Venue: Hunter Economic Zone, Kurri Kurri
DIV 1 RACE REPORT – by Jordan Ross
Round 1 of the Cervelo Super Series marked the return of our track stars and of course defending Champ/NSW Roadman of the Year Ben Neppl.
We were greeted with some fantastic racing conditions – dry, glorious sunshine and a bit of wind to expose the uncommitted. The entry list was already in excess of last years numbers plus some notable last minute roll-ups added several of the best masters riders in NSW. It was clear Dhuez would need to ride both smart and strong if they were to occupy the podium and take control of the series in 2019.
The race began with numerous attacks in the first half lap which Dhuez either instigated or were required to shut down. It was a high speed lap of nearly 46km/h and across the line it was Dhuez’s own Mick Curran delivering the first result of the day in a two-up sprint for the prime before re-joining the peloton for a well-earned rest. Moving into lap 2 and 3, it was the clear that the peloton had identified where the danger would come from and would react to any early moves involving the said key men. Eventually, this would take its toll and some big splits started to appear at the mid-way point of the race. It’s fair to say that a number of these had merit and in a field of lesser capability would have succeeded but generally one of the main men would miss the move and spark a frantic chase ultimately bringing the race back together.
With two laps remaining, a punt off the front started by Christian Godyn roused interest from 4 others with Peter Wakefield and Glenn Matiske closely followed by the Dhuez duo of Nate Bonarius and Jono Millington. This would be the decisive breakaway and they quickly established a gap of 25 seconds over the chasing peloton. With the break now set, Christian’s job was done and he returned to the bunch.
In the final 2 laps the boys marked every attempt to cross the gap ensuring that nobody would bridge unfollowed and the composite remained 50% tricolour. This deterred the chasers from about 5km out from the finish and the peloton began to lose interest and think about the bunch kick.
Back in the break, it was deemed Jono would have the best legs and chance of the win and Nate instead would feast on what is a very expensive Enve carbon stem aboard his Cervelo. Nate did a remarkable job of staying away from a fast closing peloton for fourth whilst willing Jono up the hill. It seemed to work and Jono had the legs on both Matiske and Wakefield to take an emphatic victory for the team crossing the line with his hands in the air – like a boss.
About 30 seconds later came a fierce bunch kick up the hill. Having been in virtually every move of the race and often the person to weld the race back together, Ben Neppl selflessly put his hand up for the team and led out the sprint. Noting he was the defending champion, wearing yellow and with every right to go for series points himself, that’s not what he did. Hitting the front almost 2km from the finish and drilling it fast enough that there were no counters, strong position for the Dhuez sprinters was secured and Jordan Ross narrowly edged Luke Cridland for 5th with Mick Curran grabbing 8th to go with his prime.
Dhuez Racing now heads to Calga with 4 riders in the top 10 and of course the all-important yellow jersey on Jono’s back. #StrongerAsOne
DIV 2 RACE REPORT – by Jamie McHugh
In Division 2, Brendan Buhagiar and Jamie McHugh would represent Dhuez and aimed to get an early break to form that would allow Brendan to race against a select few riders and hopefully leave behind some of the stronger sprinters.
As the first lap prime approached, a long range attack for the prize by Matt Walker created an opportunity and as he crossed the line to claim the sprint prize, Brendan peeled off his wheel and made a continued attack up the HEZ hill with an aim to thin the field. The field wasn’t ready for the pace to be maintained and suddenly a large gap formed with a break of 8 strong riders pushing further away from the peloton throughout the 2nd lap.
With Jamie’s job of getting Brendan into a successful breakaway now done, his day was spent controlling what was left of the bunch and covering any attacks that looked as though they may bring the field back together. After several failed attacks and with frustration of people not doing turns beginning to build, the speed in the bunch soon faltered and they conceded the race to the breakaway. The winner would be one of the front eight riders.
In the lead group, Brendan continued to race strongly and pushed the pace but was unable to split the field any further. As they entered the final kilometres, Brendan maintained a good position and latched onto the wheel of MCC’s Ben Exley as the final uphill sprint beckoned. But as the pace quickened and the throttle was lowered a sudden explosion of cramp ended the Dhuez rider’s race in 2-3 pedal strokes (so much frustration!!!!). Eventual winner Kevin Berkeley (Parramatta CC) then emerged from Brendan’s wheel and powered home to an impressive victory.
Congratulations to all on an excellent and spirited race!
CERVELO MASTERS 2019 – ROUND 1 – RESULTS
Best placed female – Melanie Breaden