Division One: MBA Blackchrome
Super Series Round Six
The round six criterium was the first time on the short course, and in mild conditions. The team was represented by Jess, Victoria, and Emily Hill again promoted from division two. Emily had a crack at the sprint points, but then experienced the difference in strength between division one and two, finding herself in trouble after the sprint as the bunch continued to counter attack. Victoria was not doing any better, caught napping and poorly positioned as a break went after the second sprint point. With Victoria relegated to a chase bunch, it was left to Jess to ride like she belonged in division one, staying alert to the moves of the bunch and positioning well. Jess grabbed vital point mid-field, and inched closer to the Leader’s Jersey. Luckily for Victoria, Breanna Ryan had been crushed by testing at SASI that day (thank you SASI), allowing Victoria’s hapless performance to still keep her in the Masters Jersey.
Super Series Round Seven
Race Report Courtesy of CSA. Photo courtesy of Chameleon
Mercedez-Benz Adelaide-Blackchrome Dominant in the TTT and Mitchelton-Scott deliver on expectation
In the Elite Women, Mercedez- Benz Adelaide – Blackchrome stormed home to take the win. It was no surprise that they took this victory, but few would have predicted their almost 2 minute winning margin. The two SASI teams were close to each other, with SASI-Red coming home in second and SASI Blue taking third. For the third time in the series the leaders jersey changed hands, with 2016 series winner Jessica Mundy (MBA-Blackchrome) taking it off the shoulders of SASI’s young gun Maeve Plouffe. Currently second overall, former leader Breanna Hargrave (SASI) will have a battle on her hands to overcome her deficit on Mundy with only three rounds remaining.
Division Two: Blackchrome Butterfields
Super Series Round Four – Copper Coast Road Race
Road race: Report by Emily Hill
The beginning of the road race was frustrating as there were a dozen people taking turns while everyone else was hanging out at the back to avoid the hard-work in the wind. After a while, a few riders willing to take a chance decided to make a break. USG and Blackchrome/Butterfields were the only teams strong enough to stretch the field. The first couple of attacks didn’t quite stick, but the strategy was clearly bringing to breaking point, some of the girls who were just hanging on. A few kilometres from the first gravel section, and with the help of some gentle undulations, an attack instigated by USG and Blackchrome/Butterfields finally stuck. This lead bunch would stay together until the end, apart from a few girls who crashed during the gravel sections. The last couple of kilometres was very quick and yielded a flurry of attacks. When I saw the cones for the final corner I decided to make my attack, which allowed me to enter the corner first. I sprinted to the finish line, but was outpaced by Jaz of USG who snatch first by less than a wheel.
Super Series Round Five: Copper Coast Criterium
Criterium: Report by Emily Hill
The criterium was held in very windy conditions which was going to test the handling skills of the division two ladies. Those with experience and strength against the wind made their mark very early into the race, with a splintering of riders from the end of the second lap. A steady stream of riders was being pulled from the course as they were about to be lapped by the leading bunch. In some respects, it was very difficult for the officials to gauge which riders were leading and which were being lapped by the multiple small splinter groups out on the course. When I made a break away for the sprint points, one of the marshals was pointing for me to exit the course, but I was confident that I was the front of the race and just road past him to take the sprint points. My tactic was to not break around the corners, and this worked in gaining some distance from the group with each turn, forcing the lead bunch to work and constantly close small gaps. The wind on the back straight was tough and punctuated with strong gusts, which often caused me to ride my bike sideways. A very clever solo move was made by Bronwyn Dolman of the Port Adelaide Black team. There was not enough cohesion from the chase bunch to bring the move back, turning the race into a game for second place. Using my cornering skill again, I was able to get around the final corner without touching the breaks, and stepped on the gas to grab second place.
Division One: MBA Blackchrome
Super Series Round Three
Round three saw the team low on numbers, so division two rider Emily Hill was promoted for the race. Amazingly, it was another windless criterium, which is unseasonal for afternoon racing in Adelaide’s notoriously windy spring. Without the wind to break things up, it was going to take a clever move to break the group. Who else but Jenny MacPherson of Ventou Cycling Team would know when to go. We all knew we were toast when Maeve Plouffe crossed the gap to join Jenny, leaving the rest of the bunch to sort minor placings with a sprint finish. Jessica Mundy, ever consistent, grabbed valuable points for the team in 6th, with Victoria and Emily finishing just outside the top ten.
Super Series Round Four: Copper Coast Cup Road Race
The Hell of the North road race was a master class in team work executed by the MBAB ladies. The team roles were set for leading trio Jess Mundy, Victoria Veitch and Narelle Hards, with Michelle Crick the designated free-agent in her first ride in the elite division.
The plan was pretty simple. Use the team’s strength in the wind to slowly pick the race apart, and protect Jess Mundy’s position on the gravel section by using Narelle and Victoria to maintain the pressure.
A few searching attacks went early, led by the MBAB trio and augmented by furious pulls on the front by Maeve Plouffe and Olivia Wheeler of the SASI team. What few inclines the MBAB women could find, they used to good advantage, with Narelle and Jess pressing the field whenever the road went up. The first breach in the group occurred heading into the U-turn, with Narelle attacking into the turn and Victoria attacking out of the turn. Assistance was again provided by the SASI team, and the field had its first splinter.
The peloton continued to roll turns, but the objective of culling riders continued ruthlessly. Stacey Riedel and Alana Haansbergen were potentially dangerous riders, both being enormously skilful on the gravel. But both were identified as beginning to struggle. Stacey was tenacious in holding onto a flurry of attacks, but then got stuck on the front. Sitting on Stacey’s wheel, Victoria saw the vulnerability and launched an attack which saw the group reduced to six, again with strong assistance from Narelle and Olivia.
A few kilometres before the gravel, Madeleine Steele was the next rider to be singled out. Narelle, Jess and Olivia went up the road. Victoria let the wheel go, anticipating that Maeve would have the strength to cross the gap. Victoria waited for Maeve to initiate the crossing, and jumped onto Maeve’s wheel. It did prove to be the cracking point for Madeleine, who continues to come back to full fitness from a series of very nasty crashes this year.
It was no happenstance that riders were being targeted one at a time, to reduce the ability for riders to work together and mount a chase. Maeve was flagging on the approach to the gravel, the usually indominable rider having had a compulsory ergo session that morning – the MBAB team would like to officially thank whoever had that bright idea! Victoria accelerated into gravel but it was Narelle who took over the front and epically held the pace for ¾ of the first gravel section. It was a feat to behold. Victoria took over towards the end, but it was a meek pull compared to Narelle. On returning to the bitumen, the riders returned to pulling steady, hardworking turns into the cross-head wind.
It was now down to four riders, with Maeve having succumbed early on the gravel section. Despite being totally isolated, and having three riders who would have the advantage of that isolation, Olivia rode a remarkable race. Never shirking a turn, even though by rights, there would be no expectation for her to work in a group populated by no riders other than MBAB ladies.
Olivia, Narelle and Victoria took turns to lead in the second gravel section, Jess enjoying the status of protected rider. Soon after the riders reached the final bitumen section, Jess took the initiative and launched the definitive attack of the race. She never looked back, trusting her team mates to mark time with Olivia. As expected, Narelle and Victoria watched the attack go. Olivia, left no choice and no assistance, had to chase the gap for herself. It was hard to do to such a brave rider, but Narelle and Victoria stuck to their team roles and hawkishly followed Olivia’s wheel all the way to the final corner. Olivia, outnumbered but not giving up, threw down a final acceleration, but Narelle and Victoria were now fresh from the free-ride to the finish, and both launched sprints to the line. The MBAB team secured 1st, 2nd and 3rd, Jess having taken the win, and Victoria and Narelle rounding out the podium.
Super Series Round Five: Copper Coast Cup Criterium
Team roles for the Copper Coast Criterium were again specifically defined. The course presented a small incline after the first corner. Not exactly Willunga Hill, but it was all a team of climber-domestiques could use to string out the sprinters. Victoria and Narelle took turns to drive the pace and stretch the field, while Jess maintained vigilance for any counter attacks. The field did thin slightly, but cracking the top ten was proving difficult. Elouise of Ventou Cycling Team did a beautiful sneaky move off the front, unpursued for a time, until Narelle took her chance. Narelle sailed across the gap to join with Elouise, and with both MBAB and Ventou Cycling eliminated from the chase options, it was SASI alone that took up the chase. But they were too late to respond and too disorganised by the time they tried to shut the breakaway down.
Narelle and Elouise eventually lapped the field as they headed into their bell lap. Narelle took her chance on the small hill and attacked Elouise, who gave one hell of a chase. She was starting to close in on the approach to the final corner, but her front wheel washed out and she hit the deck. Despite losing a heap of skin, Elouise picked herself back up and made it to the finish line to grab second place. The bunch meanwhile was also coming in for the minor placings. Jess and Victoria finished in the top ten, and for the third year in a row, the MBAB team took home the overall win for the weekend.
Division One: MBA Blackchrome
Super Series Round Two
Race Report Courtesy of Cycling South Australia
With a time of 16:05.1, the Mercedes-Benz Blackchrome Team Captain, Victoria Veitch successfully rode her way to the top of the podium. Veitch put her climb success down to her time spent training with teammate, and 3rd place winner, Narelle Hards.
“I think that the Mercedes-Benz Blackchrome team have a good set of climbers, I might be at the older end of the age group but I can still climb.” Said Veitch.
Veitch is not wrong, the Mercedes-Benz Blackchrome Team took the 2016 Series Old Freeway Climb 1-2-3 and Veitch herself named QOM in the 2016 Tour of the Barossa.
Looking towards the 2017 Copper Coast Cup, Veitch says
“I think you’ve got to just keep working up to the front and try to minimize the number of riders sliding around you, the core riders have ridden together for several years, a lot of us train together and we know each other and how we ride, we trust each other to turn up to the game and hopefully get the job done. “
500m Time Trial Australian National Champion, Breanna Hargrave took out second place, earning the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) rider enough points to take the General Classification lead and yellow jersey into Round 3.
Category 1 Elite Women – Top 10
- Victoria VEITCH (Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Blackchrome) 16:05.1
- Breanna HARGRAVE (SASI – Blue) 16:12.3 +7.2
- Narelle HARDS (Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Blackchrome) 16:24.6 +19.5
- Brittany PETERSEN (Butterfields Focus) 16:35.7 +30.6
- Maeve PLOUFFE (SASI – Blue) 16:37.5 +32.4
- Sophie EDWARDS (SASI – Blue) 16:43.9 +38.8
- Jessica MUNDY (Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Blackchrome) 16:47.9 +42.8
- Alison SKINNER (Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Blackchrome) 16:50.6 +45.5
- Gerogia BAKER (SASI – Blue) 16:54.4 +49.3
- Chloe MORAN (SASI – Red) 16:57.3 +52.2
Division Two: Blackchrome Butterfields
Super Series Round Two
Beautiful conditions greeted the Blackchrome Butterfields team for the Super Series hill climb. This round leaves no-where to hide, as riders pit their time trial strength against the old freeway. Young rider and current Sprint Jersey leader Emily Hill put her climbing practise to good use. Emily had been training with Elite climbers Victoria Veitch and Narelle Hards in the lead up to the event. Emily galloped into second place with a time of 17m46s, a tiny 6.5 seconds behind first place Hannah Seeliger of the SASI Development Squad. Tessa Manning also put in a stellar performance to collect points in fifth place with a time of 18m42s. The remaining three riders of the Blackchrome Butterfields team clocked equally impressive times with Holly Chance, Aneeka Smith and Simone Niejalke finishing 14th, 15th and 17th respectively.
Overall standings see Emily sitting in 3rd, with team mate Tessa Manning in 8th, a quality effort to have two ladies sitting in the top ten thus far.
Division Two: Blackchrome Butterfields
Super Series Round One
New Kit Day! The division two Blackchrome Butterfields Team has hit the road in a Blackchrome kit that can only be described as ‘design genius’. The ‘genius’, is none other than Madeleine Steele, who will hopefully trade-in her architecture degree for a permanent job designing cycling gear! This exciting development team brings together new sponsors Butterfields, Focus and Bike Station, all of whom have been enormously supportive of the SA Cycling scene for many years.
The division two team put their Wednesday criterium practice to good use, with young hot-shot sprinter Emily Hill setting her sights on the sprint points. Emily was questioning herself when she saw the first green flag but her legs felt good, so she picked up the pace heading into the back straight, and then opened up her sprint heading past the grandstand to take line honours in the first preme. She tried to repeat the formula for the second preme, but her legs were now feeling the effects of the race and Emily was narrowly beaten into second place.
Photo courtesy of Chameleon
The Blackchrome Butterfields team, comprising Emily Hill, Holly Chance, Simone Niejalke and Tessa Manning, worked well as a team to counter a flurry of attacks from the Port Adelaide teams. Tessa Manning played a superb team role in bringing Emily down the back straight for the finishing sprint, working nearly an entire lap to position the team sprinter. The effort cost her, but she managed to keep working to finish just off the main bunch. Emily was unluckily blocked into the final sprint, still finishing a superb 8th and taking claim of the Sprinter’s Jersey. Holly rounded-out the top ten, with Simone showing excellent promise to finish 12th.
Division One: MBA Blackchrome
Super Series Round One
Round one of the 2017 women’s Super Series kicked off with a 45 minute criterium. The team welcomed back Jess Mundy, the defending series winner for 2016. The race was animated early by some testing surges from team domestique Victoria Veitch. Jess maintained her positioning throughout the race to counter dangerous attacks from a variety of candidates mid-way through the race. At the three-quarter mark of the race, SASI had a workable break with two very strong riders. Ventou Cycling Team took up the initial work, with the ever-strong and consistent Eloise Vaughan. MBA Blackchrome rider Narelle Hards had enough speed to cross the gap, but the breakaway ran out of legs shortly after her arrival. On the next lap, another very probing breakaway with two SASI riders went. Victoria cut across the gap to join, but again the breakaway was short lived with only three riders, and more than enough very strong riders in the field willing to work to bring them back.
The final two laps saw an accelerated pace which inevitably stretched the field. Jess and Victoria both maintained their positions well to finish 5th and 6th respectively, a solid start for a team with only one sprinter.
Italian Training Camp
Representing Australia in their first ever trip overseas together, Tandem Project Athlete Kieran Murphy and pilot Lachlan Glasspool attended a training camp in Italy to prepare for a tough couple of months of domestic and international competition. Don’t be fooled by the photos, the constant sunshine and Italian coffee was hard work for these athletes, but apparently the Italian gelato compensated them for their hardships.
Australian Paracycling Road Championships
The training camp in Italy was to prepare Kieran and Lachlan to contest the Australian National Paracycling Road Championships. They were able to turn around their track form and prepare for road endurance in eight weeks. They started by taking the gold medal for the Time Trial in emphatic style, clocking an average speed of 49.5km per hour. For those people who don’t know much about bike riding, that is epic power! The Tandem Project has been hunting for a National Gold medal in the road race since our last win with Kieran Modra in 2014. We’ve grabbed silver for the last two years, but this year, Kieran and Lachlan went one better, taking the gold medal with a crushing breakaway.
UCI World Road Championships
Report by Kieran Murphy
20 tandems lined up on the start line in thunderstorms and the race was on from the start. As soon as the 300m neutral zone was over the speed instantly went beyond 50kmph. The rain was so hard we thought about letting the stokers pilot as they had more experience in seeing when conditions aren’t that great. The road spray was chest high and roads slippery. The bunch was starting to splinter early, spitting anyone who couldn’t ride at 60kmph out the back. And the end of the first lap (there were 15,) there was a crash when 2 bikes came down at a corner shortly after the start/finish line. A group of riders made a split and we were in a pretty good position, working hard in a group that included the current World Champions, and the super-strong tandem from Rio. Shortly into the 5th lap (still raining) we threw our transfer chain and had to stop to put it back on. This would cost us more than a minute and a place in the front group. We worked with the Irish pair to bridge the gap which we had down to 30 seconds, however the lead group would prove too strong and we rode on to finish 12th. A massive experience and great learning opportunity for us. Now on a plane to Belgium for round 2 on Friday
It was contrasting conditions to last week’s race with blue skies and warm conditions for our race in Belgium. The start was about 100m from the technical part of the course which included a series of corners that would eventually lead to a long stretch of road with a u-bolt to come back around and complete the lap. By the end of the first few corners a break had formed when 3 bikes were allowed off the front…never to be seen again. We found ourselves at the back of the bunch and moved up the field to try and bridge the 30 second gap. A fourth tandem had gone up the road and after the initial 50-55kph lap the bunch didn’t want to work to reel in the break. By about lap 4 all our attacks and attempts to bridge had been marked with the bunch coming back to us and nobody pulling through for any turns. It was an eventual Polish and Irish team that would work with us and we made a break from the main field. We held off the bunch and it was a sprint to the line for 4th-6th with the Polish just getting us on the line. Absolutely shattered after the 104km race but thrilled with a 6th place and looking forward to South Africa.
Tour of Murray Bridge
Stage One TT
After subjecting team rider Jessie Hodges to miserable conditions at the Mt Baw Baw Classic, the MBAB team redeemed itself by hosting the New Zealand rider for the Skinny Lattes Tour of Murray Bridge. Held in picture perfect sunshine, and with not a hill in sight, the tour was a stunning contrast to the snow and 4500m of climbing encountered at Baw Baw.
The Stage One TT was a short and sharp affair, at just over 10km. There was no significant wind, but the course comprised of dead roads and a deceptively steady climb on the way out to the turn around. Bree powered her way into first place, with Victoria chugging into second, while Alison and Jessie did well to clock fast times on road bikes.
Stage Two Criterium
The criterium circuit at Murray Bridge provides a safe closed circuit and the opportunity for all the grades to watch and support each other. New rider Emily was riding in B Grade and rode very impressively to clinch second place in her first ever criterium, demonstrating great handling skills for this exciting new rider. The Elite women had a slightly passive affair. Victoria tried to defy her rubbish legs to do most of the attacking in the first half on the race. Alison and Jessie also put in strong turns on the front. Disaster struck with a rear flat for Victoria. The slightly unorthodox solution was to grab her TT bike off the roof of the car as no spare wheel was available. Sensibly, Victoria made no further aggressive moves, nor did she adopt a TT position, lest she expose the bunch to a rider in an unstable position. Bree made the smart move in the last lap to spring an attack in the last half-lap. Jessie was bounced out of contention by errant cornering from the bunch into the final approach to the finish line, ending up on the grass. Victoria wound up her TT bike (as much as a TT bike can be ‘wound up’ for a sprint), and surprisingly clinched third. Bree took a clear overall lead into the final race.
Stage Three Road Race
The start list for the road race was disappointingly small, with only six riders lining up. Not wanting to subject herself to complete boredom, Victoria took it upon herself to drop at least one rider, with testing attacks aimed at the slightest incline. Alison joined in the fun with a long and searching surge that put most of the riders at their limits. Victoria counterattacked very shortly thereafter, and unfortunately for Chelsea Parbs, the link in the chain broke and she spent the rest of the race chasing. To her credit, Chelsea sustained her solo pursuit to finish no more than a few minutes down on the five girls now working in unison to get to the finish line. The final few kilometres saw the beginning of the cat-and-mouse game for the sprinters. Just as she had done in the criterium, Bree launched a stinging attack to the finish line, easily gapping the climbers. This time however, she had Jessie to contend with, a rider vying for selection to the NZ National Sprint Team. Jessie powered up to and then past Bree, taking the win by a bike length. Second place did not tarnish Bree’s masterful winning of the series, with Victoria consistent enough to take third place in the road race, and second overall.
NRS Tour of South West
Well, we came to the Tour of South West as prepared as we could be. A strong line-up of ladies, team mechanic Tony Kemp, Victoria as DS/masseuse/odd body, and even a team mascot in Bella the miniature schnauzer! Unfortunately, someone again forgot to put in the request for good weather with the powers that be, and Australia’s strongest NRS teams were in a particularly frisky mood.
Stage One Time Trial
A pleasantly unremarkable stage. Only some last-minute bike alterations for Tony 30 seconds before a scheduled start for one of the ladies, but otherwise no dramas. Brittany Steele was the fastest of the ladies in her Darth Vader skin suit – she rode along making the appropriate sound effects. The ladies were reasonably lucky weather-wise. As the competitors continued to leave the start gate, the skies and the wind began an ominous build up. By the end of the NRS ladies, riders with disc wheels were being buffeted by the growing gale. Tony set to work readying the bikes for stage two just as the weather turned truly miserable. Victoria, and team mascot Bella, both dressed in wool lined clothing were both generally unperturbed.
Stage Two Road Race
This stage had many of the NRS ladies expressing general discontent at the race distance for the women. It was a paltry 51km compared to the men, who were not racing an NRS round but had been granted 85km. Considering the abysmal conditions, our team were mightily relieved to pack things in after three laps. Tony, Victoria and Bella were all warmly stowed into the team car. On the start line, the temperature continued to plummet and the clouds were increasingly black. The race began, and the pace was absolutely fierce from the gun. From the team vehicle, Victoria and crew could see the entire field lined out and under pressure heading into the first turn. Within the first three km, the convoy started to slow up. The Chief Commissaire car was pulling over into a ditch. The convoy vehicles all passed safely, but Tony and Victoria could see the Chief Commissaire hurry out of his vehicle and approach the ditch. A few things went through the mind – emergency toilet stop? A piece of equipment coming loose from a vehicle? Tony and Victoria joked with each other – had a rider ended up in a ditch so early in the race?
A few kilometres later, and the pace hadn’t yet eased, but then the hail hit. The rain and hail was so thick and furious, that it was difficult for the convoy to travel safely with visibility no longer extending beyond the bumper in front. As quickly as it had hit, the rain stopped. The convoy was following the peloton down a small hill, so Victoria saw the moment the crash rippled across the women’s field. Like a stone dropped onto a pond, the result was an almost seamless dispersing of riders to either edge of the road. The road being so narrow, and the edge of the road now lined with deeply rutted mud, there was always going to be riders who failed to find a safe path around the fallen rider. Unfortunately, Brittany was one of those riders. Absolutely covered in mud and blood, Victoria and Tony scooped her off the road and loaded her into the first ambulance to arrive. Natascha had been stuck behind the crash and was hurrying through to begin her chase.
Out of no-where, Chloe arrived……….from behind us!? Almost in unison, Victoria and Tony queried “where the hell did you come from?” Turns out, that rider in the ditch……yep! That was Chloe – cut off by a reckless move from another rider and left with no recourse but to veer onto the verge. The verge however, was a clever mask for a two-foot ditch beside the road. Chloe spent the best part of five minutes stuck underneath her bike, wedged between the ditch and a paddock fence. Chloe was increasingly sore throughout her pelvis, so she too was offloaded from her bike and delivered to the same ambulance that had Brittany. Ironically the ambulance was a Mercedes so the girls felt right at home!
Tony and Victoria re-entered the convoy for the third lap. Bree was off the back but chasing valiantly. She initially had a few riders with her, but they weren’t going fast enough so Bree continued her chase by herself. Margeaux was also in strife. She was twenty metres off the back and chasing into a brutal headwind. Victoria and Tony stayed with her as she relentlessly pursued the field. Margeaux also collected a few riders, but they weren’t able to pull many turns. It was Margeaux who resiliently closed the gap and re-joined the bunch. Heartbreakingly, the field was entering the final few kilometres and the speed was increased just as Margeaux had finally made it to the back of the field. Now totally exhausted, she lost contact again, but continued to work to the finish line to stay within sight of the peloton. In fact, all three of the remaining ladies didn’t give up. Working by themselves and fighting the wind, none of them pulled back on their work efforts until the race was over. It’s the type of fighting spirit that we love in this team.
Stage Three Criterium
The stage three criterium was another fast and furious day. The circuit was extremely narrow, and the conditions windy again. The conditions meant that aggressive cornering and positioning would see early splits in the field. The race was a carbon copy of the day before, with the pace on immediately and the field strung out into the first corners. A group of two riders went off the front immediately. They were brought back within a few laps, only for another breakaway to be launched. The constant breakaway attempt disintegrated the field. Small bunches of riders were strewn around the entire course. One-by-one the groups were red-flagged and pulled from the course. Bree was in her element, with criteriums being her preferred format. Natascha was pulled first. A third of the field was off the course in the first 20 minutes. Margeaux was working well, but then got caught behind riders who had dropped the wheels in front. Now in a working group of five riders, Margeaux continued for another 15 minutes before also being pulled. Bree had maintained her position in the third chase group to finish in the top 30, an impressive ride in an aggressive and talented field.