The Cycling Raven is on break

Hey everyone!

Sorry that you haven’t heard from me for a while, but I’ve been busy working 2 jobs, trying to go pro in Esports (my second hobby) and university. I’ve had to come to the tough decision to put The Cycling Raven on the back-burner. There hasn’t been a lot of content for a while, and while I’m still as passionate about cycling as ever, there are more pressing things I need to do in my life. I’m going down the path of journalism at university, so while I will probably come back to this sometime down the line, I can’t say for sure.

Thanks for all your support over the last 18 months, I’ve absolutely loved every second of this blog, and I hope to return to the cycling sphere soon!

-Andrew

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The Continental Revolution

With the Herald Sun Tour drawing to a close, the world got to witness some of Australia’s most talented youngsters punch it out with the World Tour heavyweights. It’s common to see a small selection of riders riding for the national team in the Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Herald Sun Tour. These national teams have been crucial to the breakout of some riders like Jai Hindley, Lucas Hamilton and Michael Storer in recent years. However, this year has been historic in seeing not two, but nine Australian based teams line up for the Herald Sun Tour – the first time in its short UCI history.

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Hamilton (front) and Hindley (behind) finished 2nd and 3rd at the Baby Giro last year, one of the most prestigious U23 races. They both are riding in the World Tour this year, for Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sunweb respectively. Source: Twitter (@giroditaliau23).

Australian cycling is witnessing a continental revolution. The continential circuit was introduced in 2005 in sweeping reforms across the UCI. This reform introduced the Pro Tour (now the World Tour), and 5 continental series’ around the world where PRO teams could compete against local teams. These local teams also were required to hold a continental racing license to ride events up to Hors Categorie, and a pro continental racing license to ride Pro Tour events (on invite). Without a license, teams couldn’t compete in races unless individual riders make up a national team. Since the introduction of the Continental Circuit in 2005, no more than 7 Australian teams (in 2015 there were 6 CTs and 1 PCTs) have held a Continental or Pro Continental License in the same year. 2017 saw one of the lowest number of licenses given to Australian teams, with only 4 teams receiving one.

With dozens of local teams riding ProAm in the National Road Series, having only 4 teams able to race UCI events limited the opportunities to showcase talent. Furthermore, some CT level teams like NSWIS couldn’t secure funding to race overseas often, restricting the growth of Australian cycling even further. Australia in the past has gotten around this – with the World Tour Academy taking the best NRS talent over to Europe, and national teams participating in the Tour Down Under, CEGORR and Herald Sun Tour. However, it would only showcase a select few riders, usually from the Avanti/Isowhey/Bennelong super team. With a lack of racing in the higher echelons of the sport, Australian talent often fell to the wayside unless they had extreme standout performances. It was a tier of the sport completely underutilised in growing talent and making the jump from ProAm to PCT/WT less harsh on riders.

2018 saw 8 Australian teams apply, and receive, Continental Racing Licenses. Australia’s best local team (aside from Mitchelton-Scott) Bennelong – Swiss Wellness renewed their license, giving them the opportunity to make their mark on the Asia Circuit with a stronger-than-ever team in 2018. The feeder team to EF-Drapac, Drapac-EF Cycling (confusing, I know) received one – allowing riders like Cyrus Monk to gain experience outside of the Australian cycling scene. Oliver’s Real Food, after a breakout year in 2017 with rider Brendon Davids (now at Bennelong), were granted a license for this year. St. George retained the services of Ben Dyball after he went to Delko Marseille as a stagiaire, which would have helped in discussions to retain their license. Mobius-BridgeLane took the step up from NRS after a decent season to secure a license.

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Cyrus Monk has already won one race in 2018 – the U23 National Road Race. He was also a stagiaire for Cannondale in 2017, and one of the best Australian talents right now. Source: Con Chronis.

It wasn’t just pre-existing teams who got licenses though, 3 newly formed (or heavily rebranded) teams received licenses in 2018. Australian Cycling Academy, a project started by Matt Wilson (Mitchelton DS) and Ben Kersten (Commonwealth Gold Medallist) out of Noosa, Queensland, received a license. ACA combined with the University of Sunshine Coast to provide young riders a pathway into their future on the bike on top of study. Brisbane Contintenal Cycling Team was born out of the dead Budget Forklifts team and headed by ex-rider Josh Prete, with the aim of providing racing opportunities to Queenslanders since the team folded in 2015. Team McDonalds Down Under rounds out the 8 teams, led by New Zealand veteran Alexander Ray.

Individually, there are some very strong riders who wouldn’t have been able to race overseas without their teams going continental. ACA has recruited former World Tour pro Leigh Howard to help lead some great talent like pursuit gold medalist Sam Welsford and Daniel Fitter, who spent time in Europe last year with NSWIS. The Bennelong roster is jam packed with talent, with South African Brendon Davids being a standout for another breakout year in 2018. They also have Ayden Toovey, who spent the latter half of last year as a stagiaire at Trek. Drapac-EF have Theo Yates (who I can’t believe is only 22) who took out his first two pro wins last year over in Asia, Cyrus Monk who is currently the U23 National Champion and Liam Magennis who rode over in America in 2017 with the NSWIS team. Peter Livingstone of Mobius took out a great victory at the Tour of Tasmania last year, while 21 year old Kiwi Nicholas Reddish took out a stage win at NZCC for Oliver’s Real Food this year. These are only just a handful of talented riders who have been given the chance to go international with their racing and get their name out there. They are also getting much needed experience at a higher tier of racing if they want to extend their career.

The impact of these licenses has already been seen in the Herald Sun Tour. 7 continental teams, Mitchelton-Scott and a National team all lined up in Melbourne for the 4 day stage race. The only registered team who missed out was St. George. Sam Crome got a stage win on the final day, while Alex Evans of Mobius came 2nd on the 218km Queen stage, 42″ behind Colombian climber Esteban Chaves. Bennelong team mates Dylan Sunderland, Chris Harper and Sam Crome all finished in the top 10, while Freddy Ovett of ACA snuck in after finishing in the top 10 of stages 3 and 4.

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Sam Crome took out Stage 4 of the Herald Sun Tour riding with the Bennelong team, one of eight Australian CTs in 2018. Source: Con Chronis.

From here, with the shake-up of the NRS in 2018, races like Tour de Taiwan, Tour de Langkawi and Tour of Thaliand become possible next steps for Australian CTs before the start of the one-day season in mid-April after the Commonwealth Games. Over the winter months, the Tour de Korea and Tour of Qinghai Lake become major races before the tour season starts in August. These are only Asia Tour events – there are many more races on the Europe, America and Africa Tour which these teams can race in. If funding permits, teams like Oliver’s, Bennelong and Drapac will be able to attend these races while keeping up with the Australian scene.

While I usually love having a dig at Cycling Australia, their NRS reform for 2018 seems completely logical for growing road cycling in Australia. Sure, Simon Jones, the High Performance Director at CA, might only have sights on gold and not the 3.5 years between Olympics, but this step shows that CA might actually care about road cycling. In brief, the changes are splitting the calendar into 3 seasons. Starting in mid-April, there will be a 6 week one-day race series. From August to November, there will be stage races where the majority of points will be on offer; and to wind down the season over summer, there will be a series of criteriums around Australia. These changes mean that teams will be able to prepare for a series of races, and work their local schedules around bigger continental circuit races. Having time off at crucial times in the road cycling season (June-July-August for prime-time northern hemisphere racing, November for end of season racing) means teams can compete overseas, get themselves recognised, and have minimal impact on their racing at home.

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Isowhey (now Bennelong) have been the super team in local Australian cycling for some time, but hopefully in 2018 they can make a bigger impact on the world stage with some favourable changes to the NRS roster. Source: BikeChaser.

In saying that, dismantling the Women’s road program wasn’t the way to go. Australia is considered a top 3 nation in road cycling, and finished 4th on the nation ranking after last years WWT. Garfoot got silver and bronze at the Worlds Road Race and Time Trial respectively in Bergen, and looking towards Innsbruck, climbers like Amanda Spratt and Lucy Kennedy have a fair chance of taking the crown (although, Australia would still be considered outsiders to the likes of Van Vleuten). That’s enough ranting about women’s cycling for this post, but the changes to the NRS calendar are a positive step for more competitive men’s racing in Australia, giving Australia a chance to develop talent globally.

If teams can juggle both the continental circuit and the NRS, the rewards will be incredible for Australian cycling. Rider development will grow as the local scene becomes more competitive, allowing for a higher level of riding. Talent will flourish internationally, getting Australia recognised as one of the great cycling nations again. With great results, funding towards road cycling will increase, snowballing the improvement further and further. While Australia might not be of the caliber of cycling nations like the Netherlands or Belgium now, good junior development and a strong structure in place to assist this will go a long way.

The continental revolution provides another tier of the sport which was once more closed off to Australian riders. They have the riders, they have the program in place, now we just need to wait to see the results.

 

Photos of the Peloton: 2018 TDU Unley Start

Wednesday’s stage into Stirling was stinking hot. 37 degrees in the air, the tarmac temperature was nearing 45 degrees. I was down before the race started, and by 11am on my way into Stirling the mercury had already maxed out and casual riders were diving for cover.

Like the stage before it, Will Clarke (EF-Drapac), Nick Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Scott Bowden (UniSA) made up the day’s breakaway. They were joined by Jaime Castrillo (Movistar) as well, and the front group of 4 got a lead out to 5 minutes. At the KoM in Tea Tree Gully, it was again Dlamini who took out the honours, but not before a Scott Bowden charge. After the KoM, Dlamini retreated back to the peloton, leaving 3 out front. Through the two Sprint points, Bowden tried to get a jump on Will Clarke, but failed on both attempts. Will Clarke with the sprint point time bonuses was the virtual leader on the road, and both dropped back to the peloton once the day’s points were dried up.

This left Jaime Castrillo – a former U23 Spanish TT Champion – alone in the Stirling heat for around 50km. He passed through the finish line solo on the first two laps, but was caught with 15km to go. Back in the peloton, Steve Morobito (FDJ) suffered a crash in the pack, dislocating his shoulder. However, he popped it back in, got back on, and made it back to the bunch. Heading into the final bumps, stage 1 winner Andre Greipel found himself out the back of the peloton, giving Mitchelton a chance to catapult sprinter Caleb Ewan. Impey launched the sprint into Stirling for Ewan, and managed to get the Aussie his first victory at this year’s race. Impey hung on for second behind McCarthy, Sagan and Haas, rounding out the top 5.

See my pictures from the Unley start of Stage 2 below!

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Nathan Haas (Katusha) looking like an absolute boss, even in 37C heat. A favourite for the undulating stage into Stirling, he eventually finished 5th.

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Alex Edmonson (Mitchelton) was a fan favourite after his Nats win a week earlier. Signing jerseys, taking pictures, and having a yarn with the crowd, the only one who was more active on the barriers was veteran Mat Hayman!

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Youngsters Sam Oomen and Chris Hamilton (Sunweb) getting prepared for the day ahead. One would be more used to the heat than the other.

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DDD riders posing for photos before the start. 1 selfie for 3 riders seems like a good deal to me.

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Maurits Lammertink (Katusha) getting some pre-ride fuel into him. He thoroughly enjoyed that banana.

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Alex Frame (Trek) getting ready for the race. We had a good chat about whether summer knicks (good for heat) or all-weather knicks (good for avoiding sunburn) were better in this weather. We both chose summer knicks – you can always put on more sunscreen!

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Egan Bernal (Sky) making a call before the stage. Not only do they have their names on their backs, but they also have them on their phones!

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The Quickstep team getting prepped with a full on picnic and a motivational speech from Elia Viviani before the stage.

I hope you enjoyed this mini gallery. It’s a lot smaller than what I usually do, but I feel like the photos are much better quality than they used to be. I’ll be on the roadside taking photos on Saturday by the Salopian Inn in McLaren Vale, so if you spot me, say hi!

~The Cycling Raven

A Day With Bob Addy

On Stage 2 of the Tour of Margaret River, I went over to the event owner, Brendon, and asked what car I was getting in to follow the race. I was going to be in the lead vehicle, 300 meters up the road, so I was pretty happy because it would get me to the finish in time. That was all I focused on, just getting to the finish to catch the winner’s name and take photos. I was introduced to Bob and Bryan, and we went on our merry way.

We started it off with a bit of small talk: “Where do you live?” – Perth, “You down for the weekend?” – Just for Saturday, “Drove down early then this morning?” – We were up at 4am to get down here. Then, Bryan chirped up: “Do you know who you are sitting next to?” I had no clue, being a fresh-faced youngster to the cycling scene, I didn’t really know many people, especially older ones. “You are sitting next to Bob Addy – former British champion.”

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Holdsworth Campagnolo Team Photo, 1970. Bob Addy, who was road captain, is on the far left.

Bob Addy was a British professional rider, riding from 1965-1973 professionally. He represented Britain at the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, and World Championships. He rode the Tour de France during the Merckx era. As an amateur, he won the British Championships. He won stages in the Tour of Britain – or the Milk Race as it was called back then, and various other British tours. He rode all over Europe – at the Tour l’Avenir, and the old Amstel Gold to name a couple of races. During his riding career spanning over 5 decades, he won multiple veteran titles in Australia, and rode track pursuits and madisons.

So, now I know that Bob has got a bit of experience. “And did you see the picture on the ride of the car? That was Bob racing against Eddy [Merckx].” Okay, this guy has got some serious experience. Not only is he a previous champion, but he has ridden with Merckx.

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That was the photo on the side of Bob’s car. He is right on Merckx’s tail.

“Riding alongside Eddy was tough. In that era, he was just so much better than himself, and in the Tour de France, racing was tough.” Over the 1968 Tour, the only Tour de France Addy rode, he was struck by 2 major mechanicals, on top of illness. By stage 10 of the Tour, after back to back days in the Pyrennes, he abandoned. We drove up the final climb on Stage 2, Kindalee Hill. On the road, someone wrote in chalk ‘MOUNTAIN’. “Driving through these hills in Australia reminds me of the Pyrennes. Although when people think these are mountains, it makes me laugh. It’s like this in Europe, except over 25km and not 1km.”

He had many fond memories of his time riding professionally in Europe, especially with Holdsworth Campagnolo. “Back then, pro teams didn’t get invites to a lot of major races. We used to ride for clubs or nations, but never international teams. It was different, riding with people from your home rather than all these teams with riders of all nationalities.” Being good at cycling at those days got you a wage well below average pay – the average for a cyclist was £8 a week in 1968 in the UK. This kept on increasing, as the sport became a lot more focused on the professional racing rather than riding for country.

The 1962 Commonwealth Games was a 200 kilometer circuit around Perth’s iconic Kings Park, just outside the city and around 5km down the road from the track and field circuit in Claremont. “We flew over from the UK to Perth for the Commonwealth Games. You come halfway across the world [which took 3 days by plane] to race for 120 miles. You really wanted to do the race, no matter the circumstances.” On the way over from Britain, Addy contracted a stomach bug.  “It wasn’t the most pleasant time, but I just wanted to ride the road race.”

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The road race around Kings Park would have been quite stunning in those days. Even nowadays it’s a very pretty ride, popular among weekend warriors who want a touch of bush on their rides. Pictured is the peloton near the start of the race.

On the day of the race, he had serious stomach pains, and diarrhea. “I was on the start line and I wasn’t feeling great. I just wanted to get through the day.” Addy managed to get through a couple of laps before it really started. “It was on around Lap 3 (around 25km into the race) where I started having troubles. I dismounted a few times to go to the toilet along the race, but every time I did it I kept falling further and further behind.” Determined to not let his training and travel go to waste, he kept getting back on and getting up back into the peloton. “You don’t travel across the world to abandon the race.” However, late into the race, it had gotten too much. “I was quite dehydrated in the heat and with the diarrhea that I had to abandon. It was disappointing, but I loved the trip.”

Coming home, Addy decided to trade his plane ticket for a boat ticket. “I saved £100 (around £2000 in today’s money) by going by boat. It gave me a bit of pocket money for the trip, which got used on the ship. I came back to Europe a bit overweight, so I had to work hard to get to race weight. But, I enjoyed my time on the ship in the sun, so no complaints.” He returned to Britain, and won a stage of the Milk Tour (Tour of Britain) in the same year, and took out the Amateur National Championships the year after. Maybe the Australia sun had something to do with it.

By the time we reached this point of the conversation, I had to jump out to get to the finish. After the day was done, Bryan came up to me and said: “You have a bright future, but you don’t ask many questions for a journalist.” I laughed, it was true, I didn’t ask Bob any questions, but I was mesmerized by his story. I just enjoyed hearing his stories of riding alongside Eddy Merckx and travelling around the world as a racer in the 60s. It was something I won’t forget.

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Bob Addy put up the cleats in 2014, after winning the Australian Masters Championships. He now spends his time coaching young riders and following cycling races around Perth. It was great to be given the opportunity to chat with him, and while maybe I should have asked more questions, I don’t regret just sitting in silence listening to his story. Apparently he is writing a biography, which is on the way, so keep an eye out for that.

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stages 3 + 4

It was 10pm when I got home yesterday so I didn’t have the time to upload it on the day, but it’s done now. What a whirlwind trip, and it’s not something I’ll forget. Here are my favourite photos from Sunday’s Stage 3 and 4 of the Tour!

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The cow went around the start line at Stage 3. The girl rode the sportives earlier in the week, stayed, took some photos, and got some autographs. I saw her talk to Anouska a lot – Anouska was amazingly sociable with everyone.

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I also managed to grab a quick snap myself with the WM3 team. Absolutely loved my time with them this week, and I hope to catch up with them at the TDU.

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Shannon Malseed got prime real estate on the cow – on the bum. Stole the spot from Erin (although she did apparently put an asterisk under the tail!)

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Holden Team Photo. I have no idea what Kimberly found hilarious – maybe the height difference between Lisen and Emma?

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Grace and Erin on a cheat day. Maybe it helped, considering Grace ended up winning Stage 3 and the Individual Classification of the race.

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Annemiek rallying the troops just before the start. Everyone loved her, and with her being on the SPR team, she got around with a lot of people. Where there was Annemiek, there were 5 people on her tail.

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Stage 3 finished on top of the Mur du Hay. Looking at the profile, I didn’t think it would be awfully tough. However, once hiking my way to the top, I saw how tough it was. Michael Freiberg made it look easy though.

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Marianne Vos rounding the last corner of the Mur du Hay. She even kicked up a little sprint up the final kicker!

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And the only thing some people were kicking up the Mur Du hay was their bike. This unlucky rider punctured on the climb, and had the long walk up to finish the stage. He got back on for the time trial, though.

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The D Grade Drag Race to determine the winner of the stage. Jayden Waters of Cyclemania (middle) ended up winning the stage.

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Robbie struggled on the climbs, something you expect from a sprinter!

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Anouska Koster and Luke Durbridge finished together up the Mur du Hay. Not often do you get to see the Women’s and Men’s peloton together, let alone 2 pro’s going at it. Anouska won the race to the top.

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Grace Brown really found form on the stage, smashing the Mur du hay and taking the win. Someone even wrote Holden on the road!

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Jeanne Korevaar soaking in the Australian sun on her spin up the hill. They all make it look so easy.

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Erin, last time I checked, you were racing! Apparently Crikey Cadel is the #HoldenWomensRacingCroc. Sorry, BMC.

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The Stage 4 Team Time Trial was a windy 42km down Balingup-Nannup Road. I hit in the bushes to get a few photos of the start, before having to bolt for the finish.

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Marianne Vos is so photogenic on the bike. Absolutely amazing form and technique, and that European Champ jersey photographs well!

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Brooksy found a dugite on the stage as well. 2 meters long. Gotta be safe from the wildlife out here!

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At the finish of the TTT, everyone cheered for these 2 Northern Beaches riders. Last on every stage, they still made it over the line, hand in hand. Astonishing effort over the 3 days in the brutal heat and the undulating terrain.

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Erin hoisting the Champions trophy after Holden won the women’s edition of the race. If my pictures of Erin this week haven’t told you enough about her, what can I say? She is a funny, kind person, who loves a bit of banter and a joke. I don’t think I got a serious photo of Erin all week, but those characters make cycling. Serious on the inside, funny on the outside.

I had an absolute ball at the Tour of Margaret River this year. It’s a shame it went so fast and now I’m back into normality (and exams). However, 12 months will fly by, and I’ll be down there once again. I hope you all enjoyed my coverage of the race. The Tour really re-invigorated my love for cycling, because races like these remind you of how beautiful the sport of cycling is. You never get to be this intimate with professionals in any other sport, and that’s the glory of it. Until next time, I’m out.

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

 

 

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stage 2

Today’s stage out of Nannup to Greenbushes was quite difficult, according to a lot of the riders. An early break of 6, including Linfield, broke away just after the first climb up the Brockman Highway, and quickly distanced the bunch. Linfield was one of the first riders onto the move, and was joined by his compatriots. A couple of riders fell off the back in the descent into Maranup just before the penultimate Kindalee Hill.

As the riders were rounding the final couple of kilometers up into Greenbushes, Linfield made his move. Coming into the final corner with 200m to go, there was daylight between him and the chasing 4, and Linfield had enough time to salute the Greenbushes crowd before taking his team’s first win of the week. “The boys have only been together for 2 weeks before this race, so any result is a good result,” Linfield said at the finish.

In the women’s event, it was once again Holden dominating the rest of the field. Kimberly Wells led the attacks for the Australian outfit, starting 8km into the stage. After being caught 4km later, Lisen Hockings launched herself to a strong lead. With South Perth Rouleurs leading a strong chase, Emma Pooley capitalised on the increased momentum in the bunch and launched herself, bridging to Hockings.

On the final climb into Greenbushes, Grace Brown took off. Teammate Shannon Malseed followed shortly after, launching from the top of the climb with 500m to go. Emma Pooley got the win on the line, while Hockings finished with Pooley for 2nd, Brown 3rd 40 seconds behind and Malseed 4th about a minute back. “It was pretty hot out there today, and the final climb was brutal,” said Pooley, “but I’m just relieved that the day is done.”

Now that the stage recap is done for the day, here are my favourite photos from today!

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Luke Durbridge was giving an interview to Cycliq before the stage today. Talked about his ambitions in 2018 (classics season), road safety, and Caleb Ewan.

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Sabrina Stultiens also gave an interview to Cycliq, talking about the wildlife and the Australian roads.

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Annemiek van Vleuten before today’s start. She had a good yarn with Jess Allen before getting ready for the stage.

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Jess Allen just before rolling out today. An amazing person to talk to, and will always lend an ear to hear anything. Super humble about her own achievements, and loves talking up others (thanks for the thanks about CyclingTips today!).

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Michael Freiberg before the start. Today, the who’s-who of the race got their early and rolled around for a bit before the stage, and chatted between each other.

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Lisen Hockings, looking up at the right time. I stood there for a few minutes waiting for this shot. Absolutely in love with her jersey.

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The King Kom Boys getting ready – as requested by Anjii Coleman!

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The best sign on the route today. Crikey Cadel the Crocodile was up the road a bit further, 5km out from the finish in Greenbushes at the top of Kirralee Hill.

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RIP Crikey Cadel.

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Matt Keenan commentating the stage finish in his lycra from his morning Breakaway ride. We had a good yarn about his early career, uni life and cycling journalism. So knowledgeable, and a great inspiration for me and anyone else in the field.

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Bradley Linfield took out the stage today. His name might sound familiar – he tore up the Junior Circuit back in 2011, beating riders such as Pierre Latour, Matej Mohoric, Magnus Cort and Alexey Vermuelen. He was supposed to be the next big thing before illness struck. He’s getting back on form now, and dominated today’s stage.

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More Matt Keenan on the mic. He knows how to get the crowd going too.

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Midland Alpha and Veris Development sprinting it out on the line for 6th place. Midland got up, and Tim Harvey claimed the Young Riders Jersey.

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Pauliena Rooijakkers finishing up in Greenbushes.

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Calling out Bernie Swart for the best celebration of the day – even though he didn’t win anything!

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Some riders were just cruising over the line…

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…and others, like good Marco here, watched the pain from the sidelines after finishing earlier.

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A painful grimace from some of the riders truly told how harsh the weather and the final climb was.

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Emma Pooley won the Women’s race. Holden went 1-2-3-4. Domination.

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My favourite photo of the day. One of Jess Allen’s Joondalup Cycle City team mates sprinting for the line, as Jess peels off her lead out. True teamwork.

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Annemiek celebrating one of her team mates sprinting to the line, after dropping off the pace. She helped her up the climbs, and let her take center stage as she sprinted to the line, cheering for her and getting the crowd into a whirl.

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And, as Anouska Koster demonstrates here, refueling your body after a race is very important. I think she enjoyed that banana a lot.

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And once the race was over, and the presentations done, some of the riders were itching to get back on the bikes and ride home. The pro’s congregated outside and led the people out, taking various routes back to Nannup.

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Luke Durbridge, Rotem Gafinotivz, Jess Allen, Anouska Koster and Marianne Vos led this ride back, while some teams like Holden almost time trialled back home.

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It was a great day out at Greenbushes. It’s great at these events to see the community being able to interact with the pro’s so intimately. It’s what cycling is about. And then once the day was done, everyone packed up and moved on, eager for tomorrow.

If you want to see more photos and content from this week, be sure to check out the Tour of Margaret River FacebookInstagram, and of course my twitter. Tomorrow is the last day of racing, can’t wait to see who comes out on top!

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!

Photos of the Peloton: TOMR Stage 1

Today’s Stage 1 at the Tour of Margaret River was a great spectacle. With a small group ride beforehand, and then the racing started. While my day started with me locking myself out of my room at 6am, it ended with more amazing experiences. Here are my favourite 22 photos from today’s stage.

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Anouska is one of the best ‘fan-interacters’ that I’ve seen in any sport. She is always chatting to people – young or old – and just loves sharing experiences. She took autographs and photos just after the VosMax ride finished today.

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Another group of people who are great in front of the camera are the Holden Women’s Team. With a bit of Aussie banter behind them, they never fail to see the funny side in things. And the war is ongoing, much to Lisen’s shock when she rocked up today.

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Marianne Vos is riding with the EY-1 team (Luke Durbridge is riding with EY-2), and they stopped for a group photo before setting out on their TT. They finished 6 minutes behind the eventual winners, Veris Men’s Development Team.

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Seriously photogenic. How does she do it?

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Matt Keenan and Robbie McEwen were on the commentary today. This smile from Matt today just goes to show how amazing these guys really are. There was lots of banter from the commentary box today…

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…and they were joined by the marvelous Stuart O’Grady as well. Absolutely fantastic characters today, and provided a lot of entertainment to the 700+ riders and their families.

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Sabrina Stultiens and Pauliena Rooijakkers hanging out with Jethro from the Midland Bravo Team. I said I would get this photo for you, Jethro.

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Le Tour has Didi. We have Crikey Cadel.

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One more to the bunny ear tally for Erin, however you can just see Shannon getting one in there. The war is truly on.

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Annemiek hanging out with the South Perth Rouleurs before her start. She was giving them tips – and posing to the camera.

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SPR Womens 3 Group Photo with their star rider Annemiek van Vleuten. Apparently it was a tough day on the road for them, but Annemiek made it an unforgettable experience.

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And she was enjoying it herself, as well!

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Riejanne Markus hanging out with her Northern Beaches Cycling Club Team just before they rolled out. She is full of charisma and got along really well with her team – the team was really nervous beforehand from what I heard as well!

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Jess Allen. Finger Guns. Great fun with the Joondalup Cycle City Girls.

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Grace Brown through the fencing just after the depart. They were the last team to depart.

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The Pedal Mafia Squad on the road about 7km out from the finish. Lots of sore bodies at this stage in the 33C heat, and the team was down to 4 men at this stage.

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Small celebration from the Dome Coffees Racing rider coming through the same point. They eventually finished 3rd, 31 seconds behind Veris.

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Monique Van De Ree, riding for the TOMR Directors Team, giving us a small wave. She looks like a butterfly in this photo!

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Even the pros need a push sometimes. Gotta give it to Holden, they absolutely smashed it today.

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Monique was as focused as ever on the ride today, helping out her team.

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Holden about 4km out from the finish, just before the last final climb. They found a good tempo and stuck to it, according to Erin Kinnealy.

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…and they brought it home with the win. 7 minutes ahead of any other team in the Women’s Category, and 11th in Open. However, if you were to ask Erin, she would say that they could have snuck a top 10 if they didn’t get held up in traffic back in town!

I interviewed Erin Kinnealy (Holden) after the race, just to hear what she thought of today’s stage:

CR: First of all, enjoying the rides?

EK: Loving them! The country town feel in Nannup is such a nice change of pace. Also, everyone out here is lovely.

CR: How about the weather?

EK: It’s a bit of the shock to the system. Most of the team have come from Victoria where it’s been cold. We were throwing ice down our back at the start line, but it just kept on melting. At the finish line, I had a look at my Garmin and it had a tarmac temperature reading of 42.8C – it was bloody hot today!

CR: A lot of teams blew up in the heat today, especially on those final 10km of undulations back down Mowen Road. How did you guys keep it together?

EK: We used quick rotations along the downhills to build some momentum and to keep the speed up (Note: They were hitting up to 87kmh on some of the downhills, I was in the following car). Once the climb starts, we keep the speed of the rotations up until we run out of momentum.

From there, we click into each other’s rhythm. It took us about 30km to get used to each other (Emma Pooley doesn’t usually ride with Holden), but once we found it, it was business as usual.

Once we passed the 1km sign, it was a wave of relief, and a bit of an oh-my-gosh moment before we really had to hammer it home and let the shackles go.

CR: You won your division by over 7 minutes. Could you have gone faster?

EK: We could have snuck into the top 10 if we didn’t get held up by a few cars down the main street of Nannup!


If you want to see more photos and content from this week, be sure to check out the Tour of Margaret River FacebookInstagram, and of course my twitter, which is being used as the official race twitter. A great first day of racing – luckily incident-free! My report will be up on CyclingTips tomorrow. Cycliq has also provided us with some amazing on-the-bike footage, which we will be sharing on the social media streams. Until tomorrow, see ya!

If you would like to use my photos for anything, or would like full size images, please message me directly. Credit-wise, just leaving The Cycling Raven along side any photos you use will be greatly appreciated, and if you are feeling extra ambitious, drop a link by to the blog site – I’ll love you for it! Thanks so much!