Thursday, 11 June 2009

Northern Combine: Three Day Tour 2009

The A grade 3DT consisted of three road stages and one time trial, all centred around well known routes near Lancefield. 23 starters in A grade, and no reigning champion who pulled out at the last minute. Jake Sutherland (Total Rush) was the new man to beat - being the only semi-pro (full time?) rider in the bunch.

Stage 1: Lancefield-Carlsruhe loop. 96kms. Lap one was relatively sane, a few attacks, a few chases. Nothing race changing. Into lap two a break of five riders went up the road with most of the teams represented. Jake wasn't represented so he was the one who had to chase. He'd recruited a few others to help in the chase and they pulled the break back after around 20kms of hard work. Immediately two Hawthorn riders scoot up the road, Bertovic and Johnson. Both were Hawthorn riders so again I wasn't going to chase. I rolled in with the bunch, 50 seconds or so behind Bertovic and Johnson.

Stage 2: Lancefield-Cobaw ITT. 10kms. Nowhere near long enough and on some of the deadest roads around. My warm up was a shocker, much work to do improving that. I came in at 13:46. My power was good and I'd caught a few riders on the way. I could have done a few seconds better but there was no way I had 27 seconds, which Jake put into me to claim the stage win. I was happy with 2nd, and Jake and I were the only riders in the 13 minute bracket on the day. Bertovic held onto yellow by a very slim margin over Sutherland. Ben Johnson 3rd on GC and me 4th (5 seconds off Ben J).

Stage 3: Lancefield-Newham. 91kms. A well known route. Chopper and Mueller got up the road in the first few kms. Mueller had missed his TT start time and was 20mins+ down on GC so he wasn't chased. Chopper was also well down on GC so was also let go up the road. Kos also also spent a few good kms chasing solo but was back in the bunch at around the 20km mark. Chopper was soon back with us too. Mueller was up the road and wasn't seen again, taking the stage win after a massive solo effort. No change on top 5 GC, Bertovic in yellow by a slimming margin after Sutherland took a few time bonuses.

Stage 4: Lancefield-Pastoria Loop: 113kms. If I could get bunch time I'd be in a good position to hold my 4th on GC. If I could make up 5 seconds on Johnson I'd jump up a spot, 50 seconds and I'd be 2nd. I tried to get away with Jake after the first sprint when the bunch was strung out at km 21. No go, too early in the day. The course and conditions were brutal after all the racing we'd done. One last attempt at getting away off the front when a few riders were off the back after KOM #1 - no go, it didn't stick. I then switched back into convective mode hoping to stay with the front bunch to the finish line. Two minor drops on the hills on the final lap but we were soon back with the front bunch and heading home. 20kms of downhill and tail wind, there were only 10 of us left and I think every one of us attempted a 'flyer' off the front to get away solo - and every one of us were soon back in the quickly closing bunch. There was no chance I'd be in the sprint bonuses so I rolled in with the bunch and kept my 4th spot on GC. Sutherland had overtaken Bertovic to take the overall win. A well deserved effort for Jake Sutherland after all his work on day 1 and a blistering TT.

I was happy with three 'same times' and second place on the stage 2 time trial. Many thanks to my team mates Kos and Simon for keeping me out of the wind as much as possible, and to the HCC guys for getting up the road so I didn't have to chase! Hats off to the volunteers and officials who put on a great show, without them these events just don't happen.

Overall GC results:
1. Jake Sutherland 8:23:06
2. David Bertovic 8:23:20
3. Ben Johnson 8:23:57
4. Shane Miller 8:24:02
5. James Herd 8:24:19
6. Hugh Singleton 8:24:45
7. Marc Loecherer 8:25:06
8. Hayden Kerr 8:25:10
9. Nathan Elliot 8:25:13
=10. Thomas Donald 8:25:36
=10. Viv McCarthy 8:25:36

Full results (Stage, other grades, etc).

Fraser Short's Photos
NDF's Photos (3DT Stages)

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