Cold Starts… Hot Racing!
The temperature gauge on the car read –2°C on the way out to start the first day’s racing for the seventh edition of the DBR Canberra Women’s and Junior Tour at the magnificent Mt Stromlo Forrest Park Cycling facility. Arguably the best junior tour on the calendar, due in no small part to the size and quality of the fields, the Canberra Junior Tour is very well run on challenging terrain, featuring something for everyone – time trailers, climbers and sprinters. The honour role is something to behold: names like Cam and Trav Meyer, Jack Bobridge, the brothers Law and Caleb Ewan. Add Chloe Hoskings, Carla Ryan, Brunswick’s own Bridie O’Donnell, Lauren Kitchen and Amy Cure on the female side and you get the picture.
The 2012 edition saw almost a national quality field in most age categories and some fantastic racing on closed roads. Brunswick was ably represented by Sarah Gigante (JG13), Ruby Roseman Gannon (Jw15), Ryan Schilt and Riley Hart (JM15) and comeback kid Liam Hood (JM17). They made up fields that included riders from all Australian states + a big contingent from the Shaky Isles.
The second and third layers were soon peeled off as the temperature passed zero, warm-ups were completed and the stage one ITT got underway. Sarah got off to a terrific start posting a 9.34 for the 5km TT – over a minute faster than the next best time at that stage. A young girl from Tassie, Anya Louw, set an even more impressive time (9.21) however and set things up for a ding-dong battle over the next three stages. Stage 2 and Sarah and Anya were soon away in a break and finished nearly two-minutes clear of the rest of field. Sarah turned the TT result around with a well timed sprint. Now the girls were even on points with two stages to go.
For Ruby, the TT offered a terrific opportunity with the rolling course well suited to her endurance. Ruby laid down a fast time of 16.25 for the 9.5km circuit to finish just 1-second behind big improver Amelia Follet from the Hunter Valley. In the road race, Ruby took it upon herself to set a difficult pace on the climbs and it worked to crack Amelia, with just two girls able to stay with her. Ruby won a three-up sprint to go to the top of the GC by some 16-seconds after the first day.
The JM15 boys took to the TT start line with Ryan posting the 10th best time of 15.28 for the 9.5km course. The leading boy, Cameron Scott smashed the course with a time of 14.06, with the two NZ boys the only other riders to break 15-minutes. Riley, still looking for form after extended sickness, clocked a 16.39 (the second-fastest first-year time). To the 24km road race, and the rolling course was a real tester. Riley attacked just before the long descent at around kilometre 9 opening up around a decent gap on the peloton. The leading NZ boy, Campbell Stewart, went with him but refused to do one turn. Riley persisted only to be caught around 5km later on the climb before the KOM. Ryan hung tough as the race smashed to bits on the nasty Cutting ascent. Ryan rode home in the second-group of eight that finished almost a minute down on the leading three riders (Scott, Stewart and Josh Toovy) and moved up from 10th the 7th on GC as the leading Victorian.
It’s safe to say Liam, still on the comeback after 18-months away from the sport and hot off winning JM17B at Shepparton, suffered some bad-luck on day one of the tour. A dropped chain in the TT pushed him down the results and then a flat on the road race added to his woes. Liam was one of a number of under-17 boys and girls to puncture after some idiots in a car threw tacks all over the road. Police pursued the perpetrators to take some justice, but it ruined the races of a number of leading contenders.
Day two and the temperature gauge read –2.5°C on the way to the start, but again a magnificent day awaited. The layers came off as the warm-ups ramped up. Stage three was another road race on the rolling Stromlo terrain. Sarah had a 12km out-and-back course and being tied on points with Anya it was an important race leading into the stage four criterium. Again the two strongest riders broke away, but as they were playing cat-and-mouse two other girls joined them for the sprint. Sarah lead a long way from home, but held on gamely to take the win and move into the outright GC lead. For the afternoon crit Sarah was nervous, because if Anya beat her, she would lose GC on a count back due to the TT result. She needn’t have worried, she rode like a pro, slowing and waving the other girls through after they sat on her wheel for a lap and a half. She never panicked, hit the front with 200m to go and held on well for the win.
Ruby went into the third stage with a 17-second lead over her nearest competitor. It was altogether until the Cutting when Ruby hit out and went solo for a number of kilometres. Three girls took up the chase and managed to peg her back and make for a four-up kick. The solo move had taken its toll and Ruby finished fourth losing 8-bonus-seconds on her GC lead. This made for another nervous crit with Ruby needing to finish immediately behind Tori Saunders at worst. It was a fast run race and Ruby stuck tight holding on to take second and win GC by just 4-seconds. Ruby and Sarah – the two Queens of Brunswick!
Ryan and Riley had a tough 38km road race with two KOM climbs. On the way out the average speed was over 40kmph but the bunch was all together when they passed the entry for the Cutting climb… and that’s where it again blew apart! There was carnage with a strong attack half-way up shelling riders like peas. Ryan hung tough in the lead group of six and managed to win the sprint for second after Scott had gone solo on the last small rise. This moved Ryan up to 5th overall. Riley rode conservatively trying to save something for the afternoon crit and finished a fine 17th less than two-minutes down and the first first-year.
The Crit was raced at an average speed of 41.5kmph! 15-minutes + 2 laps went by in a flash. Both Ryan and Riley were sitting towards the back for the first half, before moving up in the middle stages. Both boys were well placed heading into the final laps and contested a big bunch sprint for third after Scott again slipped away for the win. Ryan got 8th and Riley 12th on the same time. It was a great result for Ryan being the leading Victorian and riding the hills as strongly as he did.
Believe it or not, Liam suffered another puncture in the morning stage three road race… that’s three mechanicals in three races! I’m not sure what the story with the Crit was but I can’t him on the finishing results and I know there was a crash… fingers crossed. Let’s hope for some better luck for Eildon for Liam.
So all up – a great result. Brunswick was the only Victorian club with a GC podium, let alone two GC winners in Sarah and Ruby. Next up, the Eildon Junior Tour this weekend (no rest for the parents!) with everyone’s favourite finish atop the Dam wall.
Thanks to Pierre Pino for his photos and to Mark Gunter for the shot of Sarah. Mark has photos for sale at www.markgunter.com.au.
Full results canberratour.actcyclingevents.com.au