Monday, September 5, 2011

Coburg Criterium - Race Report

That's not a headwind.... this is a headwind...

Coburg CC Criterium - 5/09/2011

Sunny conditions with a brutal, blustery northerly wind met racers at the National Boulevard on Saturday for a Coburg CC criterium. The hardest part of the day was easily the ride up Sydney Road to the course. TDR fortunately joined forces with the MUCyc and Canard guys who shared the work in the wind.

With only Mills, Watson and Duggan in attendance, numbers were down for any lead-outs. This was widely considered fortunate, as the 50 km/h tailwind on the home straight looked like a dangerous finish. Plan for the day: attack!

Roll out. Round the first corner. Click click - 53:12. Attack.

With 45 minutes of riding to be complete, Duggan possibly bit off more than he could chew with a first lap attack. Surprised to see no one follow or even respond, Duggan settled in for about 15 minutes off the front. Riding solo into the brutal headwind on the back straight made for very hard going, with Duggan eventually reeled in after a chase by Tom Christie (MUCyc) and others. Cheeky grins exchanged between the TDR lads, it was clear it was going to be one of those days...

With Watson and Mills looking strong in the bunch, Duggan again tried in vain to get off the front, thwarted by riders jumping his wheel. Once again the pace settled down with the pace making being shared by a few riders. Several attacks by other riders had heart rates raised when Duggan decided to give it another go, bridging to a rider hanging off the front, with Tom Christie on his wheel. Tom pulled through smoothly and a group started to form, with 6 riders working together to keep the pressure on.  

Caught out by the split in the bunch, Mills and Watson worked hard with the remaining bunch to reel in the escapee's. Duggan continued to sit in the breakaway trying to recover, atypically shirking the work knowing that he had burnt quite a few matches in the earlier stages of the race.   

With the 6 riders clearly away, the cat and mouse games started on the last lap. A well timed, suicidal attack from Michael Holder (MUCyc) went away  with a kilometre to go as the remainder of the bunch looked at each other. Finally Christie reacted and chased his own team mate, only to go into the red just before the penultimate corner. With only 500 m to go, Duggan was forced to set the pace, managing the distance between the group and Holder, whilst watching his shoulder for the inevitable attacks. 

The attacks didn't come with everyone content to ride on Duggan's wheel. With no other choice Duggan clicked into 53-12 and sprinted down the final straight, running out of road, passing Holder 2 m after the line. 

A great attack and ride from Holder. Well deserved win. Chapeu! 

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