All the action from the 2013 Body Torque Tour of the South West
The 2013 Body Torque Tour of the South West welcomed 407 riders to the coastal town of Warrnambool, 265 kilometres west of Melbourne. The tour was held over two days (April 27-28). Day one consisted of a morning road stage of between 51-102km, and an afternoon time trial of 12.7km, both held on the Wangoom cycling circuit. Day two was a 30-60 minute criterium around a 1.2km circuit set against the beautiful backdrop of the Hopkins River.
The racing was fierce across both days, with riders having to fight their way through many weather extremes. Saturday's racing was held in fine and sunny conditions. However, winds of up to 70km/hr on the Wangoom circuit played havoc with riders, and positioning in the bunch was very important, with many riders at the back being dropped in the strong cross-wind sections. The afternoon time trial was equally testing, with many riders sensibly opting to not use deep and full disc wheels in the very strong winds.
Rain in the very early hours of Sunday morning meant that the Criterium circuit was damp when the first bunch - Master's C Grade commenced their Stage 3 criterium experience at 8am. However, the rain didn't reappear and within an hour or so the circuit had dried substantially, and it was totally dry by around midday. The racing was of a very high standard, and repeats of the testing Bostock St hill certainly provided a challenge for riders who were tired from the previous day's racing.
Before we get to the racing - a big thank you to all the volunteers for all their help with this event. Any many thanks also to the many sponsors and supporters of this event including the major sponsor - Body Torque and Anchor Point who this year supported the women’s race.
A summary of the action in each grade is listed below.
Men's A Grade
Eric Sheppard (search2retain powered by health.com.au) took out the opening stage 102km road stage in Men's A Grade by a margin of 16 seconds from James Butler (Target Trek Racing) and Alexander Smyth (Satalyst-Giant Racing). This 16 second gap would prove decisive in determining overall GC honours for the tour.
The Stage 2 12.7km ITT was taken out by Nick Bensley (The Standard) in a time of 15:58.0, with an impressive average speed of 47.6km/hr. Second was Nicholas Squillari (AWS B) and third David Kelly (Total Rush Hyster). Eric Sheppard came in 4th in 16:24.1 to maintain his overall GC lead.
The final stage was taken out by 'Criterium-specialist' Shannon Johnson (Charter Mason Drapac Development), who powered to victory by a margain of 10-12 metres over George Tansley (Euride Racing) and Brenton Jones (Crankhouse). Eric Sheppard finished safely in the bunch to take out the overall GC Title.
Men's B Grade
Four riders singled out in the Opening Stage Road Race in Men's B Grade, finishing with a gap of more than four minutes on the remaining riders. This would obviously have a huge bearing on the overall GC honours. Tyson Chambers (Hawthorn CC) took a close victory over Jose Areta (Coburg CC), with Lee Burchell (Geelong CC) and Sam De Bruin (Hawthorn CC) coming in 8 and 13 seconds down respectively.
Jose Areta and Tyson Chambers continued their domination in the afternoon ITT, but this time the finishing order was reversed. Jose Areta finished 22 seconds ahead in a time of 16:59.6 (Average speed: 44.8km/hr), and thus took a 22 second overall GC lead into the final stage Criterium.
It was good to see a few new faces come to the fore in the final stage criterium. Jordan Elliot (St Kilda CC) took the victory over Sam Pickering (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Naish Chapman (Footscray CC). However, the overall GC was unaffected, with Jose Areta taking a very popular victory.
Men's C Grade
The opening stage road race in Men's C grade was a keenly contested event, with 23 riders finishing within 30 seconds of the winner - Jared McClintock from St Kilda CC. Jared finished just ahead of Thomas Slingsby (Preston CC) and Joshua Liston (Ballarat-Sebastopol CC).
The second stage ITT proved far more decisive in determining overall GC honours. Thomas Slingsby finished a decisive 38 seconds clear of second placed Paul Speed (St Kilda CC), with Christopher Papastavros (St Kilda CC) a further 23 seconds behind in third place.
The final stage criterium was taken out by Ben Pascall (Coburg CC) from Lynton Zawadski (St Kilda CC) and the ever consistent Thomas Slingsby. This was the third successive podium for 16 year old Slingsby, and sealed a well deserved overall GC title.
Women's A Grade
More than half of the Women's A Grade field finished within 20 seconds of one another in the opening 85km road stage. Kate Finegan (BCS) took a close sprint victory over noted track pursuit rider Lisa Hanley (Anchor Point), with Crystal Wemyss (Coates Hire) grabbing the third position a few seconds back.
Any one of fifteen riders could have won the afternoon ITT stage without surprising. However, it loomed as pivotal in determining overall GC honours, and that is exactly how it panned out. Noted sprinter Nicole Whitburn (LIV/Giant) took a great victory in 19:38.4 (Average speed: 38.8km/hr), with Carley McKay (Anchor Point) and Lisa Hanley taking second and third at 7 and 17 seconds down respectively.
The Women's A Grade criterium was an exciting and high paced race, with team tactics playing a vital part. With a well planned late attack Penny Brown (Total Rush Hyster) took the victory over the ever-consistent Lisa Hanley and Nicole Whitburn. Whitburn's third place finish sealed the overall GC victory by a mere 5 seconds over Lisa Hanley with Carley McKay another second behind - well done ladies - great racing!
Women's B Grade
The women's B Grade event was the smallest starting field of all 9 grades, but certainly loomed as one of the most interesting, with many people questioning whether Verita Stewart (Hawthorn CC), the C Grade victor from both the Mt Buller Road Race and Baw Baw Classic, could continue her domination after being elevated to B Grade.
The opening stage road race finished in a bunch sprint, contested by 13 of the 15 riders who started. Noted track rider Grace Phang (St Kilda CC) was able to prevail over Maartje Munsterman (St Kilda CC) and Manuela Marasco (Hawthorn CC).
The Saturday afternoon ITT proved pivotal in determining the overall GC. Grace Phang powered around the course and recorded an excellent time of 19:57.3 - a time which would have placed her fourth in Women's A Grade. No other rider in the B Grade field was able to come close to Grace's effort, and she won the stage by 1min37secs over Carolyn Phillips (Southern Masters CC), with local rider Elizabeth Doueal (Warrnambool CC) taking third.
The stage 3 criterium was taken out by the powerful sprint of Maartje Munsterman over Grace Phang and Nina Greig-Towers (Carnegie Caulfield CC).
Women's C Grade
It would be fair to say that we were ecstatic with the size of the field for Women's C Grade. 40 women signed up for this grade, including many first time riders, and we would like to thank each and every one of you for entering.
A bunch of twelve riders approached the finish line together in the 51km opening road race stage, with Karin Coles (Carnegie Caulfield CC) prevailing over Freya Cole (Norwood CC) and Danielle Garden (Echuca-Moama CC).
The afternoon 12.7km ITT was taken out decisively by Danielle Garden (Echuca-Moama CC) in a time of 21:03.2 (Average Speed: 36.2km/hr), with Jodie Batchelor (St Kilda CC) second in 22:07.8 and Michelle Scurr third in 22:16.4. Garden's clear ITT victory meant that she took a GC lead of more than one minute into the final stage criterium.
The Sunday criterium stage was taken out in great fashion by Briony Russell (Carnegie Caulfield CC) from Danielle Garden and Freya Cole.
Danielle Garden took out the overall GC title.
Masters A Grade
The Master's A Grade field was incredibly impressive. It included Paralympic Gold Medallist Michael Gallagher and reigning Victorian Masters Cyclist of the Year Shane Miller, with opinions divided as to who would take overall GC honours.
Many had considered that this event would be decided in the Saturday afternoon ITT, but the windy conditions on Saturday morning splintered the group, and caused some significant time gaps. David Sturt (Carnegie Caulfield CC) won the stage in a sprint finish over Michael Gallagher (Carnegie Caulfield CC), with Stefan Kirsch (Blackburn CC) taking third a further 19 seconds back. Pre-race favourite Shane Miller (Coburg CC) finished in 8th position; 1min27secs behind the winner.
The Saturday afternoon ITT was taken out in fine style by Shane Miller. Shane recorded a time of 16:00.6 for the 12.7km journey, an average of 47.6km/hr, and only two seconds behind the time of Nick Bensley, who won Men's A Grade. Second in the ITT was Michael Gallagher in a very respectable time of 16:31.8, and third went to another renowned time trial specialist, Stephen Lane from the Coburg Cycling Club. After Saturday's action was complete Michael Gallagher held a 56 second GC lead over Shane Miller heading into the final day criterium stage.
The final day criterium stage was taken out by Brett Kingston (Carnegie Caulfield CC), who scored victory over his teammate Damien Jones. Local rider Brian McNamara (Warrnambool CC) finished in third position. Michael Gallagher finished in the bunch and took the overall GC title.
Master's B Grade
The Master's B Grade Road Stage finished with an 18 rider bunch sprint. Daniel Lehmann (Portland CC) prevailed over Peter Howard (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Sean Wilkeson (Carnegie Caulfield CC).
The Saturday afternoon ITT proved to be the decisive moment in determining overall GC honours. Brian Smith (Carnegie Caulfield CC) took a 15 second victory over Sean Wilkeson (Carnegie Caulfield CC), with Matthew Ledgar (St Kilda CC) taking third place a further 7 seconds back.
The Sunday morning criterium was taken out by Paul Nolte (Portland CC), with Peter Howard and Kim Sagnol (Carnegie Caulfield CC) rounding out the podium.
Master's C Grade
Jay Heather (Carnegie Caulfield CC) was the name on everyone's mind after he spaced the bunch in the morning road race, coming in more than three minutes ahead of the chasing peleton, and established an almost unassailable overall lead on the field. Second place in the road race went to local rider Ricky Smedts (Warrnambool CC) and third to Adam Aleksandrowicz (Geelong CC).
The afternoon time trial was taken out by Iain Clark (Brunswick CC) in the very impressive time of 17:56.2, with Warrnambool's Rohan Creed finishing a close second in 18:06.0, another very respectable time. Overall leader Jay Heather performed well in effectively his second ITT of the day to take third place, and virtually guarantee his overall GC title.
The criterium stage on Sunday morning was a highlight of the two day tour. Local rider David Sagnol (Port Fairy CC) launched an attack with several laps remaining and managed to hold his lead to the line. The other podium places in the criterium were filled by Iain Clark (Brunswick CC) and Bruno Rabl (St Kilda CC).
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