U23 National Crit Report
By Liam Lawlor
With fresh Nalini kit and a new Suomy Sfera helmet, I was eager to line up on the start line for the U/23 National criterium race along with over 80 other riders. Being eager was pretty imperative for this field size, as it would take a sizeable chunk of time and energy to move from the back to the front on this course.
The hotdog circuit was 1.1km long, where the finishing line straight was an ascent and the back straight was a descent. The nature of the course meant that the finishing straight was flat gas and the back straight was a time to recover. The race was roughly 33km long, which meant that we had 30 laps of the course to complete. I found myself at the front for the first few laps involved with some of the early breakaway attempts, however, the peloton wasn’t letting many get far up the road. After using a bit of energy I decided it was best to sit in the peloton and wait for other opportunities that would perhaps come later in the race. The constant kicking out of the corners and the hilly straight slowly began to take a toll on my legs. Later in the race, I tried following a move with five riders, however, I decided to ease up as the bunch was showing too much interest in bringing this move back. The pace was fairly quick for the rest of the race.
A break of three managed to get up the road. with the new Australian Cycling Academy placing two riders in this move they had no interest in bringing it back. With ACA having a controlling seven starters in the race, it was going to be difficult for the rest of the bunch to get things organised to pull them back. Former teammate Ben Andrews, now with Olivers Real Food Racing, was about the only rider to put in a concerted effort to bring the move back, and new teammate Dave tried to shake it up with a few attacks off the front, but it was to no avail! The break ended up finishing in front of the chasing peloton by a mere four seconds. David Randall and myself both managed to roll in the top 20, which I was fairly happy with considering it was my first race as an U/23. Tomorrow sees Van D’am riders Iven Bennett, Lachlan Darch, Ethan Egglestone, and Matt de Vroet line up for the U/23 National Time Trial.