Footscray Cycling Club Christmas Classic @ V.U.T, December 22 2012.
The Footscray Cycling Club's Christmas Classic Criteriums were held in perfect racing conditions at the V.U.T. track in Hoppers Crossing, with A-Grade's race once again dominated by a 5 man break from the get-go. Rising star Steve Antonello started the break with an attack within the first 5 minutes of the race, and he was quickly joined by Ben O'Leary, James Butler, Miles DaCosta and eventual winner Dom Dudkiewicz. Dom has been in seriously good form during the crit season, taking a swag of wins over the last 2 months, and felt pretty strong all day. 'I was considering not racing today but it's such a beautiful day and I'm in good shape so why not have a go? I saw Steve, James and Miles breakaway and I thought that would be a good, solid break to get into so I attacked and went hard for a lap and looked behind me and Ben was on my wheel; we did one minute ten for the lap versus the one twenty fives we were doing in the break. We joined up and all 5 of us worked well together and rolled turns evenly.' With a lap to go, Antonello threw in a serious do-or-die attack that Butler chased down, and with Dudkiewicz on Butler's wheel he had the perfect run into the home straight, taking the win from the consistent O'Leary, with James Butler third; Dudkiewicz taking home his first Christmas Classic sash and looking like an early favourite for the Criterium Aggregate.
In similar fashion to A, B-Grade's race was dominated by a 2-man breakaway, with time trial specialist and triathlete Xavier Coppock and B-Grade veteran Mark Micallef establishing a half-lap lead early in the race. At the 10 minute mark, 34 year old Pt. Cook resident Coppock attacked and eventual winner, 48 year old Werribee resident Micallef knew it was a dangerous move. 'I saw Xavier attack and get about 100 meters up the road and decided it was time to go; Matt Wyatt followed me and with quite an effort we both managed to bridge.' 10 minutes into the 45 minute break, Wyatt ran out of steam, leaving Micallef and Coppock to make a decision. 'Xavier and I looked at each other and made the decision to go for it, so we started laying down pretty consistent laps at around one-twenty-seven, one-twenty-eight, and we just did not give up. We spoke to each other, made sure we ramped it up when the bunch were chasing harder; we just matched their efforts and kept our half lap lead.' With about 15 minutes to go, Ben Ryan and Damian Harris made an effort to bridge the gap, but were reeled back in by the bunch, who never gave up the chase. Swapping turns to the last, Micallef and Coppock crossed the line in first and second respectively well clear of the bunch, with Wyatt recovering to take the bunch sprint for third place.
In C-Grade, a close sprint by Josh Ryan and Eddie O'Farrell was marred by the pair crossing the line in first and second place, tangling and coming to grief a few meters past the finish line. After an eventful race with many attacks and counter-attacks, the race ended in a bunch sprint; the two bruised and battered top spots on the podium followed in closely by third placed new member Greg Watson, who looks set to appear in B-Grade soon. In D-Grade, Mark Koutogiannis took a well deserved win and promotion to C-Grade, taking the sprint from Michael Albanese and Neil Turner.
A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Ben O'Leary, 3rd James Butler, 4th Miles DaCosta, 5th Steve Antonello.
B: 1st Mark Micallef, 2nd Xavier Coppock, 3rd Matt Wyatt, 4th Ben Ryan, 5th Andrew Bonello.
C: 1st Josh Ryan, 2nd Eddie O'Farrell, 3rd Greg Weston, 4th Andrew Schieseck.
D: 1st Mark Koutsogiannis, 2nd Michael Albanese, 3rd Neil Turner, 4th Tim Marcus.
A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Nathan Page, 3rd Ben O'Leary, 4th Brett Hickford, 5th Jason Costin
B: 1st Corey Olszac, 2nd Ben Andrews, 3rd Ben Ryan, 4th Paul Young, 5th Adrian Rafferty.
C: 1st Greg Weston, 2nd Tony Murrell, 3rd Shane McGuirk, 4th Leigh Pridmore, 5th David Lane.
D: 1st Mark Koutsogiannis, 2nd Peter Bloink, 3rd Barry Cram, 4th Dennis Hobbs.
Ya ridin' or ya hidin?