McEwen Wins Nerang New Year?s Day Criterium
A happy McEwen won the event and revealed his 2005 Davitamon-Lotto outfit.
The Goldstars Cycling Club ran its annual New Year?s Day Criterium at the Nerang Cycling Centre on the Gold Coast in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
The organisers of the race had no commitment from Robbie McEwen that he would turn up for the race. In the days leading up to the race he?d merely stated that he "would see how his New year's celebrations went." When he turned up, not only did he arrive in his new Davitamon-Lotto strip riding his new Ridley bike, but he had his new team mate in his new strip, Henk Vogels with him.
From that point on, the race took on a new dimension. Never on the Coast have we seen a race change fortunes so quickly. Jarren Poad must have thought the race was 6 laps plus 3 not 60 minutes plus 3 the way he took off out the blocks, extending the field right from the word GO! That was the way it was for the first 25 minutes ? attack, attack, attack from all points with the average speed getting up to 48kmh in the 35 degree heat. It was becoming very taxing on the 40 man strong field.
3 riders managed to break the rubber band from the field. These were Luke Stockwell, Henk Vogels and Dave Betts. They worked well together securing a half lap lead on the 800 metre circuit to the rest of the bunch until Luke Stockwell had a flat tyre. He changed and rejoined and set the tempo with the other 2 leaders again.
The crowd thought that it was a foregone conclusion that these 3 would go on and looked like they would lap the field until all of a sudden they came around the corner onto the main straight all splintered with Henk's bike making a loud grinding sound and Dave Betts' front tyre flat which left Luke Stockwell on his own. The spectators didn't know what had happened to Henk's bike but he was granted a mechanical mishap by the Chief Commissaire John Morris and Dave Betts changed his wheel and they both rejoined Stockwell.
But the main bunch had seen what had happened and were onto it! They chased Luke Stockwell and had reduced the lead to some 150 metres by the time the other 2 rejoined Luke. Gold Coast riders Kane Oakley, Craig Cahill and Jon Cantwell were the first to try and bridge that small gap on their own. They didn't succeed individually but it did cause a reaction from the rest of the bunch which saw the 3 leaders caught with about 6 laps to go.
At this time, we saw Poad and McEwen explode out of the pack