Doha, Qatar, 9th -16th October, 2016.
The biggest, in terms of participating nations anyhow, annual event on the cycling calendar has just been run and won in the Gulf nation of Qatar.
The very contrasting conditions, and a very contrasting environment to last years Championships in Richmond, Virginia, provided the opportunity for a different type of rider to wear the Rainbow Jersey for 2017.
The event was held a fortnight later than usual to allow the weather in Doha to cool a little from the 40 degree plus conditions which can occur in September. Even so, the predicted conditions of high thirties and mid-range humidity was on the minds of those preparing, as the heat can potentially play a bigger role that race fitness.
The week started out with the Teams Time Trial (TTT), where the cream of the road cycling professional peleton competed for 183,000 Euros and bragging rights as to who was the fasted team in the world. The extremely hot conditions saw a number of riders in distress, but some very fast times on a technical 40 km course.
The womens TTT was won by Boels Dolmans , a team that included high profile riders Elizabeth Deignan (nee Armisted), Evelyn Stevens, and Ellen van Dijk, in a time of 48.41. Taking the minor placings were Canyon SRAM and Cervelo Bigla. The team of NZ rider Georgia Williams, Be Pink, were 50 seconds from the podium in 4th position.
In the mens event, Etixx Quickstep lead by former individual time trial (ITT) champion Tony Martin, beat last years winners BMC Racing, by only 12 seconds and averaged 56.426km/h for their win. The Australian registered Orica Bike Exchange team were third, some 37 seconds in arrears. No NZ men were involved in the TTT.
Two days later the ITT events started, with the U23 men and U19 girls the following day. Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling) and Sam Dobbs (BMC Development) were the kiwi contingent in the U23 mens event, with Madeleine Park and Mikayla Harvey our representatives in the girls event. A mechanical in the first 3 km put paid to McCormick’s chances, but Dobbs posted a very respectable 37:37 for two laps of the 15 km course. Despite losing a few valuable seconds with a jumped chain on the penultimate corner, national champion Park rode an impresive race puting her in eleventh spot, only 7 seconds from eighth position. Harvey was just over 2 min down on winner Karlijn Swinkels (Netherlands) in 31st position.
The U19 mens event was the next day and featured Oceania and National Champion James Fouche and the in form Robert Stannard. Stannard started conservatively finding himself 25 seconds down on the leader after one lap, but did not fade like many others on the second lap to take the leaders ‘hot seat’ with a time of 36:44. Fouche unfortunately “over-cooked” one corner to lose some time and some skin. Stannard ended up in 11th best, only 2 seconds from a top ten finish, whilst Fouche was 44th, 3:49 behind eventual winner Brandon McNulty (USA). Notably, McNulty’s time of 34:42 would have placed him 3rd in the U23 mens race even though he was restricted to a 52 x 14 rollout!
The only elite (senior) rider to do the ITT was Cannondale’s Jack Bauer. In very trying conditions in the heat of the midday sun, Bauer finished the 40km course in 47:48, putting him 27th out of a field of 66 of the worlds best. Being only 3 min in arrears of winner Tony Martin is event more impressive (for both Martin and Bauer) when you saw that third place was well over one minute behind Martin. Indeed Martin alone posted a faster time than nine of the teams in the TTT on the same course!
Ckick here to view the winter series road race results, including the Cheltenham Cup, won by Chris Denholm.
Saturday 27th August, 2016.
Click here to view the results from today's Woolworths Cup (winter series race 3). The results from race 2 of the winter series can also be found on this same link.
Great racing by Cam Stewart, Robert Stannard & Chris Denholm to cross the line 1st,2nd & 3rd in testing windy conditions. 15 brave riders turned out to compete for the Woolworths Cup not knowing their pre race handicap. And the Cup winner came from our C grade being Chris Pinkney closely followed by Tom Pirie. Well done Chris, and even better news you have now been promoted to the B grade!!!! Tom will also move up a grade to C after showing good form over the past 2 weeks of racing.
Get ready for the Essex Cup next Saturday - our most challenging Cup race 50kms with 10 kms of gravel - the race will start and finish in Pohongina Village - see you at the village 1pm for registration.
Click here to view the winter series road race results, including the Essex Cup.
Well done to the 23 riders that took on the Essex Cup challenge today in Pohongina. The winner was our world champ trackie Cam Stewart showing his sprint legs ahead of Jacob Sievwright and Carne Groube. Thanks to our helpers Steve Perry, Rebecca Allan, Catriona Pirie and Mike Groube. We take a break now, round 5 on 2 October. A few more photos.
Winter Series Race 2, Saturday 20th August 2016. Huge thanks to Kevin Laskey for organising the race, with 37 riders taking part.
Click here for full results and winner of the Sutton Cup. Woolworths Cup next weekend (27th August) at Halcombe.