The new Moonta Criterium circuit proved a hit with riders. Some tight corners, a testing up hill and the short laps meant that the racing through all categories was exciting. Being just over 600m long, the square circuit really pushed riders to their limits as they battled it out for intermediate sprints, the stage results and series points.
Cat 2 Masters
Cat 2 masters were the first on the circuit. Racing was on from the gun. Those not greeting the start line with enthusiasm had very little time to adjust their attitudes as the first attacks went straight from the gun. The ADX Depot team, who were on a high after taking all three podium spots the day before were particularly active. But it was to be Power-On Resonate-Acoustics who would turn the tables on the race, with the 50+ Category leader Tony Wagner taking out the round with a well-timed attack.
Cat 2 Women
With series leader Jazz Martin (Coffeelosophy Cycling Team) not on the start line, there were to be several riders desperate to finish high in the points to put themselves into serious series contention. The technical circuit would suit those with some serious bike handling skills. It was Bronwyn Dolman of Port Adelaide Cycling Club Black who rode the field off her wheel, in the end taking a comfortable (albeit it hard fought win). Mountain biker Emily Hill riding for Butterfields-Blackchrome took second with Hannah Seeliger taking third to reclaim the yellow jersey she had lost the day before!
Cat 2 Men
The talk of Cat 2 men so far had been of the strength of Harry Askew. Unfortunately for Harry, the first three rounds had seen him finish with three second places. Fed up of being the bridesmaid, Askew attacked early, and although he initially had some company, he left his breakaway companions behind and forged a solo path to the finish. Despite the hard work done by Gravier CC x Spin Cycle Clothing for Round 4 winner Mark Samson, Askew proved too strong holding off the chasing bunch to finally take the win.
Cat 1 Masters
Round One winner Phil Dixon jumped from the gun, with Keystone Cycling looking to put race leader (Tim Decker) under pressure. He was eventually caught and passed by CSA Board member Scott Nolan who was riding for the BE-BMW team. This move too, was ultimately unsuccessful, but it did provide enough of a catalyst for Round 4 winner Jarrod Currie to be able to break free from the bunch and solo to the finish. Decker, although finishing in the points will need to fight hard after having his lead cut by Dixon, with Decker’s Lightsview teammate, and 2016 series winner Cameron Spears also closing in.
The Elite Women’s race once again provided quiet a spectacle. A fast start put many riders under pressure, and there was only going to be a few who would make it through to the finish. Narelle Hards (Mercedes-Benz Adelaide-Blackchrome), backing up from her podium result from the day before, pushed off the front were she was joined by Eloise Vaughan (Ventou Cycling). The two worked well together and were coming into the last corner with some speed. Unfortunately, Vaughan slid out, gifting the win to Hards. Vaughan fortunately had sufficient time to remount and roll over the line before the chasing bunch arrived taking second place. Series leader Breanna Hargrave (SASI – Blue) crossed the line in third to extend her lead on her nearest competitors.
Following the trend of all the earlier races, the elite men had a blistering start. Those caught napping on the start line were quickly dropped. Working into the race, an elite breakaway formed off the front of the race. Contained in this move were Alex Edmondson (IsoWheySports-SwissWellness), series leader Sam Welsford (Mitchelton-Scott), Chris Luxton (Lightsview) and Jordan Kerby (Mitchelton-Scott). The four forged a path clear of the chasing bunch, despite the efforts of USG and several other teams chasing hard. Coming hard into the last corner Edmondson and Welsford came together, resulting in Welsford hitting the deck. In the chaos Luxton slipped through, forging clear to take the win!
Cycling South Australia would like to thank the Copper Coast Council for their support in hosting the event, and to all the commissaries and volunteers for assisting in the hosting of the event. All series photos can be found at our Official photographer’s webpage – Chameleon Photography.