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Briana James in RR action in 2004

 

Kathy Watt in TT action earlier this 

year in the  Geelong Tour

Victorian Open Road Championships 2005

Criterium, Time Trial and Road Race

Mansfield, Victoria, Australia

Click here to jump to >>   Criterium       Time Trial      Road Race

Race reports Courtesy - Rod Morris in Mansfield

Criterium

The race only attracted 13 starters, but there was still plenty of interest, particularly watching the race tactics of eventual winner Briana James and Hawthorn's Claire Baxter.


James and Baxter controlled the intermediate sprints, winning nine of the 11 between them. James backed off however on the last two sprints, in an attempt to preserve some energy for the final laps. "Winning the championship was my number one aim over and above the intermediate sprints, although the rivalry was enjoyable while it lasted," James said. A member of the powerful Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club, James has only been racing seriously for three years. 


In her first State criterium championship in 2003, she failed to finish the first lap and last year improved to finish fourth. Her 2005 performance however will win high praise from her coach Glen Hutchinson. An arts student at Melbourne University, James is jugging studying with cycling.


"At the moment, I'm probably concentrating more on bike riding than my school work, but when I get results like this I can see its all been worthwhile," she said. James intends to ride in the Women's Tour of Geelong in January, whilst she is also preparing for the upcoming Australian track season. "I'm still not sure whether I enjoy track or road racing more, but winning events like these makes the road pretty enjoyable," she adds.


Claire Baxter went on to win the sprint title, but could do no better than fourth in the final sprint for overall honours. 


Bendigo's Jessica Berry was an impressive second behind James while track star Rahna Demarte claimed third.

Criterium Results - 

  1. Briana James (Carnegie), 51.55 minutes

  2. Jessica Berry (Bendigo), same time

  3. Rahna Demarte (Northcote), same time

  4. Claire Baxter (Hawthorn), same time

  5. Vicki Eustace (ACT), same time

  6. Deborah Fagg (NSW), same time

  7. Nicole Whitburn (Warragul), same time

  8. Gemma Goyne (Carnegie), same time

  9. Laura Bortolozzi (NSW), same time

  10. Monique Hanley (Warragul), same time

  11. Maryam Rogers (Carnegie), +17 seconds

DNF: Clare Vlahopoulos, Andrea Bishop.

DNS: Sarah White.

 

SPRINT QUEEN

24 points - Claire Baxter (Hawthorn)

20 points - Briana James (Carnegie)

5 points - Monique Hanley (Warragul)

4 points - Vicki Eustace (ACT)

4 points - Nicole Whitburn (Warragul)

4 points - Laura Bortolozzi (NSW)

2 points - Deborah Fagg (NSW)

1 point - Rahna Demarte (Northcote)

1 point - Maryam Rogers (Carnegie)

1 point - Gemma Goyne (Carnegie)



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Time Trial

Kathy Watt rode the 27 km time trial from Mansfield to nearby Howqua in a lightning fast 39.32 minutes, which equated to an average speed of 40.97 km per hour. The diminuitive Watt won the title ahead of Hawthorn youngster Claire Baxter and former Sydney - now Torquay based - rider Anna Sutton.


She has just returned from France where she won a Category 1 time trial, beating top line American Jenny Longo and early last month won the national club time trial championship in Queensland. She is currently ranked No. 1 in Australian time trialling and the form shown yesterday must surely have Australian selectors debating the merits of returning her to the Commonwealth Games.


Watt on the road race gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and at the same games, won silver in the 3000 m individual pursuit. On top of her Olympic success, Watt has alson won 4 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze at Commonwealth Games level and was third in the time trial at the 1995 World Track  Championships in Colombia, when racing at high altitude.


"I'm not sure if I've done enough to convince the selectors to give me a start for the Commonwealth Games, but if I can win the time trial at the Australian Championships in Adelaide in January, I believe I will get an automatic start," Watt said.

The Victorian ITT was a hotly contested affair and Watt didn't have everything her own way. Brunswick's Bridie O'Donnell posted a good time of 43.05 minutes from the early starters before she was passed by Warragul's Monique Hanley with a 43.03. Baxter was the surprise packed of the middle starters, posting an excellent 40.48 minutes and her time stood till eclipsed by the last starter, which was Watt. Randwick rider Laura Bortolozzi finished in a time of 41.38 to take fourth place, missing out on a minor medal by just seven seconds.

Result - Time Trial 27km

  1. Kathy Watt (Blackburn), 39:32 minutes

  2. Claire Baxter (Hawthorn), 40:48

  3. Anna Sutton (NSW), 41:31

  4. Laura Bortolozzi (NSW), 41:38

  5. Monique Hanley (Warragul), 43:03

  6. Bridie O'Donnell (Brunswick), 43:05

  7. Briana James (Carnegie), 43:11

  8. Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn), 44:35

  9. Nicole Whitburn (Warragul), 44:41

  10. Alicia Evans (Geelong), 44:49

  11. Cristine Foster (St Kilda), 45:02

  12. Samantha Lindsay (St Kilda), 45:12

  13. Mairead Hayter (St Kilda), 46:08

  14. Clare Vlahopoulos (Carnegie), 46:51

  15. Louise Nicholson (Geelong), 47:30

  16. Kym Petersen (Carnegie), 49:09

  17. Andrea Bishop (Carnegie), 49:25

  18. Christine Ervin (Coburg), 50:25

DNS: Sarah White (NSW), Vicki Eustace (ACT), Brooke Condon (Blackburn), Clare McKechnie (Bendigo).

 

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Road Race

Riding as if their lives depended on it, Briana James and Claire Baxter scored an emphatic quinella in the Victorian Open Women's Road Race championship in Mansfield yesterday - effectively ending the domination of Kathy Watt.


James and Baxter are two of the up and coming young queens of Australian cycling and have proven to be the surprise packets of this weekend's championships, held in the State's High Country.
Although there was an early breakaway by Deborah Fagg and Monique Hanley, James and Baxter set the pattern when the race got to the serious stage.


The women's race was held on a flat and fast 7.9 km circuit and the girls were asked to complete 12 laps. Fagg and Hanley were intent on picking up points - and cash - in the intermediate sprints, sharing honours in the first five and featuring in minor roles in a few others.


However their time at the front of the race took its toll and Hanley failed to finish the entire journey, while Fagg - the winner of the sprint title - finished ninth overall. James and Baxter made their move nine laps in at around the 70 km mark.


"I was trying hard to shake off Briana but she kept with me, so we decided to work together and see what would happen at the final sprint," Baxter said. "I didn't have the power to out sprint her at the end, but I'm not all that disappointed to finish second."


Baxter, a member of the Hawthorn Cycling Club, enjoyed a solid championship weekend, finishing second in the individual time trial and fourth in the criterium, as well as winning the sprint title in the latter. 

James also enjoyed a great time in Mansfield, winning the criterium and the road race. "I am absolutely thrilled to have won two titles," James beamed. "When Claire and I got away, everyone else in the bunch was mucking around, so we just put the hammer down." 


"The time gaps we were getting from race officials were really helpful and at one stage I think the margin got out to 2 minutes, so we just tried to ride even harder."


"I'd like to thank Claire for her great ride as well, it was great to be involved in such a wonderful race and even better to actually win it," she said.


In the end, James and Baxter had a winning margin of 2.31 minutes with Kathy Watt leading the peloton home for third place.
Watt was chasing her third consecutive State road title but was denied by the impressive James and Baxter.
Behind Watt was Jessica Berry of Bendigo, Nicole Whitburn of Warragul and Vicki Eustace of Tuggeranoong.

Result - Road Race  95km

  1. Briana James (Carnegie), 2 hours 34.59 minutes

  2. Claire Baxter (Hawthorn), same time

  3. Kathy Watt (Blackburn), +2.31 minutes

  4. Jessica Berry (Bendigo), same time

  5. Nicole Whitburn (Warragul), same time

  6. Vicki Eustace (Tuggeranon), same time

  7. Jennifer Manefield (Parramatta), same time

  8. Gemma Goyne (Carnegie), same time

  9. Deborah Fagg (Albury-Wodonga), same time

  10. Alicia Evans (Geelong), same time

  11. Maryam Rogers (Carnegie), same time

  12. Gemma Kenessy (Brunsiwck), same time

  13. Angela Wade (Melton), =2.36 minutes

  14. Samantha Lindsay (St Kilda), same time

  15. Laura Bortolozzi (Randwick), same time

  16. Bridie O'Donnell (Brunswick), +2.41 minutes

  17. Cristine Foster (St Kilda), same time

DNF: Anna Sutton, Kirsty Bortolin, Andrea Bishop, Christine Ervin, Monique Hanley, Mairead Hayter.
DNS: Emma Gaul, Sarah White, Stephania Magri, Brooke Condon.

 

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