometres at close to 6 per cent make the Gibraltar climb the main feature of 'the Grafton' and it didn't disappoint. A group of seven riders including Chris Beeck (Plan B Racing), Justin Vanstone (Team TDU), Jason Spencer (Budget Forklifts), Jared Rowney (Tineli Racing Team), Andrew Crawley (BIKEBUG.COM), Kyle Marwood (Genesys Wealth Advisers) and Brock Roberts (Racing Kangaroos) attacked at the bottom of the climb, and quickly joined - and passed - the lone leader Straub to form the first substantive move of the day.
The advantage of the seven however never went above the minute mark and by the Hills lookout mark, a third of the way up Gibraltar, the persistent peloton regrouped once more.
The pace would not let up though, and with the attrition starting to wittle down the numbers of even the bigger teams in the main field, Lachlan Morton decided to go, and go he did. Morton was vicious, but tucked in behind him was a resilient Mark Jamieson, and the two formed a formidable partnership.
A minute, became a minute and a half over just a few kilometres, and at the top of Gibraltar the pair looked to be settling in for the long haul.
No letting up for tired legs
As the stragglers up Gibraltar worked their way back on to the chasing peloton on the descent, a decisive group of eight riders detached themselves from the field and would never be seen again.
Brian Mcleod (Budget Forklifts), Luke Davison (Budget Forklifts), Samuel Davis (Plan B Racing), Andrew Arundel, Jason Rigg (Genesys Wealth Advisers), Caleb Jones (BIKEBUG.COM), Chris Jory (BIKEBUG.COM) and Mark O'Brien (Team TDU) worked well together, and the two in front became a group of ten as the two groups merged.
With 100 kilometres to go the leaders had built their advantage to more than 3 minutes, and with no concerted chase coming from the main field it quickly became clear that a member of the front group would win the race.
Tactical games begin
Through Glen Innes the break was still working reasonably well together, but as the miles ticked by that cohesion began to dissipate. Jamieson and Davison, arguably the fastest two sprinters in the escape began to miss turns, and this opened the door for two riders, Jackson Leigh Rathbone (Parramatta Racing) and Walter Tate (Data #3 Cisco Capilano Racing) to bridge over to the leaders.
Caleb Jones cracked as the pace of the leader ramped back up, and over the day's penultimate KOM, again won by Morton, the leaders were 11-strong.
Budget Forklifts, the only team with more than one rider in the lead group, looked to be trying set up Davison, with Mcleod covering the attacks that started to come in the final 25 kilometres.
Attacks went off one after the other, but despite some of the climbers in the group's best efforts, the only rider to be dislodged was Tate. In the undulations ahead however chinks also appeared in the amour of Davison, Davis, Rigg, and Rathbone as all four began to struggle to keep up with the pace.
On the false flat before the bottom of the final climb, Mark O'Brien (TDU) made a daring solo move, and with a mix of fatigue and foxing behind, was suddenly sitting on a 15 second advantage as the climb began to grip.
The newly introduced hill brought in by race director Scott Sunderland to add a little extra edge to the finale, did just that, with the one kilometre ramp, providing the perfect opportunity for Jory, Mcleod and Jamieson to catch O'Brien.
Having been in the lead since the 60 kilometre mark, Morton was finally unable to follow, leaving the quartet in front alone to fight it out in Inverell.
Mcleod tried to anticipate the sprint, by jumping early, but it was Jamieson who timed his jump perfectly, sliding past the Budget Forklifts rider to win his first Grafton to Inverell in a race record time.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mark Jamieson (Team Jayco-2XU)||6:00:21|
|2||Chris Jory (BIKEBUG.COM)|
|3||Brian Mcleod (Budget Forklifts)|
|4||Mark O'Brien (Team TDU)||0:00:01|
|5||Luke Davison (Budget Forklifts)|
|6||Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development)||0:00:04|
|7||Jason Rigg (Genesys Wealth Advisers)||0:00:13|
|8||Jackson-Leigh Rathbone (Parramatta Race Team)|
|10||Samuel Davis (Plan B Racing)|
|11||Joel Pearson (Genesys Wealth Advisers)||0:03:06|
|12||Patrick Shaw (Genesys Wealth Advisers)|
|13||Blake Hose (John West Cycling)|
|14||Joseph Lewis (BIKEBUG.COM)|
|15||Michael Troy (Racing Kangaroos)|
|16||Ethan Kimmice (Racing Kangaroos)|
|17||Alexander Wong (Forza Capital - Bikebug.com)|
|18||Michael England (Budget Forklifts)|
|19||Sam Rutherford (BIKEBUG.COM)|
|20||Jamie Lacey (Team TDU)||0:03:09|
|22||Stuart Cowin (Data #3 Cisco Capilano Racing)|
|23||Matthew Lloyd (Team Jayco-2XU)|
|24||Trenton Day (Team Jayco-2XU)|
|25||Peter Herzig (Budget Forklifts)|
|26||Michael Cupitt (Budget Forklifts)|
|27||Jason Spencer (Budget Forklifts)|
|28||Kristian Juel (Team Erdinger Alkoholfrei)||0:04:03|
|30||Brock Roberts (Racing Kangaroos)|
|31||Walter Tate (Data #3 Cisco Capilano Racing)||0:10:40|
|32||Caleb Jones (BIKEBUG.COM)||0:13:05|
|33||Brendan Jones (Racing Kangaroos)||0:13:18|
|35||Andrew Crawley (BIKEBUG.COM)|
|37||Hayden Kegg (Parramatta Race Team)|
|38||Aidan Mckenzie (Team Erdinger Alkoholfrei)|
|39||Benjamin Harvey (Parramatta Race Team)|
|40||Bevan Mason (Tineli Racing Team)|
|41||Kane Walker (Genesys Wealth Advisers)||0:15:32|
|42||Matthew Marshall (Genesys Wealth Advisers)|
|43||Angus Tobin (Racing Kangaroos)||0:18:32|
|44||Terence Maguire (Tineli Racing Team)|
|45||Tristan Jones (Scouts SA - Super Elliotts)|
|46||James Szollosi (Team Erdinger Alkoholfrei)|
|47||Rene Kolbach (John West Cycling)|
|48||Tony Gaudry (Team Jayco-2XU)|
|49||Jared Rowney (Tineli Racing Team)|
|50||Josh Apolony (Racing Kangaroos)|
|51||Tom Bentley (Tineli Racing Team)|
|52||Daniel O'keefe (Parramatta Race Team)|
|53||Nick Woods (Team TDU)|
|55||Bradeley Hall (Plan B Racing)||0:18:37|
|56||Rowan Dever (John West Cycling)|
|57||Chris Beeck (Plan B Racing)|
|58||Tomas Szollosi (Team Erdinger Alkoholfrei)||0:36:24|
|59||Oliver Kent-Spark (John West Cycling)|
|60||Antony Dimitrovski (Forza Capital - Bikebug.com)|
|62||Justin Vanstone (Team TDU)||0:50:44|
|63||Nicholas D'ambrosio (Forza Capital - Bikebug.com)||0:52:46|
|64||Scott Law (Team Jayco-2XU)|
|66||Michael Verheyen (Plan B Racing)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|4||Genesys Wealth Advisers||0:03:18|
|7||Parramatta Racing Team||0:23:42|
|8||Plan B Racing||0:34:20|
|9||John West Cycling||0:37:08|
|10||Tineli Racing Team||0:47:15|
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