MIRACLE ON WHITE BAY
Is there a more picturesque view from a criterium in Australia than looking out over Sydney Harbour? Certainly, the location was world-class - but would it work as a racing venue? There were so many unanswered questions, so many things that could go wrong. Plus the threat of heavy rain that had plagued us all week, and kept our insurers up at night. Well, let's be honest - we hadn't slept much either...
We needn't have worried. With rain pelting down almost everywhere else in Sydney, we somehow stayed dry - at least until the racing was done. For one day, it seemed, we had our own private weather system over the course; the miracle on White Bay.
In fact, the conditions were near-on perfect for the inaugural running of #whitebaycrit. Not too hot, not too windy. And what a place to race. Almost 350 riders got to strut their stuff right on the harbour, in front of over 1000 cheering fans.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves - so lets rewind the clock a little and go back to the start. Of the racing, that is...
LONG & SHORT OF IT
A new course. A SHORT course. A fast course. On an industrial port surface cratered with uneven concrete, metal shards and man-hole covers. Just a few feet from the water’s edge. What could possibly go wrong?
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Cycling NSW came to the party, offering each rider the opportunity to race in their kit of choice. The pit lane was suddenly filled with colour – led by the inimitable Jungle Girls.
It wasn’t just the riders and spectators who were getting into it either – we were fortunate to have some of the best sponsors in the game. From container rooftops to course-side deckchairs and great giveaways, we can’t say thank you enough.
STIRRING THE POT
The A grade men, many not used to being on an undercard, made their presence felt by cranking up the pace. In the process they managed to blow apart the pack, leaving Jonathon Cridland to salute in style.
GOLDEN (LIGHT) GIRLS
The elite & A grade women didn’t quite get to race under lights, as we’d hoped, but they did get to race through a sunset that had even the most laid-back cycling photographers running around like kids in a candy store.
Finally, the moment the we had been waiting for (and fretting over) – turning on the lights for the mens elite race. The harbour sparkled in the background as some of the best racers in Australia lit up the track.
With the racing over, the rain that had threatened all day (all week, really) finally came, scattering the remaining crowds under a range of tents and makeshift covers. The podium presentations were a lonely affair - out on the middle of the track, with only the athletes, the presenters and a couple of plucky sponsor representatives eager to brave the certain soaking. The applause for each grade was still rowdy though, albeit from some distance away.
You can see the full results of all the racing by clicking on the button below.
SHIMANO SPRINT SERIES RESULTS
As part of the Shimano Sprint Series, competitors in the elite category were eligible to earn points towards the Shimano Sprint crown.
Below you can see a summary of all points earned at Critérium White Bay for 2017. You can also see the Shimano Sprint Series leaderboard here.
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