A healthy turnout at the final round of the CIC Cervelo Super Series saw a classy podium fill out the top three positions, with US-bound Scott Sunderland (ISC-Godfrey Pembroke/Illuminate) sprinting to a clear win over Alex Edmondson (CIC Cervelo/Orica-Greenedge), with Ben Hill (Swiss Wellness/Attaque Team Gusto) finishing third despite being in the break for most of the stage. With the final round run and done, veteran Russel Van Hout (Team Lightsview) retained his lead over Tom Kaesler (SASI) in the overall standings to take out the Super Series title.
It was a high-profile field that took to the start line of the criterium around the 1.2 kilometre Victoria Park circuit, with plenty of stars of the NRS present, even stars of the ProConti and World Tour circuit, with Sunderland and Edmondson set to be racing on that stage this year. Indeed, it was one of those high-profile names in Glenn O?Shea (CIC Cervelo/One Pro Cycling) that initiated the main break of the day, with the multi-discipline star racing for a ProConti team on the road this year, and likely to be named in the Australian track squad for Rio. The move with Shaun O?Callaghan (Van Dam Racing p/b Butterfields) and Leo Simmonds (Giant) was short-lived however.
A counterattack from the peloton then established the main move of the race, with another track star, Dan Fitter (CIC Cervelo/State of Matter MAAP) being joined by local star Rhys Gillet (Van Dam Racing p/b Butterfields) and Nick Wood (ISC Godfrey Pembroke). The trio established an advantage of 15 seconds, and were then bridged over to by a move of three other riders, Ben Hill, Glenn O?Shea and Matthew Gassner (Team Lightsview). The front group of six cooperated well, stretching their gap over the main field to a potential race winning advantage of 26 seconds at maximum, with SASI on the front trying to bring the move back for their main man Tom Kaesler.
The coordination started to fall apart in the break a bit after Hill attacked after taking a win at the second sprint point of the night, with his shortlived attack seeming to disrupt the break?s rhythm and commitment. The SASI squad gradually began to claw back the gap from there and when the commissaries signalled the final two laps, the break was almost within touching distance for the charging peloton. The catch was made with just under a kilometre to go, but with the sprint trains positioning to launch their sprinters, Ben Hill found the energy to launch a preemptive move with about 500 metres remaining, coming round the final corner in first position before being swamped by the fast-finishing Scott Sunderland and the only slightly less so Alex Edmondson. The victorious Sunderland spoke to Peloton Caf? after the race.
?Tonight the team rode awesome for me, we had one guy in the break which was good, and then still had guys left for the leadout in the finish. I was really confident in my sprint, I?ve sprinting really well all year and hitting good numbers in training. Unfortunately, through that corner I got a little divebombed, and the guy in front hit his pedal as well, so I knew from where I was I would have to go long. With my training and kilo background I had the confidence that I could do that and thankfully I got over for the win. (On beating Edmondson) Obviously he?s off to Greenedge this year, he?s a phenomenal athlete, and it?s great to know that you are racing against the best, even in a local crit.?
Ben Hill was the main animator of the race and also spoke to Peloton Caf? after his frantic attack at the finish. ?We were trying to get some points for the team series, so I thought that it wasn?t necessarily the best thing that the move stuck. I had one attack and it didn?t work, so coming into the final I decided to save some energy. That was so I could try to attack late and fend off the bunch, then my teammates could scramble some minor places and we would miraculously win the team?s classification. I couldn?t go too early because I would drag everyone, and in the end I went too late and got caught, it?s just a timing thing.?
Russel Van Hout won the CIC Cervelo Super Series overall with his finish just behind the front three on the stage, with Tom Kaesler unlucky in 2nd in the Series with a broken collarbone that took him out of a round, probably costing him the win.
In the women, the series had finished a few days before, and the standalone event contested by a small field was won by Maeve Moroney-Plouffe (SASI) in a sprint finish. The Masters were on the final stage of their series like the elite men, with Jason Tattersall taking out both the final round win and the series overall in a bunch dash.
Check out Fishy?s podcast Brakedownpodcast for more great interviews, race previews and reports.