It's January and the Northern Hemisphere is variously cold, soaking wet and/or frozen. While the USofA experiences for a couple of days what it's like to be Canadian, here in the
southern summer hemisphere are enjoying some pretty great cycling.
Events got underway today in the Victorian town of Ballarat with the Time Trial. In the U23 men's race Jordan Kerby of Drapac claimed a narrow victory by two one-hundredths of a second over Harry Carpenter of SASI Cycling. Kerby finished the 28km course in 34:56.44, Carpenter in 35:56.64 and Michael Scotson, also of SASI, coming in third with a time of 35:10.59.
In the Women's event, three-time winner and defending champion Shara Gillow of Orica-AIS seemed the likely favourite but it was Felicity Wardlaw of the Bicycle Superstore team who claimed the top spot in 38:46.64. Gillow finished in second with a time of 39:18.8, and former Australian champion Bridie O'Donnell claimed the third step on the podium in 39:23.79.
While the U23 and the Women's results demonstrated the growing strength of Australian domestic teams and riders, the Elite Men's race showed the dominance of Orica-GreenEDGE, sweeping the podium. Michael Hepburn (a dual world champion on the track) claimed the top spot with a time of 56:25.90 while defending champion and hot favourite, Luke "Turbo Durbo" Durbridge finished in second at 56:37.52. Recent newcomer to Orica, Damian Howson (U23 World Champion) took the bronze with a time of 58:32.20. Perhaps the most
exciting terrifying unexpected surprising bizarre moment of the race came however, when it was reported that Garmin rider Rohan Dennis had been picked up by a mini-tornado and thrown to the ground. Being an idiot Australian cyclist Dennis got back on his bike and continued for another kilometre before abandoning. He's undergoing treatment in hospital, but as I understand it there are no serious injuries.
There's plenty of racing ahead too with Thursday bringing the Crit championships ahead of the U23 Men and Elite Women's Road Races on Saturday. Sunday is the Elite Men's Road Race. We live on the front end of the dateline so for pretty much everyone except our Kiwi friends, the dates I've mentioned are going to be at some time in your past. If you're in the US, some of them will even be the day before. Remember, when it comes to timezones Google is (sort of) your friend.
Coverage is a bit patchy with daily highlights available starting tonight for the Time Trials, Criteriums and the U23 and Women's Road Races. Post links as you find them.
Sunday's Elite Men's Road Race is being televised live in Australia, so check all the usual places for streams.