Riders and spectators were given a real treat at yesterdays extended Victoria Park Criterium circuit, which flowed out onto Wakefield St in a testing, technical and most importantly interesting alteration to our staple Victoria Park Circuits.
There were many standout performances on the day. Natalie Redmond (Gravier Cycling Collective, Port Adelaide Cycling Club) stole the show in the Elite Women’s race – in a performance no one else could contemplate matching.
The course was met with glowing reviews, and even those who found it a little on the taxing side appreciated the additions. The technical nature did suite several riders – one of those being Redmond. Redmond has recently returned from racing cyclocross in the United States and is in the midst of planning her next overseas racing adventure – (that is between training and working full time as an engineer). The technical nature, and the number of accelerations required each lap clearly suited Redmond and her CX focus.
Reflecting on her race, Redmond described how the “course suited me because of my cyclocross background, I’m used to repeating accelerations through technical corners. The two hairpin turns on Wakefield Road followed by the tight corner back onto the Victoria Park circuit created three consecutive punchy corners which were great for launching attacks through. That was the section of the course where I managed to get away after a few hard attacks. I knew if I could keep a good tempo in the straights and take a few seconds each lap in the corners I had a chance to stay away. It still wasn’t until the last 10 minutes where I felt that it had stuck.”
But the standout performance of the day and this week’s feature goes to Andrew Clarkson in Cat Two Men, riding for the Norwood Cycling Club.
On paper, this result is nothing special. A seven-rider break formed halfway through the race. This featured a mix of teams – two from GCC & Friends, two from Tempo Systems/Titan, and Clarkson with two of his NCC team/club mates. The only team to really lose out was the team of the incumbent race leader Josiah Whittaker (Adelaide Uni Cycling Club). Despite AUCC’s best effort, the break was never looking like it was coming back.
Coming into the finish, Clarkson’s teammate Sam Young performed a textbook lead-out – dropping Clarkson off coming into the final straight, and Clarkson took the line honours with the Sprint Competition Leader Matt Hutchinson (Tempo/Titan) rolling in second and Young hanging on for the final podium spot.
So, you may wonder what makes this result noteworthy. In essence, without Clarkson (and his NCC teammate Frank Smith), it wouldn’t have been possible to run this course. Both were at Victoria Park at 6:15 to help CSA implement the road closures required to run the event, and both were still there until 8:30 that evening helping pack up. For the sport – it’s a representative of a wave of change that is happening – with new people starting to pick up the slack after leaving the burden with so few for so long. One of the primary reasons people have been afraid of volunteering – is that they fear that they will compromise their own racing, and Clarkson demonstrates that this doesn’t have to be the case.
At CSA, we are determined to make things better, but change always takes time. If you want it to get better quicker, then talk to your club, and see where you can help. It might be an hour standing on a corner, helping with social media or helping pack up a race.
We would also like to acknowledge our team of corner marshals, commissaires and sports trainers who all helped make yesterday run so smoothly.
Cycling South Australia would also like to note the support of the Adelaide City Council, in not only allowing us to run the event, but also for their help in delivering such a smooth day of racing.