Adelaide Cycling – Rendition Homes round 2
Two former pros fought out the finish of round two in the Rendition Homes Series at Victoria Park yesterday with Belgian Aron Huysmans taking the victory over new series leader Mark Chadwick
The experienced duo caught late escapee Chris Martin only moments from the line ending the thrilling hour-long race with only a tyre-width between them.
“I’m not in good shape but I can still put it from the corner to the line,” said Huysmans.
Huysmans, with the help of the finish-line photo, was declared the winner from Chadwick (ISC-Focus Bikes), with Martin (Lightsview) taking third.
The Belgian fast-man rode at the highest level in Europe for French ProTour team, Chocolade Jaques, until retiring five years ago, and brings a wealth of experience to his JT Cycles team.
JT Cycles has had a spectacular start to the series, with team captain and former Olympic gold medallist Brett Aitkin winning a hotly contested round one and holding the series leader’s yellow jersey for a week.
However, thanks to his second place today and a solid seventh place finish in round one, the yellow jersey has now moved to the shoulders of Chadwick.
“I’m rapt to be in the yellow jersey for Round three and am looking forward to the race,” said Chadwick, who rode for third-division Belgian pro team, Team Down Under, in 2001 and 2002.
A rampaging start to the day
On a cool and windy morning, an enthusiastic crowd came out to watch round two of the Rendition Series – unaware that they were about to witness what riders have roundly described as the most brutally fast and aggressive race in the series’ history.
The strong field was bolstered by the inclusion of local young guns, Rohan Dennis, Harry Carpenter and Damien Howsen, all having recently returned from successful stints racing in Europe.
With all the riders’ nerves on edge due to the high winds, it didn’t take long for 19 year old SASI (South Australian Sports Institute) workhorse Harry Carpenter to turn the screws at the front of the race and give the bunch a taste of the suffering that was to come.
Carpenter, who raced in Belgium during the European summer with Belgian under-19 continental team DCM-PAS was the instigator of the first break of the day and was swiftly joined by Scott Mcphee (Bike Station-Watermark) and state road champion Tristan Jones (Super Elliots).
Carpenter would ultimately benefit from his constant presence at the front of the race, winning all three intermediate sprints throughout the race, putting him in the points leader’s green jersey by day’s end.
After reaching a maximum advantage of 25 seconds at the 15 minute mark, the break was reeled in by the fast-moving bunch with 30 minutes remaining.
The infernal pace coupled with strong winds caused around one third of the starters to get lapped and fail to finish.
The winning breakaway of eight riders formed at the halfway point of the race and seemed to be working well together towards the finish line.
With two laps remaining McPhee attacked the main bunch with Aitkin and took off in pursuit of the break.
The chasing duo failed to close the gap and Lightsview’s state time-trial champion Chris Martin took his chance with one lap to go and attacked his breakaway companions.
The seven remaining riders looked to be fighting for second place until Carpenter again took control and began to chase down the fleeing Martin with half a lap remaining.
Martin, who made the successful switch from rowing to cycling 6 years ago, went close to winning with his audacious move, but despite being an expert at the late escape, his brave attempt agonisingly fell short.
“Martin went away on the last lap and before the last corner I knew the wind was coming from the side,” said Huysmans.
The last two hundred metres were electrifying, with the riders desperately throwing themselves at the line.
“There was a bit of jostling for positions going on but I had to go when Aron went and I managed to grab his wheel” said Chadwick.
Out of the final corner Chadwick kicked hard and drew level with the Belgian.
“I was feeling good and made my run for the line alongside Aron and neither of us knew who won as we crossed the line,” said Chadwick.
The fast-finishing Huysmans and Chadwick blew past the fading Martin on the line relegating him to third place.
Chadwick now has the leader’s yellow jersey to ease the pain of his second place, while Team SASI retained the lead in the teams standings, with Aitkin retaining the masters jersey and Carpenter winning the award for the most aggressive rider of the day.