Elite Men – Gassner Strikes Back, But Drizners the Rider to Beat

October 21, 2019

In 2018 Justin Gassner claimed the overall honours in the Super Series through consistent riding. Despite three podiums, he never managed the top step. Not content with this approach in 2019, Gassner and his renamed team Tonsley Village took the Top Step on the podium at the Round 2 TTT, and Gassner continued taking a hard-fought win on the dirt roads of Wallaroo.

How it unfolded:

5CS Wallaroo Road Race

Close to 50 riders set out from the West Beach Holiday Park and set off towards Alford. Butterfields – Appselec were determined to put the pressure on the incumbent leader in Jarrad Drizners sending Rylan Dowdell up the road early. The bunch seemed content with the solo rider off the front, and let him move out to a solid advantage, with the knowledge that the dirt roads and headwinds would do much to dent his solo progress to the finish. A big crash 40km into the race would put several riders out of the race, but it would once again be the dirt roads of Alford that would cause the first major selection. Whyalla Cycling Club rider Lucas Hoffman riding for Chesser Chemicals set off early with a planned long-range attack, but fate would deal a cruel blow with a puncture seeing him swept up and left behind by the bunch.

Series Leader Drizners, and defending champ Gassner weren’t waiting around for a bunch sprint. The two riders fired off the front of the bunch before the end of the first dirt section, quickly catching early escapee Dowdell. A disorganised bunch behind failed to get organised, letting the lead trio consolidate their lead coming into the second dirt sector. Dowdell would succumb to his earlier efforts, leaving Gassner and Drizners to battle it out for the finish. The defending state road champion Just Gassner would show his race craft – taking the win, with Saunders (Butterfields-Appselec) awarded the final podium spot from the bunch which finished just 5 seconds behind.

Magic FM Moonta Criterium

The Moonta Criterium saw Drizners with just a two-point lead over Gassner, and with the knowledge the Drizners would have NRS commitments over the coming weeks, he knew he’d the maximum points buffer available. The Moonta Crit is fast and technical, meaning that Drizners would not be punished for having no teammates to cover moves as team organisation would be hard to come by. Matthew Gassner (riding for Focus-Attaquer) would not be waiting around for a bunch sprint, and was one of many riders who would fire continuous attacks off the front. Although a late move with Matt Hutchinson looked like it might reach the finish, it was not to be for Gassner but he was rewarded for his efforts in entertaining the crowd with the RoadID Most Aggressive.

Drizners put on a show at Moonta

In the final sprint, it was the Scody Leaders Jersey which would be the first over the line, with Drizners putting himself back on the top step after missing out in Round 3. Taking second, and moving himself into series contention was Angus Maddern (USG Cycling) with third place going to Tom Chapman of Focus-Attaquer. Drizners cleaned up every category at the Recent Tour of the King Valley, and he has taken the same approach to the 2019 Super Series. He now leads the Scody Overall Competition, the Advanced Physiotherapy Sprint Classification and the Adelaide Bike Fit Young Riders Classification.

Cycling South Australia would like to acknowledge the support provided by the Copper Coast Council to make this event happen, and acknowledge all the event day volunteers, officials and sports trainers for helping make such a successful weekend! We also wish a speedy recovery to all those who came off and hope all heel up fast!

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