‘Cross is here: An Australian start to the season of mud and cowbells

by Simone Giuliani


It may be just about as far away from the spiritual home of cyclocross in mainland Europe that you can get, but Australia leapt into the realms of international cyclocross racing on the weekend with no shortage of enthusiasm. They brought the noisy crowds, cow bells, beer, frites and even a bit of mud and hail to add to the atmosphere of the first international race the nation has ever held.

The Airport Toyota Melbourne Grand Prix of Cyclocross was a weekend of firsts for more than Australia as well. The first two days of UCI C2 racing in Australia, ever, may have been closing down the local season for the Southern Hemisphere nation’s in style, but they were also ringing in the start of the 2017/18 global season.

Riders from six nations lined up at the Essendon Fields race course, a permanent venue utilising suburban Melbourne land next to an airfield, in dry conditions on Saturday. Then overnight rain and even hail on the support races completely changed conditions. The course, which was being run in the reverse direction on Sunday, now had slippery mud and for the second day of racing played to the strengths of a whole different type of rider.

The fiercest competition for the local riders was in the women’s field, with three of the international riders considered an extremely strong chance for the win. There was less depth in the men’s international top-end, but there was one standout. Anthony Clark (Squid) from the United States was certainly determined to go out and do his best to throw a wild card into the home nation’s stacked deck.

Saturday: A day for the Aussies

Women’s Elite

Men’s Elite

 

 

Kids Racing

We couldn’t resist also including a couple of pictures from the kids race, not classified C2 but treated with just as much respect by the organisers with timing chips, medals and some pretty funky socks as prizes.

Sunday: Hail, wind and the all important mud

Women’s Elite

Men’s Elite

But then this happened.

 

@jbloodadventures goes down on corner one of the bell lap!! @garrymillburn off in front now. #melgpcx #fojcx

A post shared by Fields of Joy CX (@fojcx) on

To find out what happened in the rest of the field and in the rest of the races you can see all the results here. For more information on the race see the Melbourne Grand Prix of Cyclocross website.

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