After an easy morning chatting tactics over porridge the girls prepared for a late start on what was going to be a long day. Tiarne, Shaz and Clare were all well placed in the bunch with another rider pulling the load for the first 20km. The lead car featuring Matt La Borg went for a bit of a detour to fill the tank whilst the girls attacked the first dirt section and a slow climb.
Coming into the second dirt section and Strade Nero climb all of the girls had held their places in the lead group when they found themselves up a creek without a paddle. Shaz lost the group after an argument with a pothole resulted in a mechanical and took a wrong turn down a very rocky path trying to catch up but still finished the race. Tiarne broke a link in her chain on the main climb and was unable to continue. After an hour wait in 4˚c and driving rain for the sag wagon, Tiarne called it a day. Clare, who finished in the climb in a good position just off the lead group did the honorable thing and stopped to help when another rider hit the deck. She then resumed the race finishing a commendable eighth.
With four hours of tough racing in the legs the girls hit the saddle the following morning ready for what looked like an easy course. Sometimes the course profile lies and this was one of those days. There was no rest for the wicked when a crazy Victorian pace line and strong crosswinds had everyone on the limit. In hindsight, we had the numbers to shut it down and certainly learned our lesson. The bunch splintered well before the first QOM at 30km with Clare the only SUVelo rider still in the lead peloton at that point. The climb was a lot longer and steeper than we had anticipated and unfortunately attacks up the climb dropped the remaining C-grade riders. Clare was incorporated into a small chase group that splintered on the second climb and again finished in a commendable eighth position. Tiarne finished 12th with Shaz not far behind.
Both days would have been hard in the nicest of weather but the trying conditions really added to the challenge and just finishing was a huge achievement. Racing in Victoria with slightly different rules and “etiquette” taught the girls a lot especially when it comes to dictating the pace and these lessons will definitely be applied to our upcoming races.
We went into this race with high hopes for Jesse Coyle in the first stage TT, and then in the bunch races with just one aim to get our jersey out there in the breakaway and we achieved our goals.
Day 1 – ITT, 9km
This was just flat out frothing at the nostrils stuff. Danny got his early excuse in early, coming into this weekend sick, but let’s be honest we all saw that coming with Grechy sick last week. He was our first man off, aiming to do a bit of course recon for Jesse to let him know about wind direction, the uphill and any pot holes. He came back with some very valuable info.
Rob and Pete were off next and despite having minimal aero equipment they both put in great TT performances to finish solidly in the middle of an NRS field.
Last up was Jesse. He shot out of the gates, hitting over 50km/h within 100m. He was on for a great ride. On the slightly longer, slightly uphill outwards leg of the course he flew and drew close to his 30sec man. On the way back, into a solid headwind, it was a bit more difficult, but Jesse squeezed everything he had out and rolled over the line in 21st place, a minute behind the winner but only just over 30 seconds behind second place. Not bad for his first NRS race!
The crit that was planned for the afternoon was thankfully cancelled. No-one wanted to see 140 riders go around a 1km crit course in the rain. So the boys went home showered and started to prepare for Day 2.
Day 2 – Strada Nero Road Race, 112km
The key word for today was “dirt”, which of course means punctures. There was about 20km of dirt roads, including a 5km uphill section affectionately known as ‘Strada Nero’. The rain turned the dirt to mud and made it very thick, heavy and difficult to ride. It was a day of the impossible for us. The pace was on as soon as the gun went. Despite all the equipment chat and concern about the dirt roads, Rob managed to flat on the sealed road before the first sprint point! Despite tirelessly chasing for around 20km until the first KOM, he never made it back to the peloton and unfortunately found himself in the grupetto with all the riders who had been dropped on the first climb.
The peleton really lit it up, led by Avanti Isowhey on the Strada Nero climb, and it blew the race to pieces with riders everywhere. Both Jesse and Pete rode out of their skins to cross the top in the second bunch of about 20 riders, with another 20 riders up the road. This is when Pete made a rookie mistake. On a fast descent that didn’t need any braking, Pete sat up to try and get mud out of his eyes and looked back up to see a 100m gap to the group that he has been in. He tried to shut it down, but, with the group working well to catch the leaders, it was a lost cause. It was a tough lesson to learn for him and he was eventually swallowed up by group 3, the NSWIS group.
Upfront it was a cross headwind and the 2 groups came together, leaving about 40 riders in the race, and Avanti and MAAP worked hard to keep it this way. Jesse knew he had no sprint, but was faced with the impossible task of trying to get off the front of a 40-man select NRS group. Common sense meant he stayed put but still found himself moving up to 17th on GC at the end of the day. Good day all round for the team.
Day 3 – Road Race, 96km
Today had 3 KOMs and they would prove to be the pinch points where teams tried to drop NSWIS, who appeared to have the strongest sprinter and lead out train. It was a nervous start for the peleton with a surprising amount of flats, and our boys tried to stay out of trouble and find the break of the day. The peleton wasn’t letting anything go though and in the nervousness there was a big crash just after the first sprint point. Luckily our boys escaped injury, but Pete was held up and Danny earned his excuse for the day with someone falling on the back of his bike and pushing the brake onto the wheel. Unaware of the brake rub, Danny and Pete chased back onto the peleton just in time for the climb to start. Danny started going backwards with a few others and only then realised his brake was rubbing on the wheel. He tried loosening it on the move, but ended up having to get off and fix it, which meant his day was done.
On a climb that didn’t look too difficult on paper the peleton blew to pieces with groups everywhere. Jesse found himself up front, with Pete and Rob not far behind and chasing hard. With the team car moving up to the front group to support our best placed rider, a badly timed puncture meant the end of the day for Rob, who managed to be the unluckiest guy in the peleton as he had to hitch-hike his way to the finish. Pete rejoined Jesse at the front to continue his eventful day. A second big crash found Pete laying in the tall grass on the side of the road with a fellow rider attempting to have a cuddle with him. Pete rejected his advances, got back on his bike and again chased back on, getting back just in time for the second KOM. Again the peleton lit it up, and again Jesse went with the front bunch, cresting the climb with the Avanti, MAAP and Mobius boys at the front.
Unfortunately Pete ended up in a big group that was unhitched and this was one chase too many for him. Up the road Jesse attacked the bunch on the back of the sprint point getting off the front with the ever present Kauffman and a Satalyst-Verve rider. It looked like they would be let go until Pat’s Veg sent their team to the front to protect their 35th spot on GC. This kept the break in check and coming into the 3rd KOM the peleton again flew up the climb, closing the break down and splitting the group. NSWIS found themselves in the second group but shut down the gap to the first group and Jesse again found himself securely in the front bunch in the run-in to the finish. However, with a fast run in to a sprint finish Jesse couldn’t get off the front and had to resign himself to a bunch finish to cap off a great weekend, finishing in 16th on GC!
The boys really did the club proud this weekend putting the jersey on display and really showing themselves as NRS riders. With the new found confidence we are looking forward to the next race where we really believe we can show up the big teams and get a big result. Bring on National Capital Tour.
Special thanks to the one-man DS, soigneur & masseuse that is Dan The Man!
A strong collection of SUVelo riders made the journey north to regional NSW’s favourite Bus training road, aka the Beaumont Rd Criterium course. Braving the icy conditions and semitrailers who had used the road as an over night truck stop, racing got underway with early attacks from all clubs (obviously minus Randwick Botany).
Continuing their tradition of flying in mercenaries, Manly Warringah CC Secretary, Alexis Kaless, was rumoured to be livid the AOC would not release any Olympic cyclists for the race and he would have to settle with former SUVelo rider, Alex Nazarewicz on this occasion.
SUVelo and Northern Sydney CC on the other hand concentrated on animating the race, and did so accordingly with a number of stinging attacks that threatened to de-rail the Naz train. Georg Bienert established himself in what looked like a possible winning move before Balmain’s David Evans (MWCC) was called into action to bring the menacing move back.
As a sprint finished looked more and more inevitable, SUVelo established a sprint train with Moosh Brown and then Chris Miller keeping the pace high for their man Nate Bonarius. In the wash up, Nate secured a 2nd/3rd photo finish (results remain pending after NSCC posted an inconclusive picture on their website) with Naz taking a rare criterium race win.
Despite the supposed cap of 8 riders per club per grade, Manly lined up with 14-odd riders, stacking the B-Grade field. Norths rode well as a team, with several early attacks before getting a break to stick. The break comprised 5 NSCC riders, a couple from Manly and one each from SUVelo & Randwick. Despite MWCC being obviously outgunned in the break, the smurf army in the bunch were content to let it ride away. To the surprise of nobody paying attention, NSCC finished 1-2-3, with Tai Huynh backing up his A-Grade Heffron breakaway on Saturday to win.
No race report, but a great win from Paddy Dillon!
No race report, but a solid effort from Paul Curjak to net 3rd in his first ever race.
The final round of the series is next weekend at Heffron Park with everything to ride for.
SUVelo member Sarah Roy holds second place on the General Classification after stage two of the Route de France. Riding for the Orica-AIS squad, Roy finished tenth on the stage, with only ten seconds separating her from GC leader Amy Pieters (wiggle-High5).
Roy’s form at the Route de France has been first class. Her performance overnight makes it her third consecutive top ten finish in this year’s edition of the race. Roy finished fifth on stage one and second behind race leader Pieters on the Prologue.
With five stages left to race, we’ll be watching with keen interest and cheering our club mate on. Go Sarah!
SUVelo members mustered in Mudgee last weekend for the Mark Dwyer Memorial Handicap and Robert Oatley Vineyard Scratch races. The races, held by the Mudgee Cycle Club, are a favourite. The races take on some of the most beautiful yet challenging regional roads NSW has to offer.
Mark Dwyer Memorial Handicap – Saturday 6th August
The Handicap race came down to the wire. Great work by Chris Miller saw teammates Nate Bonarius and Ben Wray well placed within the last 800 metres. Unfortunately the prospect of a podium finish was dashed at the last second as the Scratch group caught the lead bunch just as they approached the finish line. Ben and Nate finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Robert Oatley Vineyard Scratch Race – Sunday 7th August
Sunday’s Scratch Race saw SUVelo riders compete in Divisions 1 (120km), 2 and 3 (80km). In Division 1, Chris Miller was part of a 5 man breakaway that formed on the first lap. The break held until 11km to go, with Chris finishing sixth. Impressive riding saw Rob Redpath take 3rd in Division 2 and Julian Townsend take 3rd in Division 3. Great results all round.
Congratulations to our SUVelo members and all riders who competed. Thanks to the Mudgee Cycle Club for hosting the event and, as always, to our sponsors for their ongoing support.
Well the first shots have been fired in the Battle of Bridge and notch a few up for Sydney Uni Velo Club! A simply huge turnout of SUVelo riders at round 1 at Heffron Park. So many great performances but special mention needs to go to the following uni riders:
A Grade. Winner Jesse Coyle taking victory with a solo break from the break. Nathan Bonarius 2nd after making the break
C Grade: Winner Dave Leon unleashing a power sprint for the win
D Grade: John Evans 3rd place
Women’s Grade: A simply fantastic turnout of Uni riders with Maddy Beevors taking the win and Clare Menzies third
National Capital Tour took place in Canberra between 18th September – 20th September.
There are two main grades on offer, NRS and open grade.
We had impressive results from both the women and men race team.
In the women NRS, we have a team comprises of Abby Sneddon, Ella Scanlan-Bloor, Givanna Haryono, and Lauren Fitzgerald. We also have Stephanie Lord racing the D Grade.
In the men NRS, we have Christopher Miller racing as part of Park Bikes team. This is Chris maiden NRS race.
Meanwhile, we also have men’s team for the open category (A grade). The team feature Cameron Judson, Shaun MacWilliams, Rowan Lean, and Ethan Dougherty.
Stage One 7.39km Hilly TT
This stage is exclusive for NRS only. It’s a 7.39 km time trial at Googong Village. The course was essentially a downhill out and an uphill back.
We had an impressive result from the women’s team. Lauren Fitzgerald, the latest recruit to the women’s team managed to finished in 9th place, conceding only 41 seconds from the winner Ruth Corset.
Stage Two Corin Forest Road Race
For those who are familiar with Canberra, the name Corin Forest would send a chill down your spine.
Stage two is a road race for all grade. 95.4 km for the Women, and 58.6 km for the open grades.
The stage starts from the heart of Canberra and finishes at the top of Corin Forest. The overall terrain is undulating with some mini climbs along the way, and a 10 km climb to the finish.
In the women NRS, the race started off pretty calm with a very small group attacking from the get go.
Things started to get pretty hot when the bunch were approaching the first QOM point. There were constant surging as the top guns battling for the QOM points. As a result, some riders were shelled out, and the bunch were split into two. Upon cresting the QOM, the back bunch were able to work together to get back to the main bunch.
There was a couple of tiny attacks afterwards, but it did not last long.
Just as the bunch were approaching the 2nd QOM checkpoint, the big guns were at it again. The climbing pace was searing hot. This resulted in many casualties at the back.
At the start of the final climb towards Corin Forest, a small group of really strong riders managed to peel off. Lauren were able to get to this group and stole the stage win! Beating likes of Ruth Corset and Lucy Betchel.
What an impressive result by Lauren in her only 2nd NRS race!
In A grade, the Men’s team were trying to put their plan in action. In short, the plan was to put either Ethan or Cameron on a breakaway, and have Rowan to keep Shaun as fresh as possible for the 10 km final climb. Unfortunately the race did not go quite as they wanted. Cameron broke away at about the 12 km mark and was joined by one other about 10 km later. They managed to stay away and had over a minute advantage at the base of the climb.
Unfortunately for Cameron, his breakaway companion fell apart. Not willing to give in, he decided to plug on. Meanwhile the peloton was in tatters.
With about 3 km to go on the climb, Cameron was joined by 3 other riders. About 30 seconds later, two riders decided to break off, and unfortunately for Cameron was not able to go with them.
The break stuck until the finish, and Cameron came back with 4th place.
What an epic stage!
Stage Three Road Race
Stage three is an undulating road race around city of Canberra. It is 74.9 km for the NRS and 56.8 km for the A grade.
For the women’s team, the plan is to put Abby on the breakaway, and for Givanna and Ella to keep Lauren safe in the bunch.
The race went as planned. Abby managed to stay in the breakaway until it was brought back, and Lauren were able to stay in the bunch safely until the finish line.
Although there were some argy-bargy in the bunch as riders were trying their best to not be at the back of the bunch, there were no crashes. Everyone finished safely within the time cut.
In A grade, the selection was made with about 25 km to go when the GC contenders pressed hard on a long technical descent, followed by a series of climbs with false flats in between out of the valley.
A crash on the climb and further attacks reduced the group further so around 12 riders. The finish was hectic, Cameron had Robbie Kater‘s wheel but was muscled out. Cameron came in 4th, same time as the stage winner (Robbie Kater) but with less the time bonus. Rowan came in about 1:40, followed by Shaun, then Ethan.
Stage Four Criterium
The final stage of the National Capital Tour features a criterium around Stromlo Forest Park.
Everyone were able to finish safely in the women’s team. Lauren was the highest placed rider from the team at 11th. On the GC, she was able to retain her 9th place.
Not much happened in the A grade as everyone were very tired after the road race in the morning.
In the GC, Cameron finished 4th, followed by Rowan, Shaun, and Ethan.
Amy’s Otway Classic is a Women’s NRS race held in conjunction with the fantastic Amy’s Gran Fondo ride. This year, SUVelo was well represented with a large group of riders and race team members participating across both events.
For the race team, the first event was a 1 hour criterium held in the centre of Lorne. The circuit was a hot dog lap, meaning a test of handling skills and lots of sprinting out of the U-turn. The pace was snappy from the get go. This was a serious challenge for our riders, as our normal hunting grounds (race tracks) are rarely a hotdog formation.
Lauren Fitzgerald gave a spectacular performance, staying with the bunch for the duration of the race and finishing with the leader’s time. Givanna Haryono and Abby Sneddon stayed with the bunch for the first portion of the race, but ended up off the back and integrated with a second bunch by the halfway mark. Jo Meldgaard gave an aggressive and fearsome performance but crashed out of the race and had to withdraw from the entire weekend. She’s recovering and in high spirits though and we know she’ll be back in fine form soon. The girls went in to the second day of the weekend resolute to support and protect Lauren.
The route for stage 2 – Amy’s Otway Classic – is similar to the Gran Fondo, at 110km in length. The race is one of the biggest, well attended races in the Women’s NRS Calendar, and our Race Team members were complimented by the incredible level of organisation, support and the professional appearance of the race. We noted the incredible banners and barriers at the start and finish lines, and coupled with noticing the incredible talent that was competing for the title of winner, it really gave our riders a huge boost of confidence and commitment to this incredible sport. Imagine standing at a start line similar to that which we see at the Tour De France!
Remembering key advice from our Race Team Leader Marissa Madden, our girls attempted to stay at the front of the bunch at the start, and keep their elbows out to defend their positions (and especially Lauren). Lauren managed to stay in the first half of the bunch, weaving and defending her position with exceptional skill. We noted the bumping and closeness of competing riders – what an experience!
The major climb of this race was testing for our riders, with Lauren and Abby staying with the lead bunch and Givanna conceding 17 minutes with the high pace and level of skill. This was Givanna’s and Lauren’s first NRS races and they gave fantastic efforts.
The SUVelo Racing Men’s and Women’s race teams recently competed in the Sam Miranda Tour of the King Valley, held on 21 – 23 August 2015. A part of the Subaru National Road Series, the tour consisted of four stages:
The Men’s team was comprised of Mark Keeffe, Ethan Dean Doughty, Rhys J. O’Shea, Shaun MacWilliam, Georg Bienert and a guest rider Daniel Paine. The Women’s team saw Gina Ricardo, Abby Sneddon, Josephine Meldgaard, and Georgia Catterick riding. SUVelo member Lisa Antill was also racing with the Boss Team.
The first stage of the Tour, while a short ITT at 9km, was fast. The average speeds of the winning riders were 47.7km/h and 40.8km/h for the men and women respectively. Mark Keeffe set the best time for the men’s squad, Josephine Meldgaard for the women’s.
Stage 2, the 39km criterium, was raced later the same day. The criterium was Georgia Catterick’s first, who recalls,
The pace was fast right from the gun. I found the first few laps the hardest but once I was used to the fast pace it was a lot of fun! I tried to move up with a few laps to go but in the end I lost a few seconds as I got caught behind a crash. I am pretty happy to get 19th for my first criterium.
Stage 3 was the Tour’s Queen stage. The course featured 15km of gravel road which included a punishing 6km climb. Of the men’s race, Ethan Dean Doughty said,
The gravel was the closest experience to racing Paris-Roubaix without going to France. The race was completely blown apart through these sections. For most of us, finishing felt like winning.
Concerns over the safety of the course saw the last two sections of gravel cut from the women’s race. The pace was fast with a mass sprint by riders eager to gain a good position ahead of each gravel section. Josephine Meldgaard rode well, finishing 11th on the difficult stage. Unfortunately Georgia Catterick crashed during the stage and retired from the race. She didn’t suffer any injuries though; good news ahead of her upcoming UCI Worlds racing.
Stage 4 would be cut short for the men just after the first intermediate sprint point. With the peloton averaging about 50km/h, a touch of wheels resulted in a massive crash. Lots of riders went down as did two motorbikes. The race was neutralised and the stage eventually abandoned.
The women’s race was thankfully less eventful, though Josephine Meldgaard did crash. She continued on to finish the stage.
Strong riding by Abby Sneddon saw her make the final selection. She finished in the bunch three seconds behind the stage winner and 20th in the overall GC classification.
Congratulations to all our riders who competed and a huge thank you to their support team. For more information about this year’s race, you can watch highlights of every stage on Cycling Australia’s YouTube channel and view all the results on the NRS website.