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Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships 2012: Under 23 men's road race

Welcome to Cyclingnews coverage of the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. We'll be doing live updates from the under 23 men's and women's road races in Buninyong starting with the under 23 men at 10 AM AEDT, Saturday, January 1.

Racing is underway and already we've seen six riders go clear at the top of the climb. Sam Spokes, Rhys Gillett, Tim Cameron, Julian Hamill, Brian McLeod and one other who we're trying to identify.

Alex Wong was the sixth rider in that group, but he's dropped back to the bunch now. The five have a gap of around 25seconds

Jane Aubrey, Australian Editor also on board today on the feed. We'll do our best to keep you across what should be a super-exciting race.

Leading the bunch at the completion of the first lap was Damian Howson, Darcy Woolley, Luke Davison and Ben Hill

108km remaining from 122km

The break went through the first lap at 0:29. Pace is already very hot.

Brian Mcleod (Budget Forklifts) doing plenty of work on the front. Perhaps making his run a little early?

Rhys Gillett is a local and has been doing a lot of recon work here in Ballarat. Exciting times for him, he'll be heading to Tuscany next month to ride for US Fracor.

100km remaining from 122km

Lap two completed by the break in 15:06, so they've slowed a little, but the gap is still pretty healthy. They seem to be working really well together.

1st sprint of the day : Gillett, Mcleod, Spokes

The bunch has just gone through for the start of their third lap. Leading the charge was Pat Lane, closely followed by Luke Ockerby and George Tansley. Rohan Dennis and Pat Drapac also there.

Reports coming through that rain is beginning to fall at the top of the hill. The wind is picking up at the finish. We might be in for a wet afternoon.

Sam Spokes has been dropped from the break.

Cyclingnews spoke to Brian Mcleod at the start of the race.

He said that his legs were feeling really good.

"This is my last chance for an under 23 championship, so I want to leave it all on the road."

Mcleod finished third in last year's Grafton to Inverell. He's comfortable on the climbs, and likes to ride in escapes.

Mcleod has a background in triathlon so he's got a big engine. The peloton won't want to give him too much rope.

Several riders have lost contact with the bunch, Jarryd Jones, Clive Silcock and Peter Wood. Long day ahead...

Pat lane on the front for jayco AIS, must be a bit sore from his crash at bay crits and will be a team helper for today. #roadnats

@adamphelan Fri, 6th Jan 2012 23:04:53

Cyclingnews spoke to Brian Mcleod at the start of the race.

He said that his legs were feeling really good.

"This is my last chance for an under 23 championship, so I want to leave it all on the road."

Mcleod finished third in last year's Grafton to Inverell. He's comfortable on the climbs, and likes to ride in escapes.

Mcleod has a background in triathlon so he's got a big engine. The peloton won't want to give him too much rope.

Cyclingnews spoke to Brian Mcleod at the start of the race.

 

He said that his legs were feeling really good.

"This is my last chance for an under 23 championship, so I want to leave it all on the road."

 

Mcleod finished third in last year's Grafton to Inverell. He's comfortable on the climbs, and likes to ride in escapes.

 

Mcleod has a background in triathlon so he's got a big engine. The peloton won't want to give him too much rope.

Drapac's Adam Phelan will be joining us shortly. Of course, he should be out riding today but had a shocking crash just before Christmas. You can read more about his story here

Fear not, we believe it's his old man!

@mpi26 Fri, 6th Jan 2012 23:09:58

Fear not, we believe it's his old man!

@mpi26 Fri, 6th Jan 2012 23:09:58

Brian Mcleod leads the break through the start/finish line with lap three being done at 15:41. Gillett and Hamill followed Mcleod through.

89km remaining from 122km

Brian Mcleod leads the break through the start/finish line with lap three being done at 15:41. Gillett and Hamill followed Mcleod through for the second intermediate sprint.

Pat Lane (Jayco-AIS) is covered in bandages after his crash in the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic earlier in the week.

 

He's likely to be used as a workhorse for the Jayco-AIS team.

Tim Cameron is struggling on the climb. He's being gapped by Mcleod and and Gillett who are the stronger climbers. It might be in the interests of the two to slow up, they'll need the help!

Very scary line-up of talent looking back at past winners in the under 23 category. They include Rabobank's Graeme Brown (2001), GreenEdge's Simon  Gerrans (2002), Rory Sutherland who's currently riding for United HealthCare in the US (2004), and Sky's Chris Sutton (2005).

86km remaining from 122km

Bunch just cresting the climb. Still led by Jayco-AIS.

78km remaining from 122km

No contest at the sprint for the front three. Gillett goes through first, followed by Cameron, and Mcleod.

77km remaining from 122km

Another lap led by Patrick Lane (Jayco-AIS) doing an amazing job on the front for his team. The gap is now out to 1:47.

77km remaining from 122km

Starting the climb Pace has increased #roadnats still 3 in fromt

@BudgetForklifts Fri, 6th Jan 2012 23:38:42

72km remaining from 122km

Few storm clouds starting to build up on the back section of the course #roadnats

@GenesysCycling Fri, 6th Jan 2012 23:42:42

72km remaining from 122km

Lap 5 covered at 15:49. The sprint was uncontested once again, Mcleod over Gillett and Tim Cameron.

72km remaining from 122km

Lap 5 covered at 15:49. The sprint was uncontested once again, Mcleod over Gillett and Tim Cameron.

Adam Phelan has joined us here in the very glamourous VIP tent at the finishline. Adam, How do you see the race at this point?

AP: With the break having just three riders, the peloton will not be to to worried. Pat Lane, has been doing a lot of work for Jayco-AIS, so he must be feeling it from his crash at Bay Crits. He'll be playing team roll keeping the break at about that one and half minute mark. 

67km remaining from 122km

Reports from the top of the climb in Buninyong. Tim Cameron looking a lot smoother in the break. Must have found his rhythm.

 

Below: Cameron rides in last year's Goulburn to Sydney won by Nathan Haas.

One of your teammates, Tom Palmer is one of the favourites if the race comes down to a sprint, how do you think cards are going to fall?

AP: Tom Palmer is one of the quickest riders in the field, so if it comes to a sprint and Tom's there it's going to be hard to beat him. The field also knows that Tom is a really good sprinter, so will try hard to get rid of him. But, as Tom proved last year, he can get around this tough course with the best climbers. So it is going to be interesting to how the race goes, once the favourites start to make their moves.

62km remaining from 122km

Slowest lap of the race so far by the break, as the bunch closes a little.

56km remaining from 122km

Brian Mcleod takes the points on the climb for lap 6. He now leads the classification by 1 point.

Adam, you're one of the Canberra crew of course, how has some of the racing been of late? Hearing great things about the form of arguably the most famous Canberran, Mick Rogers ahead of tomorrow's men's road race and the time trial on Tuesday...

AP: For the mens race, Rogers is going to one of the riders that could upset a GreenEdge win. Back home in Canberra, he was looking more fit than I have ever seen him at this time of the year. Also Michael Matthews is one that has the class and form to win, he has been looking real good in training. Also Nathan Haas is always up there, and will want to try and mix it up.

56km remaining from 122km

The end is nigh - looks like things are about to come back together on the descent back into the finish now and the gap has disintegrated.

How about some of the women? Any tips for this afternoon?

AP: Gracie Elvin from Canberra is defintely one to look for this afternoon. Joining the AIS women's team this year, she will one of the stongest riders on this course. Also Chloe Hoskings is always dangerous, especially in the sprint.

50km remaining from 122km

Plenty of riders being dropped from the bunch. Pace being dictated by Jayco-AIS, but Lachlan Morton (Chipotle), and Eric Sheppard (Plan B) have been seen near the front.

Gillett takes the points in what will likely be the last sprint contested by the sprint. GIllett has the lead in the sprint classification.

Thanks for joining us Adam.

AP: Thank you! Time to head off to the feed zone.

47km remaining from 122km

Tim Cameron dropped as Mcleod attacks on the grippier part of the climb.

46km remaining from 122km

Whoever takes the points at the top of Buninyong will win the mountain classification. 

 

Mcleod has gone solo off the front, absolutely storming on the front.

Mcleod on 18 point now wrapping up the KOM competition

Lots of attrition with the pace so high. Brian Mcleod has done a great job for his other Budget Forklifts teammates.

As Mcleod is caught a break three has countered. Budget, Jayco represented.

Grupo compacto

80km remaining from 122km

The break comes through the start finish, Jayco-AIS sitting on.

 

The bunch is onto Mount Buninyong Road and heading to the climb. Pace is hot.

30km remaining from 122km

Lead group of 15 has formed off the front including at least 7 riders of the Jayco-AIS squad.

34km remaining from 122km

Front group now a select group of 30 riders #roadnats

@GenesysCycling Sat, 7th Jan 2012 00:45:07

Some of those riders in the front bunch include Nick Aitken, Luke Ockerby, Calvin Watson, Nic Dougall, Luke Fetch, and Cameron Bayly

The blue and red train of Jayco-AIS leading the way through the start-finish area, getting  three laps to go.

28km remaining from 122km

Davison dropped on KOM Ockerby and Macca in chase goup #roadnats

@BudgetForklifts Sat, 7th Jan 2012 00:46:25

25km remaining from 122km

Action really starting to heat up on the top of Mount Buninyong. Amazingly still Jayco-AIS leading. They've got plenty of options, but lacking and out and out sprinter arguably. I'd expect a move off the front at some point.

Tom Palmer still looking comfy up the climb. Going to be hard to get rid of him. #roadnats

@adamphelan Sat, 7th Jan 2012 00:55:40

22km remaining from 122km

Genesys looking ominous in the bunch. Seem happy to sit on for now, but they look comfortable and can't be ignored. We know what they can do.

Very distracting in our prime position here, delicious smells wafting across the road from the sausage sizzle

14km remaining from 122km

Watson has gone out the back of the break. The gap has also increased. Down to a race of two, or will the bunch come back?

13km remaining from 122km

Genesys have decided now is the time and are bringing all three of their riders in a sort of team pursuit across the gap. Still plenty of talent in the main bunch though.

Rhys Gillett spotted going through the finish. He has to finish to claim the sprint classification.

Got to say it, Rohan Dennis looks to be the best of he and Eric Sheppard. Just gone through into the final lap

One of today's escapees, Rhys Gillett is 11 minutes down.

 

Dennis and Shephard just about to hit the top of Mt Buninyong for the final time. They've got a gap of around 1:15

Dowm Buninyong Road and onto the finish!

1km remaining from 122km

Final kilometre - Here we go!

0km remaining from 122km

It's going to be a long slightly uphill sprint. They're in sight!

Rohan Dennis is the winner!

Sheppard cramped up big time in the sprint. Watson rolls over for third. Top day for Jayco-AIS, first and third.

Thanks for joining  us for the men's under 23 road race. We'll be back for the women's elite and under 23 road race at 1:30pm AEDT, with special guest, Rebecca McConnell, former stage winner of the Giro Donne.

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