Category Archives: Races

Race reports and previews

Can Simon Gerrans make history and ‘do the treble’ in the Herald-Sun Tour?

Can Simon Gerrans make history and ‘do the treble’ in the Herald-Sun Tour?

Gerrans tucked in behind his team

Over at The Roar, I’m asking whether Simon Gerrans can become the first man to win the national road race championships, the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour, and the Tour Down Under in the same year.

“The question is: has his focus already shifted to the spring classics and in particular Milan-San Remo?

Gerrans has been in amazing shape for four weeks already. If he can hold it for five more days he stands to achieve arguably the greatest feat of cycling on Australian soil.

Would anyone bet against him?’

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Race Report: Australian Men’s Road Champs

My race report from the 2014 Australian Road Nats, originally published on Crankpunk.

crankpunk

 by Tim Renowden, who was roadside for the race. All images courtesy of Tim. 

 

While the Northern Hemisphere shivered through ice, snow, mud, and darkness, Australian cycling had its first major event of the 2014 season this weekend. Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge claimed his second national champion’s jersey after winning a promoter’s dream three-man sprint from Cadel Evans and Richie Porte.

European and North American shivering through icy winters and polar vortices may struggle to picture the cream of Australian road cycling sweating it out under blazing sun, in January, for a national champion’s jersey. This early in the season? Really? In the sun?

Yes.

The Australian road championships have become increasingly prominent over recent years, as the fields have grown in depth significantly. Despite being ridiculously early in the season for most Europe-based pros, it comes just a week before the UCI season kicks off with the…

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Aus Road Nats 2014

Adam HansenDrapac and GreenEdge on the chargeDescent of Fiskens RdSteele Von Hoff had a great rideSimon Clarke gives me a funny lookAvanti were prominent
Drapac blazing a pathSomeone spotted a camera.Damien Howson chatting with Nathan Earle on Mt Buninyong. Jack Bobridge cruises ahead.Drapac pushing hardRichieCadel
Sweating it outAt the top of Mt BuninyongDrapac rider popsCadelMore Cowbell!Admiring the view
Docker chases DrapacDocker and Durbridge lead up the climbAusRoadNats_2014-19The chase groupRichie sips a drinkClimbing

Aus Road Nats 2014, a set on Flickr.

The Australian Championships were held in Ballarat last week. I managed to attend the men’s elite road race, which gathered an outstanding field of ProTour riders.

The race was won by Orica-GreenEdge star Simon Gerrans, from a three-man selection including Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Sky).

Gerrans used the excellent support provided by his team-mate Cameron Meyer (who launched a late attack and then drove the pace for Gerrans, allowing him to sit on Evans and Porte, saving energy) to perfection.

Having the national title decided from arguably the three top Australian riders of the moment was a rare treat for the crowd, and the buzz at the finish was extraordinary.

It was a great day out, with a brilliant vibe along the side of the road, and some excellent hard racing.

The sheer numerical advantage that Orica-GreenEdge has means it’s always in the box seat for the win, but this year Drapac had a good shot, controlling the race for a long period. Ultimately though, the World Tour team simply had too much firepower for the Pro Continental team to handle.

Some of the other elite riders without strong team support, the likes of Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Adam Hansen, Steel Von Hoff, and Jack Bobridge, tried hard but when it comes down to it, the best team usually wins.

Mitchelton Bay Crits – Stage 2, 2014

The Mitchelton Bay Crit series is on this week along the coast to the west of Melbourne, predominantly around Geelong and Williamstown. It’s a great last-minute tune up for racers competing in the National Road Championships, and also a very early season hit-out for other top Aussie professionals riding for World Tour or Pro Continental squads. I headed down to Geelong’s Eastern Park to catch Stage 2 of the race, and snapped some photos and video to capture the scene.

While the Northern Hemisphere pros are stuck inside on trainers, or getting muddy in cyclocross races, the Aussies are lucky enough to get warm conditions and some early opportunities to burn the off-season away. As a result this series attracts some big name international riders, including Orica-GreenEdge stars Matt Goss (who won this stage), Luke Durbridge, Leigh Howard, Michael Hepburn and Mitch Docker. Garmin-Sharp’s sprinter Steele Von Hoff also made an appearance, along with newly-uncontracted former Orica-GreenEdge sprinter Allan Davis. There were also plenty of up-and-coming riders including Caleb Ewan, and local talent from the Australian National Road Series (NRS).

Matt Goss claimed the victory after a strong team performance from his Orica-GreenEdge team. Luke Durbridge was particularly aggressive throughout the race, but Michael Hepburn and Mitch Docker were also active. Leigh Howard finished third, behind young sensation (and future GreenEdge rider) Caleb Ewan (Subaru-NSWIS).

The women’s Elite field was equally star-studded, fielding former world champion Giorgia Bronzini and her Wiggle-Honda team; the world’s #1 ranked women’s team Orica-AIS; Specialized-Securitor; and Team Vanderkitten.

Stage winner Chloe Hosking (Roxsolt) surprised Bronzini with an early sprint to grab victory, with track star Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS) third.  Gracie Elvin, riding for the Australian national team, and former Orica-AIS rider Tiffany Cromwell (newly signed with Specialized-Securitor) completed the top five.

All in all it was a fun day of spectating and an easy way to catch some of the best riders in the world. I definitely recommend checking the race out if you live in or around Melbourne.

Bay Crits men’s elite video