National Capital Tour Canberra 2013
Craig Cooke Race Report
A modified 2nd stage from the original due to a rock fall presented a challenging 120km stage. Many climbs throughout with a variety of gradients, strong winds and a challenging 6km final climb was as brutal as anything on the NRS calender so far this year. Our team had a little bit of help prior to the stage from our stand in team convoy drivers Nathan and Paul who provided fantastic support and local knowledge. As we made our start from the Museum we were straight into the surreal ‘neutral’ phase of the race! Aside from limiting the progress of the front of the field the usual jostle for positions, kamikaze over taking manoeuvres combined with a brief encounter for a few on the wrong side of the road into on coming traffic raised the concentration levels immediately.
Events didn’t calm down as the first sprint points were up for grabs after 4km and then KOM after 8km. Straight away it was pretty clear climbing legs were the order of the day. Our team witnessed no shortage of drama with a spectacular crash at the 50km mark as a rider somersaulted into the bush which left many the wrong side of a split and a very tough day at the office to try and get back to the main group.
Personally, I felt good throughout the stage, being able to move up onthe climbs and hold my position in the top 20-30 places of the bunch throughout the race. For the remaining 70km, as we were on the approach to the final climb, the orange work-a-holics from Genesys seemed to be setting an ever increasing frantic pace for the inevitable Nathan Earle show on the final 6km.
Our team started the final climb with four riders, Jonno Bolton, Matt Marshall, Mitch Cooper and myself. I engaged my usual level of pain for the finale giving everything on the varying gradients to finish 14th on the stage. Thankfully Team Manager Brendon was able to catch me 5m after the line as I was started to lose basic co-ordination of standing as I slumped over the bike and then onto the grass in a heap, much to pleasure of nearby photographers. Jonno performed well despite cramp to move up many places in the overall classification. Matt had the misfortune of a puncture early in the climb and worked hard with Mitch for the remainder to achieve solid finishes for an improvement in our overall team position. Two more stages to go
on the final day including a picturesque criterium on a circuit in front of Parliament. More chewing on the handle bars and attentive riding is in store with stages better suited to breakaways and sprinters.
For the statistic lovers:
Average Power: 270W
Nomalised Power: 304W
Max Power: 1067
Average Heart Rate: 152
Max Heart Rate (a new recent record for me!): 192
Total Work Done: 3059kJ
Elevation Gain: 1714m
Day 3 consisted of a double stage with a 20km kermesse circuit to be tackled 4 times followed by a mid afternoon criterium
After a brief roll out from the accommodation to loosen up the legs after yesterday’s efforts, we were straight into another round of 100% focus for the stage. The first few km’s took us through the main university in Canberra which created quite a hazardous series of left and right turns as well as speed bumps and central reservations.
Jonathan Bolton was straight into the action firing the first attack of the day. Jackson and Alex were both in the next counter that had good potential to stick. Sadly, the next key move disappeared with 4 strong riders as the we sat conserving energy behind the Genesis lead train once more. They were once again doing a fine job of setting tempo.
Alex was using his vast experience guiding me up the field throughout the race as we tried to avoid various hazards as we raced around Lake Burley Griffen. Jonno and Matt managed to escape in a move in an attempt to bridge to the leaders approx. halfway through the stage. Shortly, afterwards, Jonno instigated another move, Jonno’s super aggressive riding may or may not be attributed to last night’s impressive Satay dish. On the last lap, another crash brought down two riders and looked quite painful as we avoided it at over 45kmph. Shortly after this point, Matt Marshall punctured (two in two days) and then after getting a spare
from Brendon in the convoy had further miss fortune. Whilst Matt attempted to get a draft behind the car, a breakdown in co-ordination/communication, ended up with him slamming straight into the rear of the (hire) car. Two dents on the body work from the handlebars, a rather large face smear on the rear windscreen and a very shaken up Matt resulted. Matt, finished the stage and, like a trooper, was ready to ‘get back on the horse’ for the crit later in the day.
Jonno’s valiant efforts were finally brought back to the main field with only 500m to go as the bunch then swarmed past to finish approx. 30seconds behind the leading four riders. Unbeknown to the rest of the team, Mitch suffered a nose bleed from the start of the stage and was quite a sight covered in blood by the end, another brave ride to finish with the main group.
Stage 3 data:
Average Power: 255W
Nomalised Power: 268W
Max Power: 1092W
Average Heart Rate: 134
Max Heart Rate: 175
Total Work Done: 1688kJ
We had approx. 2.5 hours before the start of Stage 4, a cirt on a square 1km circuit between the old and new parliament buildings. A gradual 400m rise of approx. 4% up to the finish straight was going to become leg sapping as we tackled 50 laps. The race organisers did a fantastic job of providing this rare opportunity to race in front of such an iconic backdrop. The weather was improving as we prepared ourselves with Brendon’s fine sandwiches for the one hour onslaught to come.
As much as I sit down to write this race report I really can’t do justice to what actually happened. It was painful. About 50 maximum effort sprints over the course of the hour with the skill elements of moving up cleverly, taking 90° corners at near 60kmph and avoiding the odd stray traffic cone that managed to find it’s way into the middle of the finishing straight inside the last 10 laps. I was mentally prepared for the first 20mins being the hardest and then a case of hanging onto a good position and moving past riders that were blowing up and letting the gaps open.
Once we started, I didn’t think I was going to last 5 laps. I think there were very few times that the group was not one big long line. Sadly for our team, as legs became tired and gaps started to appear, by the half way point I was the lone representative battling endlessly to hold position. I was like a fish out of water with my mouth wide open telling myself to keep going. I managed to finish 22nd on the stage, in the main group behind a breakaway pair that held onto a 5 second lead by the finish line.
Thanks to the fantastic support from our sponsors for giving us the opportunity to participate in a remarkably spectacular tour in the heart of Canberra. Thanks to Brendon for stepping up to be our manager and Dorte for handling the logistics, in particular ‘doing our shopping’ online and having it delivered to the accommodation for us. As I fly back to Perth with sore legs, back, throat and generally exhausted, four of our team continue onto Tasmania (Mitch, Matt, Jonno and Jackson) with Alex and Peter putting the final touches to their preparation for the arduous Melbourne to Warrnambool in a few weeks’ time.
Stage 4 data:
Average Power: 311W
Nomalised Power: 317W
Max Power: 1114 W
Average Heart Rate: 166
Max Heart Rate: 187
Total Work Done: 1271kj
Pinjarra Classic 2013
Henry Morley Race Report
With rain and wind forecast for the morning it was nice to be only greeted by the latter for the start of the 2013 Pinjarra Classic. 138km over a 2 lap course through rolling terrain lay in front of the 30+ starters in the Elite Men’s event. With the wind ripping through the parcours it was set to be a tough day out. The Satalyst-Giant Racing Team had a strong contingent of 8 riders in the field, each capable of winning the race & wanted to take advantage of this and their superior numbers.
Forgetting the fact there was along way to go in the race, attacks went from the gun & before the first major climb had been reached a solid break formed containing 4 SGR riders (Pete Hatton, Jono Bolton, Michael Fitzgerald & Henry Morley), Wade Longworth (Arbitrage), Ryan Willmott (KD cycles) & Matty Upton (Dome Coffees). Pete Hatton set a frantic pace up the first climb not only dispatching Matty Upton & Ryan Willmott, but also further establishing the breaks advantage. From there it was a Team Time Trial with Wade sitting on the back of the Satalyst locomotive.
Back in the bunch the rest of the SGR gang were being very proactive in not letting anyone else slip up the road without being represented. Jackson Mawby & Aaron Slavik along with Luke Pledeger (Bianchi-Lotto-Arbitrage) & Jon Gregg (Brooks) made a gallant effort to get across to the days major move to further bolster our numbers up front but were bought back into the fray after being out there for over 20 kilometres.
The break upfront continued to build on what would be an unassailable lead. Halfway through the 2nd and last lap the SGR riders at the head of the race set about getting rid of Wade Longworth, which proved to be a tough task. The young man showed great resolve and strength in dealing with the initial attacks before Bolton, Morley & Fitzgerald forged clear never looking back to make it a Satalyst 1,2,3! Pete Hatton worked with Longworth to the finish and outkicked him for 4th. The depleted peleton was lead in by our own young gun & recently crowned world champion on the track, Sam Welsford, after a superb lead out from Aaron, Jackson, & Theo Yates.
Fantastic teamwork was the key to the days successes and this all bodes well for the teams upcoming challenges in the National Road Series, with The Capital Tour (Canberra) & The Tour of Tasmania just around the corner. We look forward to these events & bringing news of further accomplishment.
Thanks to our sponsors and supporters as well as the race organisers, volunteers and other riders.
Sam Welsford Worlds journey…
My Worlds journey…
In February, I was fortunate to be selected to represent Australia at the 2013 Junior World Track Championships following some good results at nationals. Over the following months in the lead up to the competition, we had two training camps in Tasmania and South Australia. After an intense 3 week camp in Adelaide, we headed to Scotland. The day we arrived, we got to check out the new Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow, where it all began to sink in as to what we were here to do. After recovering from Jet lag, we hit the track for some final hit outs, which also gave us a glimpse of some of the other 32 rival countries.
Day one of competition kicked off with the Mens Team Pursuit Quals. We were last off so we knew what we had to beat. We went out there and rode a comfortable 4:09 which was 3 seconds faster than New Zealand who qualified second.
As we lined up for the start of our final, the nerves started to kick in, but we all knew what we had to do. Gene Bates our coach guided us on to ride a 4:06 and to the realization that we had achieved the gold medal. It was a once in a life time feeling being on the podium looking towards your home flag.
I was fortunate to get starts in the Scratch race and Kilo TT were I learnt so much. My last race was the Maddison which was held on the last day and I was paired up with South Australian Josh Harrison. As we lined up on each side of the track we realized that with 30 other riders out there, this was going to be one hectic race. We showed our colours early by leading the first half of the 120 lap race but we missed a change and I got caught up the back of a French Rider and hit the deck leaving Josh to take up the slack. It took a couple of laps but after persuading the medical team I was ok to race, we got straight back in the mix but unfortunately while I was down, the eventual gold and silver teams took a lap on the field. Josh and I attacked hard and aggressively to try to get a lap but to no avail. After a lot of carnage out on the track we were ecstatic with our bronze medal.
This was a incredible first time experience and to be a part of an Aussie team where every rider got medals was even better. We had a great team of coaches and mechanics plus lots of Aussies and flags in the crowd to cheer us on.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me! Cheers Sam Welsford
Collie-Donnybrook Handicap 2013
Collie to Donnybrook 2013
- Henry Morley
- Johnothan Bolton
- Michael Fitzgerald
- Jackson Mawby
104km’s of swap-off pain is what lay in store for myself, Henry, Johno and Fitzy at the start of the day. I managed to get up for second fastest by days end, only 25 seconds off the all time course record. But the day was not without incident.
First order of business was checking out the handicaps. All but myself were off scratch, me being off block, 3 minutes in front of scratch. Consultation with the rest of the team led me to the decision to roll through with block. I was feeling strong at the start of the day and felt I would be capable of swapping off with scratch despite rolling through with block.
Race underway, and straight into a set of challenging, rolling hills. With the front bunch more than 30 minutes in front scratch, we had it all to do.
20km’s in and block group had caught the group in front. A super-group was formed, and with 15-20 blokes swapping of nicely, we were on the charge!
At the turnaround point in Donnybrook, the super-group smashed it out of town, re-energised with a delightful tailwind. We were also able to guage how far scratch was behind us. I gestimated they had made up 1 minute on super-group. With a forceful tailwind, and almost triple the riders of scratch, it would be touch-and-go whether scratch could make up the remaining 3 minutes.
25km to go and the hills once again came into play. We received a time check at the beginning of the climb, indicating there was still 9 minutes between us and the front bunch. It seemed it was not going to be our day for overall race contention, but fastest time was all to play for. Scratch fought long and hard to make up ground, but it wasn’t to be. The strong tailwind played in favour of the super-group and we had put several minutes into scratch in the first half of the return journey.
A fierce pace was set up the first set of hills. The super-group was beginning to split. I sat towards the front of the bunch, and followed any attacks that soon came. A big attack up the most challenging climb further split the field. I was feeling comfortable up the climb, but with several strong riders from different teams still holding on, it seemed a break away was not going stick. I continued to swap off and force the pace on the front of the remaining riders, attempting to confirm fastest time of the day.
1km out from Collie, and the lead out trains were in full swing. After a heads up from a hard riding Reece Tucknott, I jumped on the back of the Bianchi Lotto/Arbitrage lead train for Luke Pledger, with Eddy Hollands’ Andrew Williams sitting on my wheel.
Final corner, 300m out from the line, and myself, Pledger and Williams all kicked together. Williams was the strongest of us, putting a bike length or two in front of myself. I was strong enough to kick round Pledger but not able to reel in the flying Andrew Williams. Fastest time went to Williams, myself second and Pledger 3rd.
Great to see assistant manager Matt Davis and Tifosi member Gary Boylan both achieving top 10 overall finishes. Thanks to all the sponsors and supporters.
Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland 2013
The Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland (http://nationalroadseries.subaru.com.au/events/tour-of-gippsland/) kicking off on Wednesday is an 8 stage road tour that starts on scenic Phillip Island, and includes a stage on the infamous Grand Prix circuit. The Satalyst Giant Racing Team lining up for the race is:
Paul VAN DER PLOEG
Gerry & Jenny VAN DER PLOEG- Team manager and support
Day 1 – Peter English Report
The Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland 2013, one of the most highly regarded NRS Tours with a quality field, this is a race that all of the Satalyst Giant boys are keen to make an impression on.
Day 1 saw the race start in the familiar and picturesque surrounds of Phillip Island. The team shacked up at the Kilcunda Caravan Park overnight, and shipped across to the island in the morning for the first stage in Rhyall. As a wise man once said; “I could think of worse places for a bike race.”
The Rhyall Crit, a 1.4km circuit with a water view was a great way to kick the race off. A very early flat for Jackson Mawby and another for Aaron Slavik, did not help proceedings. Jackson was pretty keen to launch himself off the front early, which was not to be on this occasion. As an Under 19 rider though, many opportunities to do so are still ahead of him.
All was well in the bunch until 4 laps to go when the hammer was dropped. The Satalyst Giant boys were riding good position in the first 30 riders when a rider came down in front of Jackson. The team unfortunately came off second best with 4 of the riders getting caught up. Peter English broke a front wheel, Aaron Slavik a rear, and Jackson Mawby a rear and a set of handle bars. Henry Morley was also caught up, which left Paul Van der Ploeg to chase with Mat Marshall. Proceedings were not helped with another pile-up on the last corner for the remaining peloton and both crashes were given bunch time. Welcome to NRS crits.
Between stages, Jackson inherited a new set of bars from Gerry Van der Ploeg’s Giant and half the team scavenged some new wheels. Peter English also enjoyed a cup of tea from the locals who were out to watch the race.
The Phillip Island Grand Prix track is certainly iconic and an amazing place to race a bike, engine or no engine. This was the scene for Stage 2. Coupled with stunning weather, this stage was a real treat!
The team went off with the objective of getting some some intermediate sprint points and to contest the stage, a plan which was easier said than done. Both intermediate sprints were hotly contested with Henry Morley instrumental in the first to try and get Paul VdP up for the spoils.
The team was well organised for the second intermediate sprint with Mat, Jackson and Peter all assembled in front of Paul. A well executed plan which didn’t take the cake with Paul coming in fourth.
The final few laps were chaotic as always. The team once again tried to get Paul up for the win. A massive pull by Aaron gave us great position going into the final kilometer. After a big effort by Mat, Peter dropped Paul off with around 300m to go, but we just didn’t have the horsepower to get him exactly where he needed to be. There will be more opportunities for us in this race.
We unfortunately lost Liam Dove after stage 2. A recurring problem with his ITB has meant the he had to make a call to pull out. In true Liam style, he has offered to stay with the team for the rest of the week to help out. What a legend.
The team then headed to the local Kilcunda pub for a dinner with the Seight Test Team and are now readying for tomorrow which will likely see the first settling of GC for this tour, with a 91km stage from Leongatha to Yinnar.
Peter has now got some hospital issue, knee length compression socks; much to the delight of Mat. Mitch is becoming acquainted with talcum powder. Liam is recovering money from the supermarket after he forgot to pick up $50 cash out. Mat is enjoying his hospital issue, knee length compression socks. Jackson is licking his wounds. Aaron is reading. Paul is missing his girlfriend. Henry is being a boss and Gerry and Jenny Van der Ploeg are sipping on gourmet, artisan tea.
All is well in the camp.
Stage 3- Leongatha to Yinnar: Jackson Mawby Report
91.6km’s of harsh, undulating Gippsland road is what lay in front of the SGR boys at the start of the day. With 1300m of climbing indicated, today was going to hurt!
Immediately the race started climbing out of Leongatha, and the race continued uphill for nearly 20kms. Aaron Slavik and Matt Marshal were keen to get in the early breakaways, and covered the moves well. Both men jumped in the most substantial morning break and swapped off hard, hoping to establish a substantial gap. Despite their efforts, many teams had missed the break and escapees were reeled in.
At the 34km mark, a 3km climb averaging 6% took its toll on the peloton, with splits forming in the 140-rider cartel. At the top of the climb, a very select group of riders had a ten second gap over a 30-man chase bunch. Matt, Mitch, Jackson, Henry, and Paul had all made the 30- man split, with Aaron chasing hard due to a crash in the bunch. With Paul in the split, Matt directed us to get on the front and start chasing- not many other sprinters had made the split and Matt recognized we had a unique opportunity to win a stage. Great initiative from the young man.
After pulling some big turns to bring back the leading riders, Mitch launched a move off the front and was joined by numerous riders form Budget Forklifts, Euride, Genesys, Search2Retain and VIS. The stage winner, Alex Edmonson, came from this group. After some hard chasing by Aaron, he rejoined the main chase bunch.
A winding and dangerous descent saw many crashes in the chasing bunch, one involving the yellow jersey, Ben Grenda. The general consensus among the peloton was to show good bunch etiquette and wait for the yellow jersey. Unfortunately this allowed some 50 chasing riders to rejoin the main peloton.
The final 10km was chaotic as always. On the final KOM, Mitch ran out of legs after pulling hard turns all day in the breakaway. The peloton and caught Mitch at the top of the final KOM, and from there it was a downhill run to the finish.
Henry cleverly came to the front of the peloton and pulled some strong turns to bring the break back. In final kilometres, Matt and Paul were well organised and made for the front of the bunch. The David and Golliath combination just ran out of road after being aggressively hooked out of position.
After swapping war stories after the race, we learned Aaron had broken his saddle during the crash and rode the last 50km on saddle sitting at 45 degrees! An outstanding effort.
Despite having a bad day on the bike, Peter English remains uplifting as always and is in good spirits. Tomorrow sees 36km criterium in the town of Sale followed by a 97km road race in the afternoon, a very testing day on the horizon.
Day 3 – Stage 4 & 5 Henry Morley race Report
What a day!
The Sale Criterium was the first course on the menu. We were greeted with rapturous applause from the local Primary School kids spurred on by the voice of WA cycling, commentator Matt Poyner. The fast flowing 1.2km circuit made for a quick and aggressive race. Enter Paul Van der Ploeg. The big brute of a man (quote from a Huon Genesys tweet) had stated his aims to attack in the morning and he spent more time of the front than he did in the pelo. Unfortunately his numerous attempts to get away were to no avail, as well as those of others. Anthony Giacoppo won the bunch sprint in convincing style. Meanwhile the rest of the team was doing their best to get safely through the race in preparation for what looked like a brutal afternoon stage on paper. A 97km journey to Licola, placed in the foothills of the Great Alpine Range.
Enter the weather. The wind picked up during the morning and the rain was also on its way. Riding in good position was crucial with the winds ripping through the peleton but with all the teams having the same aim it made for a chaotic opening to the stage. The bunch split and came back together numerous times in the cross winds before the action really began at the first KOM of the day at 68km. Paul “the brute” Vandy was on the attack again getting over the first part of the KOM with Dan Bonello before Genesys and the wind ripped the race to pieces over the exposed ridge at the top of the climb. Aaron Slavik, Mitch Cooper and Henry Morley worked hard to place Paul and Matt Marshall in the front split of around 20 riders. Mitch selflessly sacrificed his own chances in getting the boys in a position to contest the stage victory.
There is nothing you really need to know about the last 25 kilometres other than it was comparative to sitting on your exercise bike, under a cold shower, in front of an industrial fan. However the pace up the final climb was ridiculous in Matt Marshall’s words and the boys were gapped near the top and along with others, which meant they were unable to contest stage honours. The rest of the lads rolled in safely albeit a tad cold.
We headed back to the riverside ranch in Stratford for hot showers followed by a superb spread put on by the Seight Test Team. We look forward to attacking the racing again tomorrow in search of a good result.
Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland – Day 5: Peter English Report
The end of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland came on Sunday afternoon after a brutal criterium in Traralgon. The ‘hotdog’ circuit had a considerable hill injected into it, coupled with a roaring headwind up the home straight and the said hill.
The morning began with most riders from Satalyst Giant and the Seight Test Team running around trying to locate their sprawled goods of the last four days. Paul VdP decided to have a nap in the back of the Subaru whilst this was going on, feeling the effects of a few very hard days racing, and a crash two days prior.
The team arrived in Traralgon and promptly escaped the imminent foreclosing weather at Three Little Birds, a local brewhouse around the corner from the track. The team enjoyed a last debrief before the 8th and last stage of the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland.
After getting organised and completing the routine warmup, the crit was on and the pace was reasonably absurd. The trick was though, that given the surging nature of this course it was actually easiest on the front, or on the back; not in the middle. Around half way through the race, most of the Satalyst Giant team had received the mid-peleton memo from Paul VdP that the back was the place to be and that is where the majority rode the rest of the race. Paul eventually stopped foxing and came in for a strong 6th place on what was a difficult day at the end of a difficult tour. Five of the seven Satalyst Giant riders finished the last stage in a hugely depleted field. Incredibly, the yellow jersey stayed on the shoulders of Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) by the slimmest margin possible; 1-second!
It can be said that the team was somewhat unlucky to not come away with more from this tour. Every effort was made by all members of the team, both on and off the road, to net a result. In some instances, we didn’t have the legs. In others, we didn’t have the luck. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
A huge thanks to Gerry and Jenny Van der Ploeg for selflessly investing their time in the team in their support role during the tour. A job which doesn’t carry much glory, but one which is hugely necessary in enabling us to race our bikes. Thanks again from all of the team, much appreciated.
To the Seight Test Team, a seamless display of logistical prowess. Thanks for having us on board.
Finally, thanks again to our sponsors; Satalyst, Giant Bicycles, McDonald’s, Bont Cycling Shoes, Seight Custom Clothing, Kask Helmets, and to all of our supporters and other sponsors.
Jackson Mawby – U19 Nationals Report
Beautiful Noosa was the setting for the u19 Nationals 2013. Postcard views, moonlight swims and drop-dead gorgeous beaches (and women) made this trip feel like a big group holiday, for the first few days at least. Having not elected to ride the time trial, I had several days to relax, enjoy myself and enjoy the finer things Noosa had to offer. The heated pool and spa of our picturous apartment was a personal highlight.
Come the day of the time-trial, I tried to make myself useful to all the other guys and gals riding the time-trial. The hour before the start of a time-trial is always very nervous for the riders, so it mainly consisted of me handing people food and drink, swapping aluminium wheels for discs and being told to go away. I had the privilege of following teammate Sam Welsford in the team van. Sam blitzed the first half of the course, sitting on excess of 60km/h on the flatter sections of the course. Sam was also fortunate enough to have a radio in his back pocket, allowing Darryl Benson to give sound advice and relentless encouragement throughout the tt, guiding Sam to a solid 21st position, covering the 19.1km course in 25:33, a more than respectful time on a challenging, undulating course.
That afternoon, Andrew Jackson and myself set out on a motor pace to reco the road racecourse. 100km later, at a fine brew shop, we concluded the major features of the 20km course included:
- 1, 2km berg, hitting 15% in places.
- 3 smaller climbs, still capable of splitting the pelo.
- Fast descents.
- Narrow roads, lined with potholes.
- An uphill run to the finish line.
The course was certainly a challenging one, offering numerous opportunities for dreams to be lived or hearts to be broken. For the men, it was to be raced 6 times. For the women, 4 times.
The following day was a rest day, allowing for the rest of the crew to reco the road racecourse. We tapped out the first 40kms before opening up the taps for a little leg sharpening effort, then jumping in the vans and driving back to paradise to rest for the road race the following day.
Saturday. Race Day. Time to switch on and sharpen up. First though, getting through the 5:45am wake up. Once that was over, it was all focus.
The first challenge, positioning on the start line. Often one of the most challenging aspects of a race was fighting for a good position on the start line. Being a national title, bodies were nervous and tension was high. Even though I arrived on the start line 15 minutes prior to race start, I only managed to secure a spot in the 3rd line of riders. No matter, once the race was underway, and into the neutral section, I was able to duck down the inside and place myself directly behind the lead car, an ideal position to be in before official race start.
Once the neutral flag was dropped, it was WA rider Tim Sellar attacking straight away, quickly developing a 30 second advantage on the main peloton. The peloton cruised to the first climb of the day, where attacks began in earnest. Sellar was soon swallowed up by the main field, which was reduced by 30 riders, that is, until, the chief commissaries halted the race because of too many riders crossing the double white lines. Sarcastic comments arose from the peloton as we received a lecture on how to distinguish our left from our right. The race was restarted 5 minutes later, allowing the dropped riders to rejoin the main peloton.
Lap 2 was undoubtedly the quickest toughest lap up the main climb, with constant attacks and the New Zealanders determined to split up the main field. However, at the end of the second lap, some 50 riders still remained in the main peloton.
Each time up the main climb, the main peloton was reduced by a handful of riders. At the bottom of each climb, Sam Welsford would ride to the front of the peloton with myself on his wheel and drop me off at the front of the group, putting myself in an ideal position to cover any dangerous moves each time up the climb. Sam would then drift back through the peloton, and hold on for dear life. Sam was an irreplaceable asset throughout the race, major props to him for all his hard work and determination.
On lap 3/6, WA rider Reece Tucknott attacked with fellow WA rider Lawson Mills, quickly establishing a 1:05 advantage over the main peloton. Reece proved a little to strong for Lawson over the climb, unhitching him from his wheel, before dropping back to the main peloton. Reece continued to power on, staying ahead solo for more than one lap of the course, before deciding his breakaway was not going to stick, sitting up, taking on some food and water and waiting for the main peloton.
Meanwhile, I conserved energy, covered dangerous moves and remained safe at the front of the main peloton, thanks to the efforts of Sam Welsford and Luke Sleegers.
On the final lap of the course, all hell was released, with the specialized climbers unleashing everything they had on the peloton in order to establish a break. A two man break was established on the remaining peloton, but gained no more than 15 seconds, and was quickly reeled in on the descent. With 5km to go, only 23 riders remained in the peloton, Reece and myself the only WA riders surviving the onslaught. The attacks were still coming thick and fast. Between us, Reece and I were able to be amongst all of them, either covering dangerous moves or initiating breakaways ourselves. With 1.5km to go a dangerous move consisting of Tom Kaesler (SASI), Ryan Cavanagh (QAS) and Ayden Toovey (NSW) had slipped away with a 7 second advantage over the main field. Reece selflessly rode the front of the peloton with myself on his wheel to reel in the breakaway. With 600m to go, it was all back together again, with a sprint finish imminent.
At 300m to go, a short steep hill provided a launch pad for several riders starting there sprint for the line, however they were swallowed up by the leading riders. I was boxed in at 300m to go and had to fight my way out to start my sprint at 150m to go. I was passing riders and lunged to claim 5th on the line. Prevailing was ACT rider Michael Rice, Daniel Fitter 2nd (QAS), Ben Carman (QLD) 3rd, Alistair Donohoe (VIC) 4th and yours truly 5th.
It was a brutal race in very humid conditions. Without the support of fellow WA teammates Reece Tucknott, Sam Weslford and Luke Sleegers, a top 10 finish would not have been possible. A big thank-you for all their efforts during the race. I am very happy with this result, and look forward to a rest week before beginning my prep for the back half of the year. Too many people to thank for too many things but just quickly, huge thank-you’s to the team sponsors Satalyst Giant, Andrew Jackson, Matt Burton, Chris Howard and my parents for all they have contributed to my cycling endeavours. Thanks also to Paul McRedmond for the photo
Goldfields Cyclassic 2013
Goldfields Cyclassic 2013 Report – courtesy Peter English
Click on images to enlarge…
The Satalyst Giant racing team has just completed an amazing weekend of racing in central WA, with the Goldfields Cyclassic. This event, run between Kalgoorlie and Leonora each year, is certainly unique; both in its setting and in its nostalgia.
With $50,000 of prize money up for grabs over two days of handicap racing, this event attracted a standard which varied greatly, with many out to try their luck against the time of the scratch bunch. After all, this is what handicap racing is all about; it’s a bit of a gamble. Alex Malone, Alex Smyth and Peter English flew across from the Eastern States on Friday night and were suitably accommodated in Perth before a 5.30am rendezvous with the rest of the team at Perth Airport on Saturday morning. Our flight, run by Alliance Airlines and chartered by the event organisers, was a short 45 minute voyage from Perth to Kalgoorlie. We were met in Kalgoorlie by cold a wet conditions, and a prevailing tailwind.
The team assembled for the race briefing from Robert Northcoat, the Race Director, where we were warned of the traffic conditions and informed of our imminent starting times. The 85th Anniversary of the Kalgoorlie-Menzies Classic began at 10.10am for the limit group and 11.00am for scratch. With almost an hour between the front and the back of the race, the scratch group had challenge on its hands to come out in front.
The scratch group worked reasonably well for the first half of the 132km race and thanks to the Chief Negotiator, Henry Morley, this continued through to around the 100km. Henry was also particularly vocal whilst expressing his joy for the speed at which we were travelling; most of the race was ridden between 50km/h and 55km/h. We unfortunately lost the young buck, Theo Yates, after he was buffeted off his bike after a large road train past the peloton around the 80km mark. He has been making plastic cup pyramids in the Kalgoorlie hospital for the last few days. His absence was certainly felt amongst the team for the rest of the weekend, both on and off the bike. We wish him well in a speedy recovery from his high speed crash.
The final selection in the limit group was made with around 25km to go, but it was not enough, with the stage win going to limit rider Daniel Burke from Warrnambool in Victoria – this was disappointing for the scratch group, but great to see some of the other grades share in the spoils. Big pulls from Peter Hatton, Sam Welsford, Jackson Mawby, Henry Morley and Alex Malone meant that many in the team were spent by the time the finish line came. However, the team’s effort meant Alex Smyth was fresher than some, and he won the scratch sprint for grade honours. Little did we know at the time, but this was a course record time of 2h32m05s with an average speed for the 132km course of 51.3km/h.
The hospitality at Menzies was of quality beyond its size. We spent the rest of the day enjoying some stories and a beer with some locals at the bar, some coffees on the other side of the street and then a dinner at the Menzies Shire town hall. Saturday night’s accommodation was at Marapoi Station (www.marapoi.com.au), about 50km outside of Menzies. This place, with its shipping container quarters and desolate surrounds was certainly an experience. A rarity for most, this place was another world to the big city. The team enjoyed the simplicity of staying in such incredibly unique surrounds, which can only come from competing in this great cycling race.
Stage 2, the Leonora Golden Wheels (Menzies to Leonora) saw a change in wind, to cross-tail. Coupled with tightened handicap splits, this was a day for the scratch group to get up and fight for stage honours. The scratch group worked particularly well for most of the stage and the catch was made at around the 80km mark of the 103km stage. The pace was high, and there is no hiding in handicap racing so it was the strongest riders left at the end. With around 13km to go, the attacks started in earnest and the final split comprised Peter Hatton, Alex Smyth, Alex Malone and Henry Morley. Peter English was caught in “no-man’s-land” between the two groups and it was only after Jackson Mawby and Sam Davis (Huon Salmon – Genesys Pro Cycling) came across that they were all able to close the 300m gap to the front group (harder than it sounds!!). The catch was made with around 1500m to go and the final sprint was on. Sam Davis had a crack off the front and looked strong, but the attentive Peter Hatton was driving. With 600m to go Jackson Mawby went and was quickly chased by the equally attentive Doug Rephacholi and Andy Williams. This left Alex Smyth with some pretty fresh legs coming into the finish with Henry Morley at his side. Alex got the win, with Henry Morley coming in 4th, Peter English 6th, Jackson Mawby 7th, Peter Hatton 8th, Sam Welsford 10th and Alex Malone 11th. This too was a course record of 2hr15m57s with an average speed over the 103km course of 45.8km/h.
The efforts of the Satalyst Giant racing team, and the achievements of Alex Smyth, netted the overall victory for the Goldfields Cyclassic across the two days. Alex Smyth did pretty well during the presentations after collecting both course records, the overall win and a stage win. The standout was a framed and signed poem for the winner of the race written by local Bush Poet, Vic Dale, and a gold nugget! The team toasted over a bottle of wine on Sunday afternoon, with some happy campers amongst the ranks, replacing the mixed feelings from the first day.
There is so much to explain about this race that it is almost beyond words. Leonora, a quintessential Australian gold mining town, was a suitable place for us to say goodbye to a weekend which felt like it was much longer than a couple of days. With a volunteer and organising committee that were so happy to make this race happen, the feelgood factor associated with this event is like nothing else. This is the biggest thing that happens in these towns each year; it was both humbling and rewarding to be involved in our capacity.
Special thanks from the team; Dorte Neilson (thank you for helping make it all happen), Noelene Welsford, Alliance Airlines, Allied Pickfords, Robert Northcoat, Eastern Goldfields Cycle Club, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Menzies Shire Council, Shire of Leonora, the volunteer and management committee of the race, and all of the other event sponsors. We also acknowledge the traditional owners of the land between Kalgoorlie and Leonora.
Until next year! SGR.
Adelaide Tour 24 – 26 May 2013
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Team Manager: Matt Davis
- Alex Smyth
- Paul Van Der Ploeg
- Sam Welsford
- Henry Morley
- Theo Yates
- Mitch Cooper
- Peter Smith
- Alex Malone
————The boys at the start of Stage 1 TTT ————
———Stage 1 TTT Report by Alex Smyth—————
Stage 1 of the Tour of Adelaide was a 20.9 km Teams Time Trial which proved to be super tough course even though the majority was down hill. The Satalyst Giant Racing team was second cab off the rank and was able to catch the team in front just 15km into the race. The team posted a strong time of 25′ 9″ with all 8 riders finishing over the line together.
Happy with the time we had posted, all we could do was wait for the other teams to roll in, and sure enough one after the other rolled in and the Satalyst Giant team held on to the fastest time. Although this was not to last as the Adelaide based team U-Ride took the lead proving that local knowledge played a big part on the twisty decent sections on the course. With only two teams left to cross the finish line the boys were holding a strong second place time, but were beaten off the podium by a super fast time posted by Budget Forklifts. It came right down to the wire between Genesys team and our boys but unfortunately we missed out on the podium by a slim 9 seconds.
After a really hard day the team was really pleased with how we raced as a team with everybody working well as a unit. We are really looking forward to again stepping up and challenging not only on stage wins but also in the teams classification.
The forecast for tomorrow is another fairly nice day and a lot of short steep climbs with dirt sections!
———Stage 2 Report by Peter Smith—————
The parcours for today’s’ second stage of the inaugural NRS Jarvis Adelaide Tour was always imposing on paper, and it certainly lived up to its billing. 3 laps, 160km, steep climbs, and a good dose of dirt road was how the menu read. And once the dust settled, the Satalyst-Giant could be very proud of their showing.
It was clear from the outset, just a handful of kilometres into the first circuit, that the Euride Racing Team were out to defend their yellow jersey with an iron fist. This forced us to change our strategy slightly, and we decided not to spend valuable energy in breakaways that were not being given any substantial leash. This meant our eggs were in one basket, and that was to come out of the final string of climbs with the most numbers possible, then set up Alex Smyth for the dash to line.
Largely, our plan unfolded well. Save for a puncture for Sam, and a crash for Pete, we’d have had our full contingent present in the final selection of around 35. Then it was merely the final pieces of the puzzle that just got slightly jumbled, as so often is the case. Once through the hardest section of the circuit on the final lap, a small attack of 3 riders had a slender advantage on a charging, albeit depleted, peloton. Alas the time came to form the lead-out train, and build it up to full steam in the hope the break-away would be swallowed up in the process. But another brutal crash with 2.0km left to race threw a massive spanner in the works and allowed the escapees just enough slack to fight out the victory between them. Out of the carnage behind, just 5 seconds in arrears, Alex still managed to open up the taps and sprint to a 6th place result for the stage, with Theo close behind in 9th. The others nestled in the group and awarded the same time.
Results of the SGR team as follows:
6th: A. Smyth +5s
9th: T. Yates +5s
26th: A. Malone +5s
29th: P. Van Der Ploeg +5s
32nd: H. Morley +5s
36th: M. Cooper +5s
52nd: P. Smith +5s
98th: S. Welsford +40:00
And with the GC remaining largely status-quo, the boys occupy 14th-20th overall, at 50s from the leader.
———Stage 3 Report by Henry Morley—————
Stage 3 of the Tour saw the peleton tackle a 3.7km kermesse circuit on the outskirts of the City of Adelaide. Due to the number of corners and roundabouts to negotiate and the fast pace of the course it was more a kin to a criterium in nature. It was on from the get go with several attempts by riders trying to break the stranglehold Team Euride had on the race. Our very own Paul Van Der Ploeg had several digs in the opening hour before suffering yet another puncture. Despite a quick change with Pete Smith giving up his front wheel and his own race, Paul was unable to rejoin the peleton due to the hot pace being set upfront. The local lads from Team Euride were doing a stellar job controlling the front of the race and along with a little bit of help from the SASI Cycling Squad, no breakaway attempts were given any amount of room ensuing the race would be decided by a bunch gallop. The team did its best in the hectic high speed finale to place Theo Yates and Alex Smyth in good position to unleash their fury in the final kick for the line. Theo was right up there again but had to settle for another 4th place with Alex in 9th. We were all disappointed not to have nabbed a podium spot on the final day, none more so than Theo and Alex who were oh so close.
Despite the teams disappointment at not being able to land a podium spot over the 3 day race there were a lot of positives. Finishing 4th in the Teams TT with only 9 seconds to Genesis in 3rd on the opening day with all 8 riders together not only shows the strength the team has but great depth as well. This was displayed again on the tough second stage with 6 of our riders in the final selection of 35. An honourable mention has to go to team young gun 17 year old Sam Welsford who in his first NRS tour road an outstanding race in supporting the teams goals. We are lucky to have such a great talent in our ranks. The whole can take a lot from the 3 days here in Adelaide and from what we have achieved so far this season. We can move forward with confidence, knowing we have the ability to mix it up at the pointy end of the National Road Series. As the belief in the squad builds the results will come and we look forward to the challenges that lay ahead for the rest of the year. Bring it on!!!
Tour of Toowoomba 2013
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The Satalyst Giant Racing Team is already on the Gold Coast and looking forward to the challenge:
• Peter Hatton
• Peter English
• Adam Semple
• Theo Yates
• Alex Malone
• Mat Marshall
• Brendon Morrison (Tour manager)
———-Theo Yates Stage 1 Report—————
Today was the first stage of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba. Mathew Marshall has claimed that he didn’t even touch the pedals today, but others would beg to differ. The stage consisted of a 113km stage from Oakey to Highfields, across across the open plains above Toowoomba. The “thick” wind certainly played a role in todays stage, and most riders were ready for the finish line when it came.
Early on, the open nature of the terrain meant the wind pushed riders into the gutter. There was a five-rider break which was reeled in before the first sprint. Some sections hit almost 70km/h when the tail wind prevailed. Peter Hatton found himself in a break for around 15km through the 40km mark whilst Theo Yates and Mathew Marshall remained vigilant and attentive at the front of the bunch at this point. Peter English tried with a couple of moves but the main break of the day went shortly after the 60km mark. The Satalyst Giant Racing Team did not feature in the break, but were vigilant in making sure this not affect the result at the end of the day. With Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers also not represented in the break, Peter English and Alex Malone helped Genesys reel it back in. The final catch was made around 100km, with two KOM opportunities left, the run into the finish was then upon the 60-strong peloton.
Adam Semple managed to launch a few attacks with Jack Haig and Rhys Gillett on the final KOM of the day, but given the strength of the remaining peloton, those attacks failed to bear fruit. The final right hand corner was technical and Brody Talbot (Racing Kangaroos) launched 800m before the line with a couple of others, and captured the element of surprise. The only person to get the better of Brody was William Walker (Drapac Professional Cycling) who took out the stage honours. The Satalyst Giant Racing team had 5 of its 6 riders in the front group, with Adam Semple and Peter Hatton both in 9th position overall. We have two hard days of racing coming up which will be decisive for the tour.
Our Team Manager, Brendon Morrison had a great day with everything sorted for the team, he also kept us guessing with some new sandwich varieties which was well received indeed! We also were treated to a care package from our nutrition sponsor, E3 Champion. A few bags of their “Distance Formula” were sent across from the West. This product, a protein and electrolyte blend, is what the Satalyst Giant Racing team is using in 2013. Check it out here at www.E3champion.com.au
———-Peter English Stage 2 Report—————
The second stage of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba was a 123km trip from Crows Nest to a summit finish at Bunya Mountains. The Satalyst Giant Racing team had a couple of options with regards to tactics for the day. With Drapac Professional Cycling controlling the race early on, most others had a somewhat easier ride through the first parst of the stage. Today was punctuated by a large break which went early. The team decided not to go for the break today, in light of the challenging stage finish and lead up, the idea was to let the parcour take care of the fall out, rather than force it. The stage exploded up the final climb at Bunya Mountains.
Early on, Peter English had some unfortunate luck when he snapped his rear derailleur cable at 10km into the 123km stage. This meant that he only had use of the smallest and hardest gear on his bike for the rest of the stage. He managed to stay with the main bunch for 60km until he got a front wheel puncture. This was then followed by a rear wheel puncture at which point he lost contact with the main group and rode by himself for the rest of the stage. Not sure how he actually made it up Bunya Mountains, but he made it. Peter Hatton continued his luck with punctures and managed another today!
The team decided that the 100km mark was time to start driving the pace. Alex Malone and Theo Yates started to give a hand to the guys from Drapac Professional Cycling and the pace lifted as the peloton came within sight of the climb. The break was finally reeled in past the 100km mark and the climb was on. Mathew Marshall and Adam Semple were free to fly after a stellar effort from Alex and Theo. Mat unfortunately had a rider collide with his rear derailleur half way up the climb, for which he had to stop and bend his hanger back into line. This cost him valuable seconds and he did not regain contact with the front group. He still finished an honourable 18th. Adam Semple was the last man standing from the team, and he managed another great result in 6th place.
Tomorrow the team tackles a decisive 27km TTT, followed by a 130km road race. There should be some tired boys by the end of tomorrow!
In other news. Adam Semple just got a haircut and all broken cables have now been replaced (thanks again to our friends at Bennett Page Cycles in Toowoomba).
Until tomorrow – SGR
———-Peter English Stage 3 and 4 Report—————
The third day of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba was, on paper, the most testing for the riders. With a 27km team time trial followed by a 113km road race from Greenmount to Glenvale. After yesterday’s exploits, the bite had certainly been taken out of many of the riders in the peloton.
The Satalyst Giant Racing team arrived at the TTT course in Greenmount around 8.15am and was greeted by a volunteer who pointed us in the right direction for parking and all of the local amenities. This is noteworthy as it is a small example of the attention to detail that has gone into making this tour happen, so here’s to a pat on the back for the tour organisers. The TTT is typically a testing event, and over 27km, this was to be the achilles heel of many teams. With Adam Semple in 6th on the general classification prior to the start of stage 3, there was everything to play for. The team posted a time of 37 min 04 sec which was only good enough for 10th place. This meant we slipped in GC going into the 4th stage into 15th place. Whilst the TTT was challenging, brutal, and fun all at the same time, it certainly changed the tactics for our team going into stage 4.
Ample van time between stages meant that we once again had the opportunity to shoot the breeze. What ensued was another appearance from Adam Semple’s vintage copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Semple spent an hour or so sitting on a camping chair reading about the adventures of his mate “Huck”, resplendent in the sunlight. Theo Yates and Peter English were delirious in the van by this point in the day. Mathew Marshall received a lesson from Peter Hatton on buying mountain bikes and Alex Malone spent the morning updating Cyclingnews.com for all of you.
Stage 4 was always going to be controlled by Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers, given their occupation of the fist four spots on the general classification. After some investigation, word on the street was that a bunch finish on the cards. After a super aggressive start, with a KOM opportunity, skinny country roads, causeways and a stage win on offer, the early break finally went. This consisted of three riders: Nathan Elliott (Target Trek), Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) and Robbie Hucker (Drapac Professional Cycling). These three boys together were certainly a dangerous proposition for the stage today and their effort to stay away for almost 100km should not go without note. Well done lads.
With a couple of other teams carrying sprinters, namely Polygon, search2retain-Health.com.au and ourselves, it was in our best interests to chase the break. Between Genesys, search2retain and ourselves, the catch was made with around 10km to go. Young Theo Yates was given the green light by the team to go for a result in the stage and Adam Semple led through the last corner of the Greenmount Criterium Curcuit to give Theo the best opportunity. Theo’s sprint was long and the finish was uphill into a headwind. Theo cam in 4th today when he was bettered by Neil Van der Ploeg (search2retain-Health.com.au) in a photo finish for 3rd place. Mal Rudolph (Drapac Professional Cycling) came in 2nd and stage honours went to Ben Grenda (Polygon). At only 18 years of age, Theo certainly was in good company. Well done Young Buck.
The FGK Tour of Toowoomba concludes tomorrow with a 50km criterium in Toowoomba.
———-Peter English Stage 5 Report—————
The FGK Tour of Toowoomba concluded on Sunday with a 50km criterium around the streets of Toowoomba. The final stage represented the culmination of a big block of racing for the Satalyst Giant Racing team, and was another test of the peloton’s resolve at the end of two challenging tours.
Prior to the start of stage 5, the team witnessed a rendition of Gangnam Style by Adam Semple. Also, there was the traditional procession for the culmination of this tour, which saw the riders and team cars do a slow lap of the course, led by a local Bagpipe band. A 1pm start then followed and the race was on.
The circuit which was to be tackled, with it’s long straights and free-flowing corners, was a difficult one to get away on. The orange Kask helmets of the Satalyst Giant Racing team were always highly visible at the front of the bunch. Will Walker (Drapac Professional Cycling) led the first attack of the day and was very active early on. Alex Malone managed to cross to a good break, but this was short-lived when the charging peloton shut the move down.
After slipping out of contention in the TTT on stage 3, Adam Semple went on a rampage to see if he could he could get himself a stage result or, at the very least, some “TV time”. His attacks late in the piece were timely and many in the peloton unable to go with him. This forced arguably the most decisive move of the day, which included Bernie Sulzberger (Drapac Professional Cycling), Joe Cooper (Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers) and Nathan Elliot (Target Trek), who made an impression by yet again getting himself in the main move of the day.
Theo Yates, after his stellar ‘almost 3rd place’ in stage 4, was our man for the bunch sprint, should it eventuate. His ability to position himself near the pointy end of the field meant that he was able conserve energy in the final stages of the race whilst moves were brought back. Will Walker (Drapac Professional Cycling) gave one last effort just before the start of the final lap which was watched carefully by the teams with sprinters. He was reeled in with around 500m to go and the remainder of the bunch went for the line. Theo entered the final corner in 6th wheel and came in 4th place for the second day in a row. At 18 years of age, watch this space. Josh Taylor (GPM-Data#3) came in third, with Ben Grenda (Polygon) coming in 2nd. Neil Van der Ploeg (search2retain-Helath.com.au) took out the stage win for what was his first NRS victory. For a man who has been knocking on the door of an NRS win for so long, he was a deserved victor. His win also secured him the Sprinters Jersey for the tour. Well done Neil and to the team.
Post stage, the Satalyst Giant Racing team took the opportunity to grab a quick photo with some McDonald’s signage from Toowoomba. The team is associated with McDonald’s in promoting helmet safety, particularly with children. This is a message that we support wherever we go.
The culmination of the FGK Tour of Toowoomba meant that it was time for the roadshow to end. Basically all of the team members were going in different directions, Mathew Marshall back to the Gold Coast, Adam Semple to Geoff Straub’s place, Peter Hatton and Brendon Morrison back to Perth, Alex Malone to Byron Bay and Peter English to Melbourne.
The Queensland tours were both very different and presented many and varied challenges. The Satalyst Giant Racing team gave everything and, for a relatively small budget team, certainly punched above its weight. Whilst results are important, the team also places great value on culture, sportsmanship and respect for teammates, competitors and officials. A team cannot reach its potential without these qualities. We fostered these qualities in Queensland and as a team; we will be stronger for doing so.
Thanks for making our racing possible to all of our supporters and management – http://www.satalystgiantracing.com.au/sponsors/
The Satalyst Giant Racing team will next compete in the Adelaide Tour (NRS) from 24-26 May, followed by the Goldfields Classic in Kalgoorlie on 1-2 June.
Battle on the Border
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The next NRS event, the five stage “Battle on the Border” kicks off tomorrow and includes two tough mountain stages. The Satalyst Giant Racing Team already on the Gold Coast and looking forward to the challenge is :
• Chris Beeck
• Peter Hatton
• Peter English
• Adam Semple
• Theo Yates
• Alex Malone
• Geoff Straub
• Mat Marshall
• Brendon Morrison (Tour manager)
————The boys at the start of Stage 1 ————
Alex Malone Stage 1 Report
The opening day of the Battle on the Border would take the 130-odd rider peloton on a 111km journey from the sunny, beachside location of Point Danger to the breathtaking heights of Mount Warning – a shield volcano that would test the resolve of any who arrived with general classification ambitions.
Satalyst-Giant was to be well represented in the second round of the Subaru National Road Series with a motivated eight-man squad led by Adam Semple – who came fresh off a fine second-place on the gruelling Kalamunda stage at the Woodside Tour de Perth.
Semple will be supported through the four-day, five-stage tour by Theo Yates, Peter English, Pete Hatton, Chris Beck, Alex Malone, Geoff Straub and Matt Marshall with any number of riders more than capable of securing their own result. For Day 1 however, the team was focussed on getting Semple and Hatton to the base of the taxing final ascent to Mount Warning.
The race kicked-off under neutral conditions for while the bunch made its way out through the busy city streets. The race was finally started after a quick pit-stop to ensure all the riders were together and the pace was immediately on.
In standard NRS fashion there would be little chance of an early break going clear. Former U23 national criterium champion Ben Grenda (Polygon) was the only one to enjoy a brief sauté off the front. His time was however, short-lived after a moto-marshall collided with the bunch. With riders crashing and other scrambling to get back in the race organisers called “neutral” once more. The kind-spirited Semple stopped to assist one rider who had been squashed under the fallen motorbike and once everyone was attended to, the race could start once again.
The up and down nature of the course made establishing a break difficult but not for lack of trying. Satalyst-Giant were active, ensuring nothing went away without representation from the Perth-based squad. The bunch was relatively intact until the second KoM that came inside the last 25km.
This was where the action occurred. Semple, Hatton and Marshall were the three Satalyst-Giant riders who went clear with the front group and that would be the winning move. Approximately 15 riders made the selection and with three in the break including a potential stage winner Semple, Hatton and Marshall were called to action to ensure the chasing peloton would not close the gap.
Hatton would be the last man standing after a stellar job along the lower slopes of the 4.5km climb. Then it was up to Semple to do his thing. Hitting the first 20 percent section it was Semple, Jack Haig, Jai Crawford (Huon Salmon-Genesys) and Eric Sheppard (search2retain-health) who were all grovelling in unison with Semple and Haig eventually getting a small gap over the chasing duo.
With less than one kilometre remaining Haig and Semple were still away but the final ramp, that included pinches nearing 25 percent proved too much and Haig pushed ahead to a well-deserved victory. Semple was close behind but a late charge from Crawford and Sheppard would end his chance for the podium – taking an impressive fourth place.
Semple will start Stage 2 in fourth overall with a 33-second deficit to Haig. The race is far from over, with tomorrow’s stage reportedly just as difficult as Stage 1.
Stage 2 Report – Peter English
Stage two – Battle on the Border, NSW.
Stage two was a rolling stage with 3 categorised climbs and many uncatagorised. Matthew Marshall claimed 3rd on the first climb of the day after managing to escape the peloton in the kilometre preceding the climb, and Adam Semple was 3rd on the third climb of the day.
After losing Peter Hattan and Chris Beeck to a puncture early on in the race, Satalyst Giant only had 6 left for the 120km remaining in the stage. Despite this the team was present at the front of the bunch for the most part of the race, unfortunately missing the main breakaway of the day which contained Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Professional Cycling) and Darcy Ellerm-Norton (Team Down Under) who managed to take both KOM sprints.
All the boys were attentive at the front throughout the stage, making sure no threats to Semple’s GC chances slipped up the road. Adam was aggressive throughout and made a hard attack on the final KOM to try and create a split, but the climb didn’t prove steep nor long enough for any real selection to be made.
The bunch finished through the high-speed flats of Murwilllumbah, weaving through vast distances of sugar cane fields. The fast finishing group actually regrouped after the KOM to form about 80 men strong, and Satalyst Giant Racing worked hard with the remaining 6 riders to set up a lead-out train for young fast-man Theo Yates. Theo wasn’t at his best after riding aggressively all day, but still managed 14th. Anthony Giacoppo capped off the day with a blistering sprint to beat his rivals by 2-3 bike lengths.
Stage 3 ITT + Stage 4 Criterium – Report by Peter English
Adam Semple after his stellar 9th place in the ITT in Stage 3 of National Road Series round Battle on the Border. A short and sharp loop around Murwillimbah saw Adam move into 3rd place on the General Classification with two stages to go.
Stage 3 of the National Road Series’ round at Battle on the Border came in the form of a sharp 9.2km individual time trial around Murwillimbah. With a double-stage day, the Satalyst-Giant Racing Team rolled out at 8am. Chris Beeck and Peter Hatton were first up, both putting in a great effort early and reported back to the rest of the team with tips on the ensuing parcour. The time trial went off without a hitch for the rest of the team. Whilst a 9.2km TT is short, it proved crucial for those with aspirations for the general classification. Adam Semple was the last Satalyst-Giant Racing Team member off the blocks and he did not disappoint. His strong 9th-place enabled him to move from 4th into 3rd in the general classification with two stages to come.
The team had another challenge for the day in the form of a criterium for Stage 4 around the streets of Murwillimbah. The course looked technical and, in parts, steep. A published start time of 3:50pm for the NRS race meant the team had a long wait in the shade of a tree on camping chairs as other grades completed their races. This setting provided Alex Malone with the perfect office to punch out the Stage 3 reports for Cyclingnews. A great way to spend the day with perfect weather and the opportunity to actually watch some bike racing for once, not to mention another appearance from Matthew Marshall’s knee length, hospital issue compression socks.
Multiple crashes in various races meant that the NRS race was delayed by around 20 minutes. The team was not deterred by this, continuing to converse about the Tales of Huckleberry Finn, ethical issues surrounding atomic weapons and we were enlightened to some of the nuances associated with native title in New Zealand thanks to Theo Yates, whilst lounging on camping chairs under the shade of a tree.
As our down time came to an end, there was a bad crash in the women’s NRS race which was to precede our own. One rider unfortunately was badly injured and significant delays associated with that crash meant that the orgnaisers were running out of time for the final race of the day.
The decision was made to cancel the race for safety reasons due to dim light in the tail-end of the day. A tough call for the organising comittee but one which we respected. We hope that the injured rider makes a speedy recovery.
Stage 4 – Report by Peter English
The National Road Series’ round Battle on the Border concluded today with a technical and hilly 4th stage which both departed and arrived at Salt Bar in Kingscliffe. The Satalyst Giant Racing Team had a big job on its hands, both defending Adam Semple’s 3rd place in the general classification, whilst also looking for opportunities to shake the hold of Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers’ on the top two podium positions.
Prior to the stage start the team rolled 20km from Tugun to Kingscliffe. En route, Theo Yates was treated to a “lead-out lesson” from Peter English which was well received by the Junior Burger. The team assembled on time in their crisp Seight Custom Clothing, ready to race.
The plan unfolded early for Peter English as he was unfortunately “doored” by the medical vehicle in the carpark on the way to start the stage. This left him with minimal use of his right leg for what was to be a pretty testing stage for most riders.
A challenging parcour laid ahead and Adam Semple, Alex Malone and Matthew Marshall were all active early. Alex and Matt managed to get themselves into a couple of early strong breaks, which enabled the rest of the team a small element of respite! The race really got difficult around 50km in.
The stage became hyper agressive past that point with all the teams wanting a slice of the pie. The last climb of the day saw many in the front group beginning to tire, but it stayed together before navigating a super technical finish into Kingscliffe where the stage honours went to Scott Law from GPM-Data#3 Racing.
Adam Semple solidified his stellar 3rd place which was in good company behind Jai Crawford in 2nd place, and the winner Jack Haig, both from Huon Salmon – Genesys Wealth Advisers. A satisfying result individually and for the Satalyst Giant Racing Team.
After presentations, the team collected their wares and headed back to the Golden Riviera Resort in Tugun.
Some of the more battered and bruised members of the team chose the van whilst others chose to ride. The order of the day was another appearance from Matthew Marshall’s knee length, hospital issue compression socks for the duration of the 20km ride. Onlookers could have been forgiven for thinking he was a triathlete.
The team now has a couple of days rest and recouperation at the Golden Riviera Resort in Tugun (speak to Geoff Straub for a great rate on your next holiday). After which, the boys then board the bus for the next National Road Series round, Tour of Toowoomba, which starts on Thursday.