Friday 3rd December - Sunday 5th December
Vodafone Arena, Melbourne
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It was a packed weekend of racing at the Vodafone Arena this weekend. With riders looking for UCI points to gain selection to the track World Championships in Los Angeles in March, there was everything to ride for.
The Oceania Championships were run in conjunction with the traditional Melbourne Cup on Wheels programme. This meant that regular local competitors were able to get a taste of international competition on an evening when they usually only race each other.
Women's Scratch Race (15 Laps)
Belinda Goss started a successful evening on the track with a win in the Scratch Race. Goss was having a busy weekend, also appearing on the Oceania Championships list with a win in the Points and Scratch races. A large bunch of over thirty riders started this race and although some drifted off the back during, there was a sizable number left at the end to contest the sprint. Jessica Berry, a Vodafone regular, was second and Tess Downing - who had a busy weekend as she was also representing Australia in the Oceania Championships was third.
1 Belinda Goss 4:46:397
2 Jessica Berry
3 Tess Downing
4 Catherine Sell
Women's Group Handicap (8 laps)
The CycleSport Victoria volunteers who provide the push-off in these events gave their al to propel the riders into action. Split into groups starting at the same point, there were four riders with 105m head start on those with the furthest to go. However, it was the longest group which provided the first three placings.
The race came together very quickly, which meant that those further back had to make their way through the field in order to get to the front. There was still a sizable group in the race at 2 laps to go, but when the pressure went on, there were only really five riders in the race. Tess Downing took first, from a very focussed April Eppinger. Tiffany Cromwell was third. Peta Mullins, who started 40m ahead of the first three finished fourth.
1 Tess Downing 2:24:458
2 April Eppinger
3 Tiffany Cromwell
4 Peta Mullins
Women's Keirin (6 laps)
Belinda Goss seemed to throw her bike forwards for the line a lap early in the Keirin. But even if it was an error, it didn't affect the final result. Her forward motion through the bunch continued through the final lap and she comfortably took the line to win the race.
1 Belinda Goss
2 Jessica Berry
3 Liz Williams
4 Catherine Sell
Always pleased to ride in front of home crowds, Kate Mactier did not disappoint in the 3km pursuit. Afterwards, in an interview with commentator, Matthew Keenan, she confessed to being "very excited" about the Melbourne 2006 Games. She added that there is lots to stay motivated for, the World Championships in LA in March 2005 of course and the domestic events prior to the Worlds.
Bronze medallist, Liz Young showed her style in her win over Annalisa Farrell from New Zealand.
1 Kate Mactier (AUS) 3:41:571
2 Dale Tye (NZ) 3:53:070
3 Liz Young (AUS) 3:53:312
4 Annalisa Farrell (NZ) 3:56:860
Tess Downing, who rides for local club, Carnegie Caulfield, took the Junior pursuit over 2km. Australia had a clean sweep of the medals, with Kiwi Rushlee Buchanan taking 4th.
1 Tess Downing (AUS) 2.36.640
2 Tiffany Cromwell (AUS) 2.41.184
3 Peta Mullens (AUS) 2.40.057
4 Rushlee Buchanan (NZ) 2.40.482
In a return to international competition, Kerrie Meares showed her class with a relatively easy win in the sprint, over Kiwi Katrie Laike. This after a small shock in the semi-finals, where round one against Liz Georgouras was taken to the photo - the winning margin, just a tyre.
The ride for the bronze followed the same pattern - Australian versus New Zealander, but with the Kiwi winning in 2 rounds.
1 Kerrie Meares (AUS) 12.663sec & 12.480sec
2 Katrie Laike (NZ)
3 Elizabeth Williams (AUS) 12.717sec & 12.663sec
4 Liz Georgouras (AUS)
Speaking to WomensCycling.net after the medal presentation for the sprint, Kerrie Meares explained that "I've raced a couple of carnival previous to this, but this is my first international competition." "I'm really happy to be here. I came here with a couple of goals, to qualify for the (500m) time trial, the sprint and the keirin for the World Championships. I'm 2 down so far and I've got the keirin left tomorrow."
In response to what must have been the 100th question about her back, Meares said "Its great. Its a little bit stiff here and there, but I've got a couple of stretches that will help me with my mobility, but other than that, I'm pain free and the work that I've been doing on it to get back on track is working, so I've just to maintain it for the rest of my cycling career."
Rather than seeing her problem as a permanent injury, she says that she will be doing "permanent maintenance".
The rest of Meares' season is busy, as would be expected : "A lot of stuff has been crammed into 3 months. I'm going to the Brisbane Cycling Classic then the Victorian Cycling Christmas Carnivals, straight on to Manchester's World Cup, the Australian Nationals, the Sydney World Championships then the World Championships. Pretty 'full-on' but I'm ready!"
The junior sprint was an exciting event, as eventual silver medallist, Bridgette Broad took a tumble in the semi finals, when team-mate Malindi Maclean fell off high on the banking and managed to take Broad's back wheel with her.
In the final, Downing beat Broad in 2 rounds, the second of which went to the photo.
1 Tess Downing (AUS) 12.845sec & 13.576sec
2 Bridgette Broad (NZ)
3 Ashleigh Stone (NZ) 13.995sec & 13.088sec
4 Malindi Maclean (NZ)
It was another easy win for Kerrie Meares as she took gold number three in the Championships. Despite a jump with 2 laps to go from the back by Mallarcky, Kerrie Meares made it look all too easy when she had time to sit up and take the women's Keirin title.
1 Kerrie Meares (AUS) 12.252 sec
2 Katee Laike (NZ)
3 Belinda Goss (AUS)
500m TT Junior
The 500m TT for juniors was easily won by sprinter, Bridgette Broad. She beat Tess Downing by almost a second. Melindi Maclean from New Zealand was third.
1 Bridgette Broad (NZ) 38.331
2 Tess Downing (AUS) 39.154
3 Melindi Maclean (NZ) 39.349
4 Ashleigh Stone (NZ) 40.320
5 Aude Salmon (NewCal) 40.789
6 Peta Mullins (NZ) 41.442
7 Antonia Restall (NZ) 41.732
8 Jessica McCallum (AUS) 44.251
On the first day of her return to international competition, Kerrie Meares rode the event which has been associated with her sister, Anna all season. It is Anna who now holds the World Record and Worlds and Olympic titles. However, after almost a year off due to a back injury, Kerrie was pleased to be competing again. Rides in these Championships provide riders with qualification for the World Championships in March in Los Angeles.
1 Kerrie Meares (AUS) 35.979
2 Liz Williams (NZ) 36.608
3 Katrie Laike (NZ) 37.285
Belinda Goss, who is from Tasmania but studies at University in Melbourne took the Scratch race from Joanne Kiesanowski. Other local rider, Jessica Berry, was third.
1 Belinda Goss (Aus)
2 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ)
3 Jessica Berry (Aus)
There were some tremendous demonstrations of bravery and determination in this event. Firstly, Australian rider McCullough pulled her foot and then chased back into the bunch, to be in contention for the sprint at the end. Then, Kiwi Broad and another rider crashed and after some time to recompose herself, Broad got back up and went back on - to contest the sprint for the gold medal. There was a wait for the photo finish, but then Malindi Maclean was given the decision.
1 Malindi Maclean (NZ) 6:46:776
3. Tiffany Cromwell (AUS)
Photos will appear here soon - watch out on the New Too page for notification
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