Michael Jaeger of Peloton Sports managed to over power his breakaway companions and today rode to the biggest victory of his road career when he took out the A Grade race at Akuna West Head today, ahead of a rapidly rising Paul Edelstein of Sydney CC and Simon Coughlan.
It was once again a star studded field entering the A grade Akuna West Head Classic and with the race now taking in 3 laps of West Head, this is certainly the toughest monthly course and as a result a number of Sydneys top riders using it as measure of their fitness. It was for that reason that Alex Malone Satalyst Giant rider and Cycling News editor decided to get himself some early media coverage when he got himself in the early break and was driving the pace.
With such an undulating course, it is very difficult for a lone rider to ride away particularly with the Albion Cycles team ready to put their men on the front and set the pace. This was also the second round of the MWCC club championships and therefore a number of the MWCC riders were more interested in marking their own club mates than worrying about other clubs up the road. It scenes reminiscent of Lance Armstrong chasing down Italian Filippo Simeoni on the 18th stage of the Tour de France in 2004, any MWCC rider was happily picked off by his fellow clubmen.
In the end a small break got away and was able to set themselves up, but it was Michael Jaeger of Peloton who was able to kick clear of Paul Edelstein of Sydney CC and Simon Coughlan, ith Michael winning by a few bike lengths and enough time to salute the crowd. Young Paul Edelstein has had a rapid rise up the Sydney cycling ranks in the last 6 months and his training has certainly paid dividends.
In the MWCC B Grade the group rode out like on a social ride before Garett ‘General’ Paton decided to up the pace halfway up the first climb that had a number of riders thinking they were on a Tuesday/Thursday group ride where once again they were about to be shot out the back! Paton was pushing about 7.0watts/kg but that wasn’t enough to stop Richie Porte look a like Lucas Laxale from dragging the rest of the bunch back up to Garett with the exception of Dave Watkinson who’s race was over before the turn off to West Head and he would wait for the rest of the world to come by and give him a lift back. However while it looked like the war of attrition would come down to a select few however just as riders hit the limit, the pace eased and came back together – the MWCC riders were obviously not interested in doing any work or spending anytime in the wind, with everyone declaring themselves a protected rider in this round of club championships. The reason that I have come to that conclusion is how else to you explain the B Grade Rest Of The World bridging the 5 minute gap and passing the MWCC race in just over 1 lap? Unless Team Sky were on the front of B Rest of the World there can be no other explanation.
The lack of punishment on the hills suited Jonathan ‘KFC’ Herb perfectly because this sprinter was able to sit in and wait for the final sprint before unleashing the power and taking the win ahead of Wolfman Mitch Dixon – who I thought had a pair of black leg warmers on – until he told me that it was actually the hair on his legs. Post ride Herb was very happy with the result and he said that he only had to drink one bidon of his own blood during the race in order to give him enough power to win on the 4% incline at the finish – it was like watching Peter Sagan at his best.
David Adcock showed what happens when he can follow others in a pack and rather than take an early turn like he happened to do at Calga the previous week, so he simply sat in and followed orders before turning his legs over for third place. Certainly will create an intersitng third round of club championships in the criterium round.
The ‘Rest of the World’ B Grade was a massive field and I think as a result, anyone who tried to bust it up and show some attacking flair was also going to be faced with some rider with fresh legs who was going to drag the rest of the field back up to them. There were was plenty of strong riders in the group – the Flying Carrots has Adam Kimberley and Andy Hellmich both well versed in podium presentations, Darren Byers of Randwick is a regular and Michael Chidgey would be getting into form for the track season. However it was the youngest of the Carrots – Alex Morgan and Bill Godfrey who would be flying the flag for the Central Coast when they jumped away with the older and wiser legs of Brent Dawson from Dubbo CC. Alex and Bill probably weren’t born when Brent was already collecting podiums in races around NSW and so it was little wonder that he was able to roll the two younger riders, who were probably thinking about the ‘selfie’ they would take on the podium. Dawson took the win, with Bill in second ahead of Alex Morgan.
C Grade Manly was a quality field and so it was decided that Club President Jim Buda would conveniently miss his start time so that he could ride with no pressure in the C ‘Rest of the World’. I have no idea how this race panned out. All I can confirm is that it came down to a sprint finish and Nathan Crump timed his acceleration to perfection when he jumped clear and made the other riders look like C Grade amateurs. It was his Cavendish like acceleration that simply took him two to three bike lengths in front of second and third within 20 metres – Omega Pharma may have a new lead out man. The second and third place was down to who had the better timed lunge at the line – with the video replay showing less than a quarter of a wheel in it. It was Toby Molineaux who would be declared the first loser and Ed Shilland was the rider who was just happy to be on the podium. Not sure what happened with Andrew Vize but he was lucky to stay upright when he changed direction in the sprint, narrowingly avoiding the two riders behind him – watch at 23 seconds in the clip to the right. The commissaires have reviewed the video and after some money changing hands, have decided that no action needs to be taken.
The C Grade ‘Rest of The World’ was a much larger field than expected with most deciding that they would sign up on the day – probably something to do with the average age of the entrants and most of them perhaps having an aversion to this ‘internet thingy’ that all their grandkids are talking about. This field also swallowed up the A Grade Womens who had a few minutes head start up the Akuna climb, in the end it was Nicholas Simpson of Suvelo who cracked the rest of the group and he had plenty of time to look around and enjoy his victory. Duke Millington has shown that he has the ability to ride C Grade after his recent elevation from D Grade and he made the trip worthwhile from the Central Coast with a second place ahead of the bunch, Richard Stead (Eastern Suburbs) was third and surprisingly had to race off to work – I would have thought that the C Grade pay cheque was enough to retire on.
Within the C Grade race, the A grade women were also racing and Narelle Hards showed her strength and put a number of riders to shame when she was only just edged off the podium in C Grade with a 4th place but a first in A Grade Womens, Cat Haines was second in Womens A and sixth over the line. Lisa Antill was third in her first trip to the Hell of the North, a solid result considering she had a decent hit out yesterday.
D Grade was a combined field to encourage some solid racing and it was certainly a very good turn out for D Grade. A number of riders were making their debut and it was a even mix within MWCC and other clubs, while the opening Akuna climb generally softens up a number of the D Grade riders, today the bunch was large enough to give riders enough shelter that the group remained large throughout and it soon swallowed up the B Grade womens who had been given the head start up Akuna. However with the ‘Wall’ and the final berg to be negotiated, it can so often be about timing and local knowledge and with that it was a MWCC clean sweep on the podium with Greg Gillespie taking the glory ahead of Phil Tanner and Chris Lobascher – three names that I can’t recall being on the podium in recent times – like so many riders they seem to time their form perfectly for the June/July period – bit like Contador and Froome.
The B Grade ladies battled hard and it was only a momentary lapse by Jessie Haverfield which was reminiscent of Eric Zabel at the Milan San Remo, when young Jessie has eased up before the line thinking that she had victory wrapped up – only for Lauren Perry to come around the outside and edge her out with a lunge at the line.
With Lauren on debut it was a very surprising victory. Mary Lou Webb of Peloton Sports was also on debut and she was very happy with her performance and as a result she managed to find herself up on the podium. Well done to all.
Overall a massive day of riding and yet again a complete clean sheet on the accident front – not only the best road course, but also the safest in Sydney. We must also thank the Mario Cippollini look a like who helped out with the presentations. See you all again next month 14 July – pre registration will open up early July on www.trybooking.com and we encourage all riders to take advantage of this. If it rains out – all riders will receive a full refund or a transfer to the next month.
Thanks to all our marshalls and commissaires today. Not only did we have marshals at the turn around, we also had roving marshalls on motorbikes and cars, to ensure the safety of all of our participants – so thanks to everyone Brad, Trev, Col, Mark, Craig and everyone else who helped out.
Next Saturday is the next round of our Cyclo Cross Series at Terrey Hills – come along and watch as this sport explodes in numbers. A great day or racing and you don’t require a cyclo cross bike to compete.