What an action packed day down at SKCC where not only did we have our action packed crits but also the annual Neo Metro / Beller TTT where the teams go against each other and the clock.

It was a terrific field with some big teams in town and some underdogs looking to stage an upset. The VIS were back to defend their crown and if looks were anything to go by these young boys meant business. The mighty O2 Networks Team despite being old enough to be their fathers was not going to roll over easy. O2 are the young guns of yesteryear and are extremely talented and extremely competitive.

The TFM Team celebrate after finding out they got the win

The VIS boys went off first and immediately set the pace and even the naked eye could tell these guys were flying. When you have the firepower of Luke Parker, Alex Morgan, Eric Sheppard and Liam Dove you know you’re going to be hard to beat. It was neck and neck early with O2 Networks 4 of Andy Naylor, Wade Wallace, Matthew Goold and former Aussie Road Champion Allan Iacuone keeping pace with the young guns.

Big Gun David “Steggles” Sturt from Cycling Inform leads his team down the straight. Steggles is an absolute talent and an extremely accomplished rider.

All eyes were on the Cycling Inform Team who are known for their talent and time trial abilities. Led by David Sturt and former Australian Ice Skating Champion and Caulfield Carnegie superstar Danny Kah. They had a slight disadvantage as they are not regulars to the SKCC course but they set off hard and their first 3 laps had them only 3 seconds downs on the VIS. 

O2 Networks are all class and have no weak links

Charter Mason were the unknowns who started slowly but with each lap their average speed rose and they came home extremely strong and showed some future talent. Nathan Eliott, Mitch Cooper, Coor Murtagh and Lachie Doak all look comfortable out on course.

Powerhouse Bridie O’Donnell leads the VIS Team. She looked angry as she drove the front and made me think I would hate to be late home for dinner if I was her boyfriend 🙂

Not much was said about the Bike Gallery boys of Cam McDonald, Dan Strauss, Nick Bien and Fergus Sully but their splits were impressive and they were tracking nicely for a podium. Dan Strauss was instrumental in setting the pace with long hard solid turns. There 3rd place finish was an outstanding result and one that only left them shy of 2nd place. Anyone who beats Drapac is going well so it was a great result.

The much favoured Total Rush just didn’t fire and should have been renamed David Kelly plus 3 as David Kelly did 90% of the work. David is an extreme talent and has unmatched power but in a team time trial you need a team effort and it was too much for David to do all the work.

The VIS boys meant business today

Search 2 Retain were looking for numbers to make a team and unfortunately it showed as they were just off the pace as too were the Kingsmen who are known for terrorizing people along Beach Road but unfortunately on the big stage they failed to fire.

Final Standing in Men’s A

1. 14:50 Jayco VIS
2. 15:12 O2 Networks
3. 15:22 Bike Gallery
4. 15:29 Drapac Professional Cycling
5. 15:36 Total Rush
6. 15:36 Cycling-Inform
7. 15:40 Charter Mason Drapac Development Team
8. 15:45 Search 2 Retain
9. 15:51 The Kings Men 

Women’s A Grade was always going to tough for anyone to win when you have talented VIS girls in town. Led by former Australian ITT Champion Bridie O’Donnell the VIS girls looked great from start to finish. With new team Kosdown in town led by the new slimmed down Von Micich they were intent on putting in a good performance. They brought in big gun Carolyn Baker for extra firepower and their opening laps were set in a blistering pace.

The SKCC Team could have been renamed Jenny Mac plus 3 as Jenny worked tirelessly on the front and turned it from a TTT to a ITT. Jodie Batchelor struggled and had to suck the last wheel for most of the race. Alison Raaymakers was having an off day and was dropped early and Claire Stevens did her best to provide some relief for J-Mac.

Alison McCormack who was fresh from winning Women’s B drives the front of the TFM Team with Captain Lysiane Belton close behind (Note Alison’s perfect sock height & crisp white shoes)

The Holden Team led by the small in size but big in talent Miranda Griffiths were determined to give the VIS girls a run for their money. Nicole Justice, Stephanie Ives & Lucy Coldwell made up the team that despite getting off to a slow start came powering home and gained time on the VIS each on the last 4 laps. Miranda went in to overdrive and pulled some monster turns as did new signing Nicole Justice.

In the end the VIS girls just had too much firepower and ran away winners with the Holden Girls coming second and Jenny Mac’s SKCC girls finishing 3rd.

Final Standings Women’s A
1. 11:13 Jayco VIS
2. 11:41 Holden Cycling
3. 11:59 SKCC Rocks !
4. 12:44 Kosdown

The VIS girls minus Bridie

Men’s B Grade saw a quality field that had all tongues wagging when self-proclaimed big hitter Michael Day (Celtic- Giant) brought in the big guns for the TTT. Michael who is a multiple Tour of Bright Winner and regular A Grade racer thought he could sneak into B Grade unnoticed. Joining Michael was powerhouse John Cain, TT specialist Daveo Williams and the extremely strong Brian “Bam Bam” Smith.

Michael didn’t roll any turns and when he finally rolled his first turn he pulled on to the front so slowly his team had to go by and drop him. Michael’s poor performance which saw him dropped cost his team dearly in the final standings. Michael was wearing a camera on his head for both the TT and Men’s A but as he’d been dropped from both races the only footage was the back of men’s legs faraway in the distance.

Big Johnny Cain eating up the road while Michael Day 3rd wheel tries to hang on for dear life

Team Canard who are the new top dogs in Men’s B put in two strong teams and looked good early until Eddie “Not like the old days” Wilson got dropped after the 1st lap. Christian Varney who works ethic is unquestionable and who is one of the most improved cyclists around rode extremely strong for the whole duration of the race and was supported well by Jesse Fergie and Chris Hickey.

The Kingmens put in a strong showing led by the King Stuart Verrier and looked very strong early and were actually tracking faster than their very own A Grade team.

It was all smiles for the St Kilda girls who suffered like dogs before storming to second in Women’s B

The 2nd Canard team worked well and only finished 13 seconds behind their number 1 team. The Melb Uni boys finished strong and looked as though they were going to sneak on to the podium. Team Wynn’s who were aptly renamed the team of the giants who had 3 team members over 6’8 lost a rider early and struggled to recover from that despite Simon Frost single handily taken control and doing the bulk of the work.

In the end it was the Hawthorn Team that consisted of Oscar Stevenson, James Gray, Cam Fraser and Alistair Crameri who smashed the field and took the win comfortably.

Men’s B Grade
 1. 13:10 Hawthorn Cycling Club
2. 13:32 Giant Celtic Race Team
3. 13:32 Racing for Canard#1
4. 13:39 The Kings Men
5. 13:42 Melbourne Uni CC
6. 13:45 Racing for Canard #2
7. 13:46 Team Wynn’s

The B Grade podium (Michael Day was too ashamed to come up) Chin-up Michael back to day 1 of 50 🙂

Women’s B Grade was very even field but in the end it was a very uneven result. The last minute team of TFM smashed the field to win by over 30 seconds from Team Clam. Led by team captain Lysiane Belton the TFM girls had a secret weapon up their sleeve and that weapon was Alison McCormack. Alison who had just won Women’s B Grade in impressive fashion dug deep and worked tirelessly with Sarah Haas-Lockie and regular B Grade big hitter Renee Nutbean.

Million Dollar smiles from the TFM girls

The C Grade Chic team worked hard and Sam Tarticchio pushed and pushed and pushed and never rolled over. She was well supported by Carrie Lim, Libby Williams and Danilee Ahern. Sam pulled all the hard turns into the head wind and just would not give in.

A big thanks yet again must go to Neo Metro / Beller for putting on this great event and putting in the extra dollars. The crowds were huge and it just further backed up the fact that SKCC have the best Sunday crit racing in Melbourne hands down.

Women’s B Grade
1. 12:34 TFM
2. 13:03 Team Clam
3. 13:24 Becoz Cycling
4. 13:43 C Grade Chic

Despite a fine for SHV (sock height violations) the SKCC team rode well