Last Sunday saw the Ring criterium series in the centre of Wellard. It was a short technical course with a brick paved uphill finishing straight that was into the wind. It was challenging the first time, but after thirty attempts it would have felt like a mountain.
The big difference in Men’s A grade this week was the lack of Team USA and the return of two riders who were racing the Sun Herald Tour in Victoria last weekend with some of the world’s best teams. Local Theo Yates and Albany’s Craig Wiggins, both exceptional sprinters.
Neither Yates nor Wiggins had teammates in the race, so it leads to some very interesting tactical racing. Yates was the first to attack, he got clear, next lap Yates was joined by two other riders and being chased by a trio of riders which was lead by Wiggins with the bunch chasing a little further back.
A few laps later there were six riders at the front, with Yates and Wiggins started marking each other out, the break was then caught by a reduced bunch. Individual riders, Tom McCracken and Aaron Barclay the most prolific, would attack and get a small lead. Yates and Wiggins, would let other riders chase. But as soon as another rider would try to bridge to the leader, Yates and Wiggins would be on their wheel. From there it was going to be a bunch sprint, which was won by Yates with Wiggins second and Bryce Lannigan third.
Women’s A grade was also a very tactical race. Series leader, former Olyroo and dual Olympian Teneal Attard would cover all attacks. Which meant the race followed a distinct pattern. Michelle McLintock would drive the pace, a rider would attack, McLintock and others, including Danica Wiggins, Craig’s sister and an exceptional sprinter in her own right would go out the back. Attard would cover the attack, the pace in the pack would slow and McLintock would drag the dropped riders back to the bunch, before going to the front and setting the pace again. McLintock was dropped at least five times and rode exceptionally to get back each time. In the bunch sprint Attard took the win, Danica Wiggins was second and Emily Mascaro third.
B grade men, saw an accident at the start of the second lap which saw series leader Josh Commons, need to take a lap out with a damaged wheel. From there it was a constant attack, chase pattern of racing, nobody got away, but the bunch was slowly whittled down chasing. In the sprint, it was Beau L’fort taking the win, with Josh Commons second and Ben Thorman third.
B grade women was a challenging race. The pace was on from the start, 6 of the 14 starters got dropped as riders attacked, other riders chased, brought the attackers back, only to see a different rider counter attack. After over 30 minutes of racing, it came down to a sprint from the remaining eight riders which saw Jessica Lawler take the win, with Emily Wiggins second and Darcie Richards third.
Photo credit Damien Wyer