Footscray Cycling Club – Club Legends Criteriums @ VU 7/12/13.
With sunny skies, hardly any wind and moderate temperatures, sprinters dominated the Footscray Cycling Club's Legends criteriums, held out at the V.U.T. circuit in Hoppers Crossing. The annual event, held in honour of the late Harry Jones and Hugh Cram, as well as the Club's latest induction, Frank Zanatta, is a hotly contested race largely due to the immense respect Club members have for the three Club Legends and the selfless dedication each of these men showed to cycling in general and the Footscray Cycling Club in particular.
A-Grade's race was dominated by Footscray's most consistent and talented rider of late, Dominik Dudkiewicz; the Target Trek rider winning 5 out of 5 races contested this season, as well as taking home the second Club Legends race in a row. 'It is such an honour to win this race, because Frank (The FCC's only living Club Legend Frank Zanatta) means so much to the Club; he is a link to the Club's great past and it's always good to see him and he is always cheering us on and be there to give young riders advice and a smile.' With a slight breeze and moderate temperatures, racing was conducted in what can only be described as perfect conditions, and because of that the breakaways were not likely to succeed. 'It was hard to launch an attack with so many guys able to sit in comfortably until they needed to chase; Darren Martin, Jason Costin and I got away at one stage and I thought that we could win from there but first Jason and then Darren dropped off so I drifted back to the pack. With three laps to go, Darren went again and the bunch were foxing so Simon Hurn and I went; we passed Darren and then I went around Simon and that was it.' Dudkiewicz crossed well clear of Hurn in second and Martin in third.
B-Grade's race was dominated by the peloton, and whilst quite a few riders tried to create their own success by breaking away, it was the willingness of the bunch, and the light conditions, that led to all breaks being reeled in by the many legs of the bunch. The race looked more and more likely to come down to a bunch sprint, and that is exactly how it played out, with riders jostling for position as the last few laps ticked down and the sprint approached. Andrew Bonello led the bunch around the last corner, with Darren Payne and Mark Micallef in pursuit; Payne just pipping Bonello on the line and Micallef taking third place. In a common story to cycling, 45 year old Little River resident Darren Payne took up cycling late. 'I took up cycling at 28 after playing footy for years. I did my shoulder and got on the bike and loved it. This is a big race to win so I'm very happy!'
In C-Grade, a huge field of very motivated riders took to the track, with veteran David Malady taking the closest sprint of the day. With the race held to a bunch sprint by the light conditions, it was a mass of sprinters who rounded the last corner; the first three riders hitting the line wheel-to-wheel in an exciting sprint. Malady used his experience to just pip the other two by lunging as he crossed the line mere centimetres ahead of Hawthorn rider Evan Armstrong and the rapidly improving Rocco Giovanniello.
In D-Grade, 35 year old Johann Birk signaled his intentions by dominating and then winning his first ever race; the Tarneit resident coming to cycling from football and running and showing spectators that his fitness, once matched by a little experience, may signal a rapid rise up the grades. 'Pugsly (D-Grade Instructor Barry Cram) directed us really well; It was nerve wracking at the start, but I'm so grateful that Barry was there to help me figure it all out. Before the last bend I wanted to get a bit of a break so I could cut into the corner better, so it worked out quite well.' Birk took the sprint convincingly, with 'the master' Barry Cram coming through for second place, just ahead of Graeme Wilson in third. A: 1st Dom Dudkiewicz, 2nd Simon Hurn, 3rd Darren Martin, 4th Jason Costin, 5th Ben O'Leary.
B: 1st Darren Payne, 2nd Andrew Bonello, 3rd Mark Micallef, 4th Matt Johnson, 5th Richard Conejo.
C: 1st David Malady, 2nd Evan Armstrong, 3rd Rocco Giovanniello, 4th Matt Whiting, 5th David Lane.
D: 1st Johann Birk, 2nd Barry Cram, 3rd Graeme Wilson, 4th Ray Moriaty, 5th James Lawford.
Great sprint in C. Check it out. http://youtu.be/SBgAQ5I5h_s