Kemps wins Aussie crit champs, McEwen bangs bad knee
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kemps wins Aussie crit champs, McEwen bangs bad knee

by Conal Andrews at 7:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, National Championships

Fly V Australia’s Aaron Kemps used his well-known finishing speed to take the Australian criterium championships yesterday in Ballarat. Meanwhile, multiple Grand Tour stage winner Robbie McEwen was forced to withdraw after banging the knee he badly injured last year.

Kemps was one of eight riders who succeeded in lapping the main field in the street race, thus eliminating the rest of the peloton.

He then timed his final gallop perfectly, rocketing in ahead of Rapha’s Dean Windsor and Will Clarke (Praties). Chris Steffanoni, David Pell, Bernard Sulzberger, Lachlan Norris and David Kemp were also part of the move, and took places four through eight.

"I am very happy with this win and very thankful for Fly V, a new team for me this year, and very happy for the first race of the year get a win up for them," said Kemps, according to Cycling Australia. "It is a team for Australians and I am proud to be in an Australian team. I am [also] proud to take this jersey overseas and represent Australia."

McEwen is back racing after many months trying to get over a bad crash in the Tour of Belgium. He said on his Twitter feed that he was experiencing pain as a result of an accident before the start, and is hoping that there are no lasting implications.

“Bumped my bad knee b4 (before) crit, was getting sore so I exited halfway. Hope it is ok by the weekend for the RR (road race). Day off tomorrow.”

He missed out on the important move and apart from wanting to protect his sore joint, would have known that it was unlikely that the break would be hauled back.

Kemps said that his victory was due to both constant attacks and also team-work. "I tried to be as aggressive as I could from the start,” he explained. “My legs felt really good today, but all the boys rode really well…we did a great effort," said Kemps. "When eight to ten of us got away, I was just happy to stay to the finish. Then Bernie Sulzberger did a great job leading me out. I can't thank him enough since he was last year's Australian criterium champion.”

Windsor had to be content with second, but said afterwards that he knew it would be very hard to win. "With three Fly V and two Drapac riders in the breakaway it made it quite difficult being by myself, but I just made sure I jumped with everything that went. It used a lot of my energy but I just couldn't afford to miss the winning break. Unfortunately my legs were a little tired in the final sprint."

South Australia’s Carlee White unleashed a solo attack halfway through the women’s event and stayed clear for the remaining 18 laps.

"I am thrilled to bits and can't really believe it," said the 24-year-old, who also took the silver medal in Wednesday's time trial. "You have to find something special for the nationals and I guess I found it."

The former steeplechase athlete didn’t really believe she could win.

"I was just sort of testing my legs, the team plan was to have a crack and I thought it is about time I got up there and gave it a go," she said.

"So with ten laps to go, I had already been out there for ages. I thought, ‘oh my God, what am I doing out here,’ but I realised I had to keep going. Once you have a gap you can't give it up 'cause all the girls want it."

Canberra's Chloe Hosking took the silver medal in a bunch sprint, narrowly edging New South Wales' Megan Dunn on the line. They took gold and silver in the under 23 classification,

Meanwhile Victoria's Daniel Braunsteins soloed clear near the end of the men’s under 23 race, beating his Drapac Porsche team mate Thomas Palmer and Team Jayco Skins’ Malcolm Rudolph.

"This is the first national title for me and I had good form leading up from the Bay crits where I had a third (place)," he said.

He made his surge out of an eight man break. "I was just trying to be patient and make my move near the end, just as the race started to get hard. There were three of us (Drapac riders) in it, so it meant I could sit in a rest my legs a bit more. With two laps to go I hit them with everything I had, and got a gap and stayed away, so I am stoked."

The championships run until this Sunday, concluding with the road races.


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