We have unintentionally created the habit of coming up with quite an unorthodox line-up for the season closer at the Shimano Supercrit. Australia’s richest criterium falls at an awkward point of the season for the team with riders well into their nationals build and attempting to lose the kilos and fine tune their climbing rather than tackle the flat streets of South Melbourne.
Our Victorian trio of Blake Agnoletto, Henry Dietze and David Randall took to the start line as well as assistant manager Matt de Vroet. Bendigo boy Issac Buckell guest rode for the team as a last-minute replacement for the injured Lachie Marshall who broke his collarbone down at the Tour of Tasmania the week before.
Always a quick circuit, the plan was fairly basic; keep Henry out the wind and let him do his thing for the expected bunch kick. There was a big build up pre-race with the crit also serving as the final ever St Kilda Criterium at White Street. The circuit has been the introduction to racing for many of Victoria’s finest riders and you’d be hard pressed to find a rider who hasn’t raced there in the state. It is a real shame to see the club lose the circuit due to new council regulations but hopefully it won’t be the last we see of them on a national or state level.
It was also the Drapac Cycling teams last race as they bid farewell to cycling after more than 15 years in the racing scene. They lined up with the full 2019 roster as well as three teams made up of ex-riders. It was pretty clear they were keen to go out with a bang.
The circuit around St Kilda is probably one of the safest criterium courses in the country but with the huge prize purse on offer the added stress often sees the bunch experience multiple crashes. Matt was unfortunately out of the race early on with a front wheel puncture and no neutral spares. This wasn’t a major blow to the team as the now triathlete had made it clear to the team beforehand that he probably wasn’t the man to fire up the lead out train after not doing a single anaerobic effort for the past year.
The remaining four rode well with a man represented in almost every move. The fast-flowing nature of the course means sitting in the wheels is relatively easy and it would have to take a large group to get away rather than single riders. Arguably the most dangerous move of the day was when a group of around 15 got away midway through the race with three of team represented while Henry rested his legs in the bunch. The peloton couldn’t quite make up its mind as to whether to chase it down and it seemed as though their moment of hesitation could open up a race winning move. The group up front never really got working well however and it would all come back together for a rapid sprint.
The quartet worked well to deliver Henry onto race favourite and eventual winner Jenson Plowrights wheel with a lap to go but the hectic bunch saw him get slightly swamped before finding some room to finish a very respectable fourth. Definitely not bad for a kid who hasn’t even started year 12 yet.
With the rest of the team all in the top 15, it was a solid showing for the boys in what is Agnolettos and Dietzes last race for the team. It highlighted the growth both of them have experienced throughout the year and we are excited to see how far they progress over the coming years.
Shimano Supercrit team results:
Henry Dietze: 4th
Blake Agnoletto: 7th
Issac Buckell: 12th
David Randall: 13th