Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic – 27th Oct 2012
- Alex Smythe
- Henry Morley
- Liam Dove
- Trent Morey
- Chris Beeck
- Peter Smith
- Brad Hall
FULL SBS VIDEO AIRED 4 NOV
Wayne Evans Report: The Plan B racing team had their final race of the 2012 NRS season at the Grafton to Inverell Classic.
The race is arguably the toughest one day race in Australia and has a long long list of esteemed winners.
The Plan B Racing team had the added honour of being the feature team for the SBS Cycling Central show. We had a tv crew follow us around for 3 days to get their footage that they would use for the final piece on the show. We certainly made use of this opportunity as we are seeking sponsors for next year.
We arrived on Thursday and immediately did a piece for the series at the local Grafton McDonalds, which was a lot of fun for the boys and myself.
We had a team ride on Friday to loosen the legs and then a team meeting where we discussed our teams tactics for the following days race.
Our main priority was to get one of our guys in the early move and then to have as many guys possible in contention over the top of the Gibraltor range. This climb is approximately 18km in length and reaches just over 1200m in altitude, so usually it is the defining section of the grueling 250km parcours.
Plan B had Chris Beeck and Peter Smith in the front group of about 14 riders and we were very optimistic about this staying away. Unfortunately for us Budget sent two guys up the road and everyone just looked at each other for a moment. This then forced Genesys to wait for reinforcements by which time the Budget duo had got a maximum lead of 7 minutes!
When the chase started in earnest the gap started to come down quickly, but with only Genesys wealth advisors driving it the momentum didn’t last long and the gap stabilized at about 3-4 minutes.
We were hopeful Brad Hall would be able to regain contact with the remnants of the front group and even with Henry Morley doing big turns the gap was never going to be bridged. So it was left to Chris and Peter to fly the flag for our team.
Chris Beeck looked very strong and is always a big workhorse for the team and I was confident he would have a go in the last 10km should they catch the budget duo. Two things didnt go in our favour! 1.Chris had a mechanical issue and couldn’t get a gear bigger than a 53-14 so kept loosing contact on the downhills and rapid accelerations. He kept getting back on but this was taking a lot of energy out of him and he would end up paying dearly for this. 2. The Budget duo were SUPER strong and held on to win after being away for 140km! It was a super ride by those two riders and all credit goes to them.
We ended up content with our efforts and had Peter Smith in the top 20 with a ride netting him 18th. We were so close to having another top 10 but we were still happy as we were battling away with only 6 riders after we lost a few guys to injuries and sickness.
So, we will go back next year with a strengthened team and look to get on the podium as I believe we have the riders for the job next season.
The riders will now start their break and I will get busy compiling the list of riders and looking for sponsors for 2013.
Peter Hatton wins the State XC Championships
Congrats to Plan B Racing Team member Peter Hatton on taking out the State XC Champs.
Peter Hatton Race Report:
Good weather and an awesome course that would not be out of place on the world cup circuit played host to the WA State MTB XC Championships yesterday.
The last few weeks on the bike Id been struggling to varying amounts ranging from pathetic to useless so I didn’t have much reason to be hopeful for this race either. Still, I was surprisingly feeling quite motivated and pretty psyched for the race, a good headspace to be in. No doubt the aforementioned awesome trails at the Goat Farm having something to do with it, and they didn’t disappoint, it turned out to be possibly the best course Ive ever raced on anywhere, with high speed descents, fast sweeping corners, tight technical sections, steep loose climbs, rock gardens and gnarly drop offs .
So I lined up on my Giant XTC Composite 29er, the perfect choice as always, with 5 laps ahead. From the start I went full gas to get to the first singletrack in the lead and just managed to squeeze in first place. From there on it was close to the perfect race, I had a 30second gap by the end of the first lap but stayed focused, and continued to pull away for the rest of the race to get the win by a couple of minutes. Still not an easy ride with a good dose of suffering but the good kind and I was very happy to get the win
Plan B on podium in Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – 13th Oct 2012
Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – 13th Oct 2012
- Alex Smythe
- Henry Morley
- Liam Dove
- Daniel Bonello
- Trent Morey
- Chris Beeck
- Peter Smith
- Brad Hall
Brad Hall takes podium spot after 7 hrs; Race Report:
The Warny’: probably the most iconic race of the Australian Calender year.
Today’s conditions were in keeping with the calibre of the event, head winds, showers, cool….
Preparation for this event was arduous to say the least. Last year I contested a sprint finish for 5th, coming in 3rd in the kick and 7th overall. Subsequent power analysis quantified a 30% drop in sprint power after the 7hr journey. This year my preparation included multiple 6-7hr rides with motorpacing after 5 hrs of training, a special thankyou to Nat the world’s hottest motor pacer, and 20min’s of sprint work in the final hour featuring as a regular weekly stimulus across months of training.
Going into the event we had a plan outlined for the day entire, everyone had a role with this role well served. The guys rode outstandingly. Peter and Liam were involved in the major move of the day lasting for around 130km’s. These riders were caught over the major climbs of the day at around 190km’s. From here Dan and I were eager to make the final selection over the climbs. Throughout the entire day Dan and I were well supported by Chris, Henry, James and Alex. Here the boys rode in the wind when contesting cross winds, rode us toward the front of the group when needed. Their role in keeping us preserved for the final was no easy one and one that they rode exceptionally well.
As we approached the final two riders in Drapacs Dutch rider Floris and the AIS rider Aaron Donnelly managed to ride clear: an outstanding ride by these two as Genesis and Budget chased hard with around 40 riders glued to their wheels. Dan had a go with around 4km’s remaining, to be brought back by the eager group. With the final kilometres looming the field began to push forward. The sprint for this event is a long 300m rise to the line, which equates to a longer sprint than normal, around 20-30seconds.
With the sprint looming I was intent on going early, I wanted to give it everything and not feel like I had left anything to chance. I found a run at the front line of riders and kicked hard down the left flank hitting the front with around 100m remaining and holding onto what I thought was 1st, I thought we had caught the escapees with 500m to go, I rose my hands in disbelief having ‘won’ a Warrnambool as I sunk my head into my hands only to look up and see the two escapees some distance in front of me. A pretty funny occurrence, there should be a humorous photo of me claiming outright from 3rd place somewhere.
This year my sprint fared a lot better, dropping only 5% compared to what I can put out over a 20-30second maximal effort, quality training paying off.
Today’s podium was the result of a team’s dedication and commitment to a team plan. Everything that happened out on the road today, from Pete and Liam’s initial move, to Henry, Jaimie and Chris burying themselves so that Dan, Pete and I could have a better chance at the final, to Dan attacking in the final, all of this forming part of a proactive attempt to ride the race in our own right rather than waiting for it to unfold. A pleasure to be a part of a collective effort at Australia’s premier road race. Cheers, Brad Hall
WA Elite Men’s State Team Trial 2012
WA Elite Men’s State Team Trial 2012
Team : Brad Hall, Jackson Mawby, Aaron Slavik & Theo Yates
The day looked perfect for Time Trialling, not too much wind and partly cloudy. The riders warmed up well and were prepared for the 50kms ahead of them on the back roads of Pinjarra. The start times were arranged in alphabetical order so 10.49am was our start time. The team headed off at the allotted time and looked to be getting into a rhythm after a few kms. Christine Luxford and Dorte Nielsen were the support crew following. Teams were not allowed spares, but could pick up riders if need be. After a time the team was down to 3 riders which put us in a precarious situation, one puncture away from not finishing.
At the 25kms they were a few minutes up on the other teams. Most of the work on the front being driven by team powerhouse Brad Hall. All credit to Jackson Mawby and Theo Yates who rolled through to give Brad a break, they kept on digging deep for the last 10kms.
With much encouragement from the support vehicle the Plan B team crossed the line with their team intact to take out the Gold medal ahead of Eddy Hollands Team & the combined GDT team. Credit to all riders in the team and thanks to all competitors.
LNN 30 Sept + Tour of Tasmania 2-7 Oct 2012
SCROLL DOWN FOR DAILY RESULTS AND VIDEO DIARY
Team for 2012 Tour of Tasmania and Launceston to New Norfolk
30 Sept + 2-7 Oct 2012
- Alex Smythe
- Henry Morley
- Liam Dove
- Luke Joyce
- Peter Hatton
- James Ibrahim
- Daniel Bonello
- Trent Morey
- Brad Linfield (Tour only)
Plan B welcomes Brad Linfield back into the team for the tour of Tasmania.
Brad has just returned from Europe where he was a member of the Australian U19 team that secured a silver medal with Caleb Ewen.
Team manager Wayne Evans was clearly pleased to have one of his young stars back in the team” I am excited to have Brad represent the Plan B Team for the upcoming tour of Tasmania. He will give our guys a focal point in the GC and will bring an extra element in experience for the other guys. Team DS, Matt Davis, will certainly have his work cut out to lead the young fellas in his second stint as the DS. He will be ably supported by Bob Barnes. We will look at the tactical battles being played out amongst the bigger teams in Australia and look to capitalize on the opportunities that come up”
Hello from down in the Apple Isle,
This is the first of our daily updates that will be posted daily from each of the riders, so please keep checking in.
So now that everyone is well fed, and we’ve had our team meeting to suss out the plan of attack, we’re ready to storm into tomorrow’s 206km “Launceston to New Norfolk Classic” with all cylinders firing.
The Plan B Cycling Team has brought a full squad of inform riders down to Tassie, and will be represented tomorrow by Dan Bonello, Luke Joyce, Liam Dove, Henry Morley, James Ibrahim, Trent Morey, and newcomer Peter Smith, with Brad Linfield to be subbed in on Tuesday when the Tour of Tasmania starts.
But, very unfortunately, as I write this we’ve just been informed that due to heavy overnight snowfalls and the risk of further inclement weather, the race organisation has been forced to significantly alter the route. This leaves us with only 75km of road to be raced.
Obviously this hugely alters the dynamics of the race, so I’m afraid I’ll have to cut this one short so we can rethink our strategy!!
Tour of Tasmania – Stage 1 – Mt. Wellington TTT; Henry Morley
After the inclement weather that shortened the Launceston to New Norfolk two days ago, fortunately there would be no snow at the Mt. Wellington summit.
The teams assembled out the front of Cascade Brewery at the bottom of Mt. Wellington, though there would be no beers with the daunting task of conquering the 18km climb ahead of us. We set off with our 7 starting riders for the tour with the fourth rider to cross the line counting for the teams time. There was no holding back early as we headed out on the lower slopes at a blistering pace with many of the riders struggling to settle in to a good rhythm, with our first rider falling off the back within the first 2km. James Ibrahim gave us one last turn on a flatter section at about 4km before being unhitched. We were now down to 5 riders and we had to start to control the effort to make sure we finished strongly with at least 4 riders. Luke Joyce dug deep as he was starting to fall into difficulty but unfortunately we had to push on and with 7km done we were down to Henry Morley, Dan Bonello, Brad Linfield and Trent Morey. With about 8km to go and a few steep switch backs thrown in the mix with the pace still solid I was in struggle town and had to get the boys to ease up.
I was counting down the km’s speaking to the others to let them know how I was feeling and trying to keep the legs ticking over and not looking ahead to what seemed like endless amounts of road heading skywards. With more than a few pushes from Brad and Dan and heaps of words of encouragement, we were inside the final kilometer and pushed hard to the line, crossing in a time of 52.20.
There are a lot of positives to be taken from this unique type of stage when you consider the quality of the field that has assembled here in Tasmania. With a time that landed us 13th place on the stage we will now look to be one of the most opportunistic teams on the road and really try and help Brad net a stage win. With Genesis having a lead of 1:44 on the GC there are some strong teams out there with a lot of work to do and we can really benefit from this.
Tomorrows second stage will see us cover a lumpy 122km parcours from our front door here in New Norfolk to Lake Pedder in the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness. Winds are likely to play a big factor as well as the numerous climbs. We can’t wait.
Tour of Tasmania Wrap Up
Plan B Racing Team riders are on their way home having completed the toughest tour on the NRS calendar. The team had to contend with 556 kms of racing over 9 stages, howling cross winds, freezing conditions in the Tasmanian highlands and 150 of the very best bike riders in Australia. Our riders operated well as team both on and off the bike and certainly punched above their weight in this gruelling event. Some of the highlights include Brad Linfield riding away from the lead group in a 2 man breakaway in the hilly stage 8 to West Mooreville and also working his way up the GC rankings from 56th position after the stage 1 team time trial to eventually finish 10th overall. Dan Bonello also showed he is continuing to grow in strength and confidence at this level of racing regularly getting into breaks and finishing a very creditable 22nd. James Ibrahim, Liam Dove and Henry Morley all busted their guts for the team protecting Brad and Dan as much as possible particularly in the cross winds. The low point was Trent Morey crashing in Stage 4 after riding strongly in the first 3 stages. Trent is recovering well and is hoping to be back racing for the team in a couple of weeks.
Big thanks to Bob Barnes (mechanic/assistant DS), Dorte Nielsen (logistics) and Total Travel (travel arrangements).
Cycling Central is covering the Tour of Tasmania next Sunday (14th Oct 5pm SBS one) so tune in to see the team in action on the spectacular courses through the wild Tasmanian landscape.
Tour of Murray River 2 – 9 Sept 2012
Plan B Racing Team lines up for Jayco Tour of the Murray
The Plan B Racing Team lines up for another bruising National Road Series event commencing on the 2nd Sept. During the Jayco Tour of the Murray the riders will cover 782.8kms over eight-days including 10 criterium stages and four road stages.
The riders in the team taking on this formidable challenge are:
- Bradley Hall
- Chris Beeck
- Liam Dove
- Alex Smythe
- Henry Morley
Brad Hall and Chris Beeck are riding strongly after recently returning from Belgium and Alex Smythe will be looking to mix it with the best sprinters in the country. It is also great to see both Henry Morley and Liam Dove (VIS member) back, bringing their all-round riding strengths to bolster the team. The experienced Bob Barnes will again looking after the boys on tour
We have a great history here with Michael Fitzgerald winning a stage and getting a podium placing
Brad Hall is feeling positive -
“Just finished a one hour recovery ride after 10hours of travel to arrive in Yarrawonga, northern Victoria, feeling reasonably well rested and ready for the work ahead. The boys are very optimistic about this race and are eager for more results reflective of the teams real ability after a less than ideal start to the National Road Series campaign. Tomorrow see’s the team ride out for a 2hr pre-race roll, before the first double stage day on Sunday. Very much looking forward to the racing ahead!”
This tour of Murray is to be raced with a team that has several new comers in Henry Morley and Liam Dove, alongside experienced Plan B riders Chris Beeck, Alex Smyth and Brad Hall. For this tour the teams goals are purely results based, stage results are what the team is working towards as the prospect of a general classification result requires a rider willing to continually sprint for the 100+ intermediate sprint time bonuses on offer through the race. Thus a stage result suits our riders abilities and collective strengths as opposed to the rigour required for general classification results.
From here the team will require a steep learning curve to better accentuate the individual strengths within the team: Henry, Alex and Brad having good finishing speed; with both Chris Beeck and Liam Dove proven workers.
All the riders are eager to perform here as the team has acquired new sponsors over the last months, thereby making our results reflective of their generous support. Learning to ride as a collective is where any teams strength lies, so forming a meaningful unit on the road is key in our attempts for podium stage results.
Again, Plan B Racing Team offers a fantastic opportunity for WA riders to race against Australia’s best over challenging road races and criterium’s. Baring in mind this parochial mindset we hope to prove that WA riders can, of course, challenge for national results within a quality field. Good times and hard work are inevitable here
STAGE 1 and 2; BRAD HALL REPORT
Today’s first stage was an L-shape criterium held along the Murray river. A perfect day brought 80 competitors to the start line ready to smash around the tight 1.3km course. Several breaks moved off the front, with nothing really eventuating. With the final sprint looming, we all attempted to converge so as to present either Alex or Myself for the finish, however a massive crash hampered everyone’s efforts on the second to last lap.
I managed to just get around the carnage as a good portion of the field descended into chaos. I bridged to the lead out, strongly led by Budget Forklifts, as around 15 riders formed for the final sprint. With wheels being dropped over the last kilometer, the sprint was only contested by the final 10 riders.
We managed an 8th with Alex and Henry making the first twenty, thus 3 Plan B riders in the final 20 riders. Improvement is needed here, though it was still a good start.
The road stage was raced in perfect conditions. Little wind, flat roads, made for a fast punchy race. The first move to ride clear for the day contained both Chris Beeck and Henry, which was brought back into the fold some 10km’s later. A good start for the team. Continually moves road clear, where we had to continually ensure our riders were presented.
The field was not so interested in the chase, as these moves began to ride out. This was surprising given the lack of fatigue being the first day of racing. The Plan B riders all road exceptionally well, considering our lack of riding as a single unit given the advent of new riders to this roster. Liam and Henry again made several moves up the road. Until finally Chris Beeck made the final move of the day seeing a massive 16 riders ride clear of the group.
From here we assembled ourselves for a possible sprint as Budget road the front in pursuit of the break, having their primary general classification riders missing the move. Liam found me in the final as I collected Alex. Liam rode for kilometer after kilometer in the wind to protect our small train.
As we rounded the final two corners with 2.5km’s remaining, I again found Alex and took him through the final corner with the break in sight and delivered him to around 200m’s where he finished strongly albeit for 17th spot, not worth the effort, however we must hone our ability to work as a collective in the advent of a real sprint finish.
Meanwhile up the road, Chris finished well, considering his lack of sprint to claim around 10th spot.
Interesting to watch the race deteriorate like it has through these two stages of racing. I am forecasting a race that will continue to dismantle itself across the 14stages of racing. The real positives for today’s racing were: the fact all the guys are feeling, and looking, strong, as evidenced by Chris’s solid move in the final; we have several potential finishers in Henry, Alex and Brad; new comer Liam Dove is an absolute work-horse and one of the most generous riders Ive worked with.
Good times ahead as we continue to work for stage results, preferring a stage podium to a general classification result; mainly due to the need for a general classification rider to continually sprint for bonus time in the intermediate sprints. I am confident a result will ensue and would be disappointed if this did not eventuate. Really looking forward to this racing!
STAGE 3 and 4: COURTESY HENRY MORLEY
Stage 3: Numurkah Criterium
Near perfect conditions greeted us in Numurkah for the tight 850m school circuit. Due to the nature of the course it would prove difficult to make your way to the head of the race and good positioning was key. Straight from the gun Liam Dove was on the front with Alex Smyth in tow and the pair managed to maintain good position for the majority of the criterium.
A crash about halfway through the 30 lap criterium disrupted most of the bunch with Plan B riders coming through unscathed, which is always a bonus. Towards the end of the race the Genesys Team were driving it on front the and with the bunch strung out again it was difficult to move up resulting in the Plan B riders content to all come in with the main bunch.
Genesys controlled the last few laps well to deliver former Plan B rider Anthony Giacoppo to a well deserved victory.
Stage 4: Namurkah – Nathalia 82km
An hour and a half later we were kitted up and ready for the road race, an 82 kilometere journey traversing the open fields from Numurkah to Nathalia. Attacks were going right from the start of the stage and with the goal of Plan B riders to be represented in any moves it was an active opening for all our riders. After the relentless attacks a decent break formed after about 40 km with Plan B riders Brad Hall and Alex Smyth present . This move looked like it would stick but after a 1km long section of unsealed road the sting was taken out of the break and it was gruppo compacto.
After the 3rd intermediate sprint of the day and with 13km to race 13 riders went clear with Plan B riders making their first big mistake of the tour by not being represented.
Despite the bunch failing to make a concerted effort to chase, the break never had an advantage exceeding 40 seconds. Following a crash in the main bunch with roughly 7km to go the pace picked up again with the time gap to the break continuing to fall just before the technical finale containing four corners in the last 800 metres.
Liam Dove again proved his worth for Plan B by picking up and dropping off Brad Hall near the front of the bunch leading into the sprint. At the finish the break had retained a lead of 16 seconds with the Plan B Riders finishing within the bunch although a number of small time gaps were given due to peleton being stretched out over the technical finale.
STAGE 5 REPORT
Plan B riders were keen to tackle the 155.1 km journey from Echuca to Rochester via the Camel ranges.
The race passed and finished only 1500 m from plan B rider Liam Doves grandparents house where the team were staying. All riders were keen to post a good result. Like the previous road stage attacks went from the gun and the team were keen to have a strong presence in all the dangerous moves to avoid missing the break if it managed to stick.
A number of teams were keen to keep everything together and as a result the first significant break did not get away until the first KOM which was 84 km into the stage.
Brad Hall was able to make the split and this looked like the race winning move however a number of the top contenders had missed the move which meant the race was back together 20 km later. The race was now on to get to the bottom of the KOM in good position as this was going to be a decisive point in the race. All plan B riders made the front bunch except for Liam Dove as he had been riding in the wind most of the day and bringing fresh bottles to the rest of the team. The bunch was now screaming into Rochester, Plan B riders kept together ensuring team sprinter Alex Smyth was going to be in good position coming into the sprint to the line.
Course reconnaissance the night before showed that being first into the last 2 corners was imperative if we were to have a chance against the lead out trains of the well drilled teams of Genesis and Budget. This was achieved and Henry Morley was able to single handedly take on the Budget Forklift lead out train, gapping the field by three full bike lengths. He managed to hold speed through the last corner, placing Alex in a good position to have a crack at the win. Only to be narrowly over come by two of the fastest sprinters in the National Road Series.
Anthony Giacoppo (former Plan B rider) took out the stage closely followed by Luke Davison (budget Forklifts).
A place on the podium in the hardest stage of the tour was a testament to good team work and planning from Plan B Racing team.
STAGE 6 and 7 REPORT: BRAD HALL
Very few things in life happen with linear like progression or digression. After yesterdays positive result the boys were optimistic for today’s venture as we faced the first of two criteriums in extreme winds. The first criterium was a fast flowing rectangular circuit of around 1.3km’s in length. However the massive gusts of wind blew across the bulk of the circuit creating a constant cross-wind for the riders to contend with. As the race was underway we all pushed forward in an attempt to locate the front echelon.
This task was paramount as the field was reduced to many parts. The major teams rode well and assertively as the others fell in line behind them. We too were caught out as within kilometers large sections of the field had pulled out of the race. Liam and Alex both managed to get around the circuit owing to their strength and insight into proper positioning. This lack of maneuvering on our behalves is unacceptable within this scope of racing. I know all too well the perils of suffering to a rolling group in crosswinds, so have little excuse for my lack of performance here.
Still with another stage to go the riders were rewarded with the news that another sponsor had possibly been introduced to the team for the coming year. With this in mind the pre-race pep’ talk was all about lifting our heads and getting involved in this race again. These set backs serve as motivation for some and de-motivation for others. We talked about our error being one of position, not physical ability and therefore the coming afternoon criterium was all about getting forward, out of the damaging realm of the crosswinds.
From here the riders did just that, with everyone attempting to ride forward through the start of the criterium. The winds here were more fore and aft and thus the field did not break-up as much. I managed an attempt off the front during the race however staying away proved difficult even for the 4-5riders who followed. Thus we all finished with bunch time and now are faced with reduced stature on the teams classification, however are consolidated with the fact that Alex is still within the top 20 riders.
Again Stage results are our focus and with damaging winds forecast this race will again feel the wrath of a cold front who’s effects may be felt for numerous days. Looking forward to more hard racing and the lessons perpetually taught therein.
STAGE 8 and 9: BRAD HALL
Both criteriums were again contested in hard crosswinds with this picture of a desert flower constituting the most beautiful thing seen during the split day of racing. Fortunately both criteriums were reasonably flowing which again made for fast racing. Early on in the morning stage Liam Dove rode well to position himself in a prominent break for the day. From here he made good inroads to buffer a margin of around 20seconds with the peloton chasing hard to set the intermediate sprints up for the designated sprinters.
Once this break was returned to the fold, several other moves rode out indicating a level of fatigue within the bunch. With around 15minutes remaining I managed to move clear in a cross wind section, riding hard and close to the gutter so that only several would be enticed to follow. Two other riders bridged here as we pull hard for the final. As we soaked up several intermediate sprints several other riders bridged swelling the break to almost 10riders with around 5km’s remaining to race.
From here the peloton gave a hard chase with the break momentum being disrupted by numerous riders sitting on in defense of their team mates general classification standings. As the single file line drove past the group I jumped into the thread and made for the finish, missing a bad crash with 400m remaining to run in around 10th.
The afternoon’s stage was again a squarish circuit battered by crosswinds. This disrupted the intact nature of the field as the bunch was reduced on the crosswind straights. Again several breaks rode out and stuck for long periods. I attempted to get across but really did not get further then first wheel in a long line of riders. Liam Dove rode hard on the front to try and launch one of us clear to the front move and paid dearly for his generosity as the bunch began to break up in the strong winds.
Eventually the sprint loomed as I looked for Alex, from here I collected our finisher and drove hard to the first corner of the final lap dropping him off around 10th wheel and being broadsided to the gutter as the other trains lost there front men.
Alex managed to get into the final bubble contesting the sprint, however ran around 12th for his efforts. Chris and Henry were almost dislodged during the harder aspects of the race but showed great tenacity and fought on to secure a place within the remnants of the peloton toward the closing stages of the race.
Tomorrow again see’s the riders contest 2 longer criteriums, thus our chances for success will rely more on team work then individual strength such is the nature of the organized sprinting that exists herein.
STAGE 10 and 11: BRAD HALL
Both stages today were larger loops fought out in strong cross winds. The first stage involved a larger 2.3km loop. Most of our riders felt very tender through both races, with our greatest attempt forward was in the final where I manged to locate toward the back of the sprinting bubble and run close to the final 10th after a courageous effort from 3 break away riders to take out the final podium.
Between stages we talked of how we can better present ourselves for the final as a unit, specifically using Henry’s strength to locate me toward the final kilometers with Alex in tow for the sprint.
In the second stage Liam was again straight onto the front foot. Liam is a rider who has a lot of potential in front of him, he has great strength and generosity which can often result in his being dislodged from the peloton, a case in point of when results and fitness are not the same thing. Liam is strong.
Liam made the first big move of the day and earned the most aggressive riders jersey for his efforts. He rode well to remain out the front of the race for 25km’s. Toward the final Henry, Chris and I moved forward with Alex in tow. I navigated Alex across several laps of maximal efforts toward the front 10riders. From here three riders had escaped the field and were riding strongly some 15second in front. I took this opportunity to ride across the gap. Kicking hard in an attempt to clear the chasing field I rode to within meters of this fast moving unit, until eventually I blew my stack…
From here several other prominent riders rode clear and formed a big split of 10riders. We had missed the move and as such choose not to contest a sprint for 10th spot. The big outcome of this move was that the Budget rider Luke Davison had now claimed the Leaders Jersey: he has done this through his own hard work and determination over several days of strong riding, gradually taking time bonuses through intermediate sprints (there are over 120 of them at this tour, making it more reflective of a ‘points race’). An impressive effort.
Tomorrow we have the last road stage in the afternoon and are hoping for a good showing here with our riders more suited to a less-technical road race.
STAGE 12 and 13: BRAD HALL
Today’s events consisted of a criterium and road race, both were mainly flat and involved hard riding just to complete. Currently my wattage is a lot lower than previous readings, however my perceived exertion is higher probably due to a level of fatigue setting in.
During the Criterium, not a lot happened through the race, with all of us finishing with the peloton. The road race was an opportunity for the team to come together and attempt a collective result. The riders smashed into the headwind for the 45km event, making escaping all the more difficult. Toward the final stages of the race, after Alex and Chris had been working hard to forge a place toward the front of the peloton, Alex had a dig as did Liam. Both managed to get away for a period and looked strong through these efforts.
Our plan was to find each other and set up a lead-out for the final two corners in the last 500meters. Chris did the bulk of the work here with Henry second wheel. We moved forward through Chris’s hard effort on the front, as with around 1km remaining the train stalled with the bulk of us engulfed by the remainder of the field. Henry and I did not managed to find a line out, however Liam got a run at the line and fared around 10th, highlighting the importance of position (not just sprinting ability, as Liam is more suited to longer efforts) when coming into a sprint.
Still the guys rode well and again demonstrated an ability to contest a final. At this level one needs to be able to work well as a unit in an effort to present opportunity for a sprinter. We have another final race tomorrow and then the teams sights turn to the tour of Tasmania and the one day races of Warnambool and Grafton. Continually we must focus on using our ability to work together in a competitive dynamic environment if we are to be competitive consistently at the NRS/Professional level. Riding a sprint in Perth is often easier as it involves navigation around 10-15riders, here we have around 40-50riders of high ability not only working as one, but utilizing their communal strength to deliver classy riders to quality results. This is the greatest hurdle for a WA team contesting racing at a higher level and involves insight, preparation and knowledge. We have several of these aspects and will continue to hone the others for finer performances in our attempt to present Western Australian riders to high level cycling events.
Thanks for reading, until tomorrow.
STAGE 14: Thanks to BRAD HALL
The final stage saw the riders descend onto Swan Hill for a 40 lap 60km hill criterium. It was enough to break the legs of many riders left in the tour and saw me elicit the highest normalized power output for the tour, mainly owing to the big sweeping corner at each end of the hot-dog shaped course combined with a small hill and cross wind blowing through the course.
Our goal here was two fold: set up a move with Henry in it; and have a go at contesting the sprint final as a team.
Both Liam and Alex rode great position as Henry, Chris and I loathed down the back for the first period. Around the half way mark breaks started to move further out as the field weakened. I drove Henry up the side of the bunch over two laps and finally got into a position to launch him, he did this and collected an intermediate sprint in the process whilst managing to ride free for little under a lap!!!
It was so hard off the front, both he and I took a good 15mins’ to recover from this minimal effort, such was the pace and technicality of the circuit. From here the final loomed as I saw Alex well placed around 20th wheel. In the final 5laps I made my way too him and then continually rode him up the peloton, in the wind, in order to protect him from the swirling peloton and also the cross winds on the straights. I did this well, so well in fact that my HR for the final 5laps was 180bpm from a 170bpm threshold: well and truly on my knees come the sprint with Alex located between 4th and 10th wheel for the final half a lap or 800meters.
Around this point Henry had managed to located me and offered me a lead out, much to my dismay as I was totally cooked,I instructed him to go as I had needed his efforts some 1-2km’s prior. I gave Henry a generous sling, launching him from around 20th wheel forward, from here Henry utilized some of his impressive explosive speed and ran home 13th with Alex running in 7th. A good set of results considering the difficulty of course.
This outcome is largely reflective of the race in general, results only come with adequate team work. In hindsight we required a stronger presence in front of me early in the push for the finish, if Henry had of located me out of the wind for the final 2 last I could have driven Alex further forward for the final corner finish.
Still this team has experienced a large learning curve and has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to collectively coordinate an outcome: a theme of behavior imperative for success at this level. All on the back drop of repeated stages spent at threshold, day after day, after day….
Such is the aftermath of a tour, rendered useless by society such introspection can better hone our focus for the coming races. Still these events could not take place without the immense amount of work from people such as Bob (below), Dorte (logistics manager), Waynes’ incredible devotion to the team among a great many others. Our results form part of the currency for these efforts, combined with the opportunity for WA athletes to race well at Australia’s highest level of racing.
Now the teams focus turns to the Tour of Tassie, and several one-day races of the ‘Warny’ and Grafton-Inverall race. Looking forward to the team capitalizing on these team efforts
This is another in the National Road Series. Click HERE for overview of the NRS. Click HERE for official website.
Plan B tops podium at Pinjarra Classic
A strong field of riders took on the hills and rain at the Pinjarra Classic on Sunday. Despite attempts to forge a break it came down to a sprint finish with Brad Hall benefiting from his recent trip to Belgium crossing the line first.
A team effort facilitated the win as Chris Beeck spent no less then the final 10km’s on the front neutralising solo attack’s from Robert Power and others, then continued to ride hard tempo on the front to set up a sprint finish. Brad won the sprint, however with the sprint only eventuated through the hard work of Chris Beeck in containing a 15 man field intent on the finish not being a group sprint, he was the catalyst that facilitated the win. Congratulations to all finishers.
Tour of Gippsland 1 – 5 Aug 2012
Tour of Gippsland 1 – 5 Aug 2012.
The Plan B Racing Team that will contest the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland is a blend of youth and experience. The team comprises:
- Alex Smythe
- Daniel Bonello
- Daniel Furmiston
- Alex Malone
- James Ibrahim
- Luke Joyce
- Jackson Mawby (U19)
- Nathan Dahlberg (manager)
The five-day tour, now in its eighth year, will feature a stage on the world-renowned Phillip Island Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit. The 490.45km nine-stage tour will start on Wednesday, August 1, with a 40km waterfront criterium at the idyllic fishing village of San Remo.
The team won the 4th stage here last year with Brad Linfield and the Teams Award
This is another in the National Road Series. Click HERE for overview of the NRS
OFFICIAL WEBSITE link for more information
Morning stage – criterium in San remo.
A technical course and a big bunch with a lot of strong teams who were happy for it to come down to a bunch sprint.
With sprints every second lap the team tried to get involved in the intermediate sprints with Alex Smyth placing second to eventual winner Luke Davison. The pace was on the whole day and there was no real organization from any teams out on the road. Smyth was involved in a crash with 5 laps remaining in the race but was able to rejoin the race and finish at the front end of the huge bunch.
Afternoon stage – moto GP circuit
An unusually windless afternoon on the GP circuit made for a super fast 66km race. The team worked very well to get Smyth in a sprinting position for the intermediate sprints picking up some more bonus seconds. Luke Joyce made some appearances in the few break always that tried to get time on the peloton but sitting in the bunch was just too easy and breaks were always reeled in quickly. In the last laps of the race the pace was super high and a big effort by James Ibrahim to get Smyth to in front of the fight for wheels and into a top ten overall place in the stage.
The morale of the team is high after being up there with the big teams and looking like we can challenge for a few podiums or better!
We will keep you posted with reports and results from the week!
Taken from the website -
Iconic Victorian tourism destination Phillip Island will host the opening day of the 2012 Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland.
The five-day tour, now in its eighth year, will feature a stage on the world-renowned Phillip Island Grand Prix motorcycle racing circuit.
The 575km nine-stage tour will start on Wednesday, August 1, with a 40km waterfront criterium at the idyllic fishing village of San Remo.
It will conclude on Sunday, August 5, with the tour’s traditional grand finale criterium at Paynesville on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes.
The tour will be backed by the State Government and four municipal councils – Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Latrobe and East Gippsland.
Melbourne-based Lakes Oil, Australia’s oldest oil and gas exploration company, founded in 1946, will be the tour’s major sponsor for the fifth straight year.
“The tour is also a proven breeding ground for the future stars of Australian cycling and is a superb community event, involving thousands of people from a large cross-section of not only Gippsland, but Australia-wide and internationally.”
The tour will be the opening round of the 2012 Scody Cup and is a feature event on Cycling Australia’s national road series.
Plan B Racing Team riders in Belgium
Brad Hall and Chris Beeck returned to Belgium in July for a 2 week block of hard core racing. The tour finished on a very positive note with Brad placing second in the 115km kermesse in Dienze. Go to Brad’s blog for more information
Tour of Towoomba 14 – 17 June 2012
Tour of Towoomba 14 – 17 June 2012.
Days like these, (stage 4 particularly), are the most beautiful and the most unpleasant, so much hard work for a result not reflective of our efforts.
Stage 3 TTT 16km’s
With 5 riders this time trial was always going to be difficult. We set off at a high intensity as we attempted to get going post-haste… Straight away the intensity met threshold as these young men drove our small echelon
onwards. Our rythym was even as each of us pulled well and for an equal duration.
Theo and Jackson again impressed greatly, with the later probably pulling the hardest turns through the final 1/3 of the course. Our time, however, was slower then what I would of expected as we came in some 70seconds behind the eventual winners in Budget forklifts. Still some promising efforts from the younger riders and a solid team effort.
Stage 4 116km road race.
This stage was contested over some undulating terrain and massive cross wind sections through open cotton-fields. Immediately I was in the first break of the day, which survived some 5km’s as Alex hit out for the second break staying away for around 40km’s. Behind this break the narrow roads opened up to large empty fields as the wind battered the field from the side.
I made the decision to pull turns with the echelon as working in crosswinds is often easier then sitting in the gutter.
This paid off as when the break was pulled back there was little peloton remaining. I immediately followed the next counter attack which forced a 15man group up the road. With the hard crosswinds the field split into a hierarchy of abilities where only the stronger riders formed the successful echelons.
From here we worked and worked hard. We gained an advantage of around 1.5mins, however with some 20km’s remaining a smaller peloton brought us back into the fold as again the field was brought reeling into the gutter due to the substantial crosswinds.
Over the remaining rollers we pushed until finally we were 5km’s from home. From here I could see both Alex and Theo riding well with young Jackson also in the remaining split. To be honest I was surprised to see the younger riders in this selection as plenty of other more ‘qualified’ riders had not made the cut.
I told Theo to hold fast on my wheel as I navigated through the field and found a spot some 7riders from the front. I also knew Alex was close by which made for a successfull formation. We entered the final hill 2km from the finish and then onto the criterium circuit for a one-lap final’. The par-course we had viewed in the race manual the night before was unfortunately nothing like the actual finish which proved to be a decisive factor in what was to follow.
As we crested the hill, Alex (our sprinter) followed a small attack of 7 riders. I shadowed the move from the front of the field as Genesis began their push for the line. I easily moved into this train as we bridged to the front markers. One rider had managed to escape prior and was to ride onto a hard earned victory and a well deserved one. As the front of the field propped, I called Alex onto my wheel, believing the finish line, which was easily in view, was around one kilometer from our current position.
As Alex slipped in behind me, I pushed hard for the line, culminating in a 630watt one minute effort. Unfortunately the course final’ involved an extra 600meter detour, as I found myself ‘half-cooked’ with around 800m remaining. There was fortunately a cross wind so I was able to ride around 1meter from the gutter, enough to give Alex and Theo a reasonable sit, whilst forcing the others behind them to bare the wrath of the brutal wind.
From this point I knew getting Alex to 200m was our only option for success. I manged to round the final hairpin prior to the sprint as the field caught up with my effort and began the sprint for the line. Alex managed to grab a wheel and I thought 3rd place, but unfortunately was pipped by 3 riders to come 4th in the sprint and 5th over all for the day. Theo also managed to push well for the line and claimed a top ten result: a very impressive effort from a young rider.
Todays race was more eventfull and more enjoyable/hurtful then the first race where I ran 3rd. It required complete concentration and good fitness to even finish with the front group. Plan B managed to finish with 4 riders, including Theo and Jackson (their efforts on this particular day were nothing short of spectacular given their age and racing experience), and managed to coordinate a collective effort for a potential podium spot which resulted in two top ten placings.
So often in cycling one must risk everything so that others may have legitimate oppertunity for success. This ‘collective bargaining’ is what signifies not only cycle racing, but professionalism. Today our coordinated outcome was professional in nature as it involved utilising a complete skill set among multiple parties for a single outcome.
Plan B Racing team, its directors, and ‘Tifosi’ supporters group have been working hard to secure a professional license, in the form of another significant sponsor, for the coming year. Today was again evidence to our ability to work in unison so that a team result can be attained: this is professionalism at work.
Days like today cycling is beautiful, not necessarily pleasant, but a beauty to behold.
Thanks for reading.
Stage 2 Report , 126km’s
Todays stage was the queen stage of this years tour. A steady 20km ascent featured prior to 4km’s of 10% average gradient designed to finish off these humble participants. Without a real climber on board the teams objective was to work for a break away in the hope that we could gain some advantage prior the climb.
All the riders rode good position as we began to make our way through the middle section of the race: here several smaller climbs sort to ‘bust’ the field up. Theo and Brad managed to gain access to several moves that rode clear. Theo here showed his huge potential as a rider, just locating oneself toward the front of the group is hard enough with Theo easily maintaining his position and therefore offering himself for potential breakaways.
Eventually Brad rode clear of the field on the tail of around 10riders through the harder sections of the race. Brad had hoped this would stick, but Team Budget were intent on delivering their general classification rider to the foot of the climb close to 1st position. The break was brought back reasonably quickly as again the intensity lifted.
As we rode through the valley toward the final ascent the pace lifted to a steady tempo. From here it was going to be a climbers day out. We rolled into the final ascent of around 15% as the majority of the bunch crashed due to their chains dropping from the front ring and/or the shear sudden increase in gradient. Most of the riders were caught up in this except for the first 40 or so. Plan B unfortunately did not get through this mess easily. It was some 40seconds until most of us got going again.
Luke Vitler rode well to regain some of his standing on the climb, with the rest of us happy to get over the 3km ramp of 10% average.
This day is not without positives however. Theo showed he was on hand to race through the harder aspects of the race before this brutal climb. He was able to navigate his way around the field with perceived ease whilst also having the fitness to follow some of these strong moves. Much potential there is in this young man.
Luke Vitler also impressed today, he was intent on contesting the climb rather then opting for a break away. We allowed Luke his freedom to contest this final’ as he see’s fit, had he not been caught up in the ‘schnozzle’ that was the entrance to the ascent, he may have featured closer to the front.
Tomorrow we turn our attention to the TTT and the road stage which again may suit our attributes as a team. We lost one rider today in Luke Joyce, so our TTT will depend on 5riders instead of 6. The road stage is a rolling stage where we are hoping for another breakaway or sprint finish using Alex Smyth’s finishing speed.
Thanks again for reading, Brad Hall.
Stage 1 report
Tour of Toowoomba, stage 1, 139km’s.
Today’s stage consisted of narrow roads, some undulations and many a strong rider.
For this tour Plan B had several of WA’s premier junior riders in attendance in Theo, Jackson and Luke Vitler. With such a young team we have hoped for a good GC showing and some stage results.
To the younger riders credit their performances today was nothing short of exceptional. They rode position toward the front of the group as though they had 10years racing experience each! This is a great sign of what is to come, and an indication they are confident young men who believe in their abilities. A culmination of the hard work they and their respective others have put into honing their cycling prowess. The riders, family’s, respective coaches and indeed the WA cycling community are all to share in the bright futures of these young men all facilitated through the unique WA racing venture that is Plan B Racing team.
That being said the race itself was hard and fast. A field of around 140riders descended onto the rolling plains south of Toowoomba as we smashed our way around the sometimes flowing, sometimes narrow roads. The usual teams were very prominent in Genesys and Budget, however it was great to see our younger riders and Luke Joyce shadowing the many moves.
As we approached the major undulations around the 105km mark, the field stretched to a single file line as the intenisty increased. Alex Smyth and Myself were well positioned here as we followed moves untill finally a small break crept off the front during the hardest aspect of the race. Initially Budget chased until finally they threw a rider across.
I followed and together we formed a solid front group of around 10riders. The final’ of today’s race was hideously technical with two sharp corners and a hairpin all in the final 1km. As we entered this final’, the peloton were some 20seconds in arrears. I stayed closer to the rear of the group and navigated the many corners with two riders riding clear in solo attempts for the line.
As we rounded the hairpin I followed the wheels until 250m to go and pushed hard for the finish managing to hold off the other finishers for 3rd. A good start to the tour.
Tomorrows stage sees us ascend a 700m climb, whilst this format of racing does not represent our greatest strength for this tour, we will be seeking to initiate an early break and consolidate any loses. Our real hopes are for the other remaining stages which are similar to today’s undulating stage.
Thanks again for reading, Brad Hall.
This another in the National Road Series. Click HERE for overview of the NRS
Here is the OFFICIAL WEBSITE