Tour of South West VRS Race Report
The weekend got off to the best start possible as we arrived Friday night to our luxury accommodation provided by Quest Apartments Warrnambool. How lucky are we to have such wonderful hosts. The apartments are located in a nice quiet location at the bottom of the main street so everything was only a five minute walk away. The three bedrooms and open plan living was perfect for the whole team and support staff. We couldn't recommend a better place to stay in Warrnambool! The mood of the team was relaxed but eager for the early start the next morning, which was overcast and windy, the conditions we love to race in and what we expect when we come to Warrnambool. The first stage was a 12km individual time trial on a rolling course. Jason Lea and Sam Fuhrmeister both finished in the top 30 with Jason best placed in a group of big hitters around 20th place. The wind picked up for the second stage in the afternoon, an 85km road race. Five laps of a 17km circuit with little protection from trees meant a lot of ‘gutter action’. The race got underway quickly and after the neutral section the hammer was down. Mitchell Dedman was at the front of the race, and after a few attacks off the front, nothing was sticking. Unfortunately our new recruit Aidan Bowe got caught up in a touch of wheels in the cross wind and ended up on the ground, luckily no damage to body or bike but out of the main race. With the first lap completed and a break consisting of Sam Crome (CMR), Darcy Woolley (AWS), James Mowatt (DSR) and one other took advantage of a wind change and quickly established a sizeable lead through the second lap. The break was pulled back on the final lap as the pace picked up for the finish. The final sprint was contested by a bunch which had splintered down to 29. Jason finished 15th, which moved him into 12th overall. The final stage on Sunday afternoon was a tough 60 minute criterium around Warrnambool Cemetery. The raced started as most crits do, full gas right from the gun. Attacks went and failed early, but after 10 minutes a group of 6 got off the front. Mitchell Dedman made a brave effort to jump across a 20 second gap to the break but missed out by a few seconds before running out of gas. The break managed to stick for the rest of the race with the bunch not having enough horsepower to pull it back. Jason conceded one place overall to finish in 13th place. Congratulations to general classification podium, 1st Raph Freienstein (Charter Mason), 2nd Matthew Clark (Avanti) and 3rd Callum Scotson (SASI). The weekend was a fantastic experience with all riders reporting their best performance so far this year. Great accommodation at Quest Apartments, tune-ups by PhysioHealth, Swift Carbon bikes and our new Black Inc wheels all-contributing to the improved performances. We now look forward to next weeks race at Phillip Island the Country and Metropolitan Championships the following weekend and then our first National Road Series tour at Toowoomba the week after that – a big month ahead.