Weekend News Shorts

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So much happened in cycling over the weekend that I can’t keep my mind focused on writing a single piece this morning. I usually post the News Shorts on Wednesday but I just can’t wait. Here’s the lowdown on some exciting things that happened in cycling over the past few days…

Damien Howson breaks Jack Bobridge’s record up Norton Summit

As part of the Rendition Homes Cycling Series (Round 12) there was an ITT held up the famous Norton’s Summit yesterday. Damien Howson recorded a time of 11mins 29secs up the 4.9%, 5.6km climb. That’s an average of 29km/h and 21 seconds faster than Bobridge’s time set in 2007. You can see the leaderboard on Cycle2Max.

As Gary Simpson wrote on Cycling SA’s website:

11:29.42! That time is the new record that crowned Damien Howson (Lightsview) as the new King of Norton Summit after today’s penultimate Round of the 2011/2012 Rendition Homes Cycling Series. For five years the record has stood at 11:50.0 by cycling superstar Jack Bobridge, but Howson brought his A-game with him today and now has the bragging rights.Hundreds of people lined the route up the summit to watch the race, including local residents in deck chairs beneath the big gum trees on their properties and most notably, a huge turn out of Adelaide ‘weekend warrior’ cyclists. Under clear skies and bright sunshine, competitors had perfect racing conditions.

With a couple of late withdrawals due to illness, 61 of Adelaide’s elite level competitors from 11 teams departed the start at 1-minute intervals from 10:16am sharp. Racing in almost reverse order of the current general classification rankings in the series, the yellow jersey leader of Brett Aitken (JT Cycles) had the honour of being last man away. In front of Aitken at 1-minute gaps were his challengers for the yellow jersey, with the notable exception of Russell Gill (Scouts SA-Super Elliott’s) who was interstate today and could not race.

Howson was our tip to win in our preview of the race, but the rumour-mill had suggested earlier in the week that Tristan Jones (Scouts SA-Super Elliott’s) had come within a handful of seconds of Bobridge’s record time on a training run up the Summit. We decided to put our spies at key points along the route to get some time comparisons of Howson versus Jones, but this threw up some other names of riders who were serious threats for the win.

Ben Hogarth (Giant Cycling World Adelaide) didn’t know it at the time but he was the race leader with a 12:27.4 when Howson departed the start gate at 11:08am. With our eyes on Howson he very quickly got into a rhythm and rarely changed gears unless he was hitting the steep pitches of the climb. Howson was in control of himself and his bike and looked fast. Our spy at the half-way mark noticed another rider’s time that jumped out at him. Karl Evans (Bicycle Express-Dual Recruitment) had gone through the half-way mark 4 seconds faster than Howson. Game on. When Jones came through the check-point he was 30 seconds in arrears of Evans.

Howson was brilliant on the upper slopes of Norton Summit and with 1500m to go he upped the pace. With 1000m to go Howson had moved well in front of Evans and Hogarth. With 500m to go a combination of a trusty calculator and speed/distance/time science was telling us that Jack’s record is about to be blown away and we were tipping an 11:35 to 11:40 if he could maintain his pace. Howson went faster and the Commissaires checked him in at 11:29.42 Howson knew he had done something special and thought he was around 11:30.0 (good guess Damo!). Hail the King of Norton Summit.

1 Howson 11:29.42
2 Evans 12:03.43
3 Hogarth 12:27.40
4 Tansley 12:30.92
5 Bayly 12:37.93

See the photos here and here.

Richie Porte Wins the Tour of Algarve

Freezing temperatures cover much of Europe but the Spring Classics are just around the corner and the pro teams have begun testing their form after a solid winter of training. Some teams choose Qatar and Oman to do this, but many of the GC specialists choose a small race in a sunny place called Algarve in Portugal on the western tip of Europe where Spring has already begun.

Richie Porte took the win on stage 3 which poised him nicely for the overall victory. Stage 4 was ended up in a bunch kick where no time was lost and Stage 5 was a ITT which suited Richie perfectly. Richie finished 3rd, just behind Bradly Wiggins and Tony Martin which was enough to secure his overall lead of 37 seconds.

2012 Tour of Algarve full results here

Norris holds off Jongewaard for Kona Odyssey marathon win, Peta Mullens takes back-to-back women’s title

I was gutted to have to miss the Otway Odyssey this year but it sounded like another successful edition. From press release:

Giant team rider Lachlan Norris defied pundits’ predictions to win the Kona Odyssey Mountain Bike Marathon today, maintaining an unassailable lead after passing race favourite, Team Milka/Superior’s Chris Jongewaard, following the 25km mark.

Norris, a rider who tackles both mountain and road disciplines at the elite level , took advantage of Jongewaard suffering a flat tyre early on, flashing past as last year’s champion remounted to engage the chase.

It was a pursuit dogged by mishap for Jongewaard, who arrived over the line one minute and forty seconds behind Norris sporting a face battered and bloodied by several whip attacks by wayward foliage.

Lachlan Norris takes the win in the men's 100km of the Kona Odyssey (Images: Jon Barter, Rapid Ascent)

Mullens’ efforts in the heat today showed her as a deserving back to back winner, however, passing Adventure Racing World Champion, Frenchwoman Myriam Guillot, who led until approximately the 50km mark. Mullens then held off a late sustained challenge from Giant rider and Forrest local, Jess Douglas, who slipped into second place after the 87km split.

“I wanted to come here this year and prove I was good enough to win on my own merits,” said Mullens, who was worried about a lack of endurance conditioning prior to the race. “It was still tough out there – my glutes were cramping so much in the last five kilometres that I couldn’t sit in the saddle!”

Mullens and Douglas worked together for the first half of the race to get over the range before the gloves came off. “I was with Jess for the first fifty kays – she was pretty much babysitting me because because I had not done an endurance ride for a little while so I was a bit nervous. Then I saw an opportunity at the fifty, but afterwards worried that I’d gone too early. So yes, I’m stoked with my win.”

Peta Mullens wins the women's 100km event (Images: Jon Barter, Rapid Ascent)

Men’s 100km Kona Odyssey
1. Lachlan Norris 4:32:52
2. Chris Jongewaard 04:35:11
3. Adrian Jackson 04:42:27

Women’s 100km Kona Odyssey
1. Peta Mullins 05:50:42
2. Jessica Douglas 05:51:58
3. Myriam Guillot 05:54:13

Men’s 50km Kona Shorty
1. Jack Haig 2:16:16
2. Robbie Hucker 2:16:16 (+0.07)
3. Alex Randall 2:17:32

Women’s 50km Kona Shorty
1. Terri Rhodes 2:41:53
2. Jo Williams 2:46:59
3. Josie Simpson 2:51:10

UCI Track World Cup – London

Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alex Edmondson and Michael Hepburn set the second fastest team pursuit in history with a time of 3:54.615sec against Britain (3:56.330) at the UCI Track World Cup in London last night. Britain set the world record of 3:53.314 to win gold at Beijing 2008. You can read more about it on Cycling Central.