It was Gold in the first race of the FedUni Road Nationals for InForm TM Insight MAKE.
Jarrad Drizners was victorious in the U23 Mens Criterium this afternoon in the scorching Ballarat heat. Chalking up our first win of the 2019 season.
The early stages of the 33 kilometre Criterium were chaotic, with groups slipping up the road with InForm TM Insight MAKE being present in the key moves. Tom Jones did the early policing in a five rider break that animated the first ten laps and helped the rest of the team keep their powder dry for the back half of the race.
After constant reshuffling of the deck, Will Moloney-Morton and Jarrad Drizners found themselves in a six rider break which quickly developed the characteristics of a winning move. The six riders worked well together until 16 laps to go when Drizners and Kelland O’Brien slipped effortlessly away as a result of a simple dropping of the wheel in the lead group.
With the two strongest teams in the race represented in the break, the anchors were thrown out in the peloton and they found themselves battling it out for the bronze medal. Drizners and O’Brien worked well together and quickly established a race winning advantage, soon having the rear of the peloton in their crosshairs.
With six laps to go, Drizners and O’Brien had made contact with the back of the peloton. The catch proved problematic for the race commissaires, who needed to think on their feet to create a fair sprint for the medals. It was decided that the peloton would sprint for third with two laps to go and the two leaders would have a one on one duel in the final two laps for the green and gold jersey.
A cat and mouse finale played out, a la a track sprint on the velodrome. Both seasoned track riders, neither was disadvantaged in the unique scenario for a road sprint. As the leaders entered the home straight for the final time, the duo was still playing a cagey game, wanting to leave it late as possible to hit out in the uphill, headwind sprint. It was Drizners who jumped first with 200 meters to go. The South Australian proved too strong for O’Brien who couldn’t come over the top of the InForm TM Insight MAKE rider in the final metres.
Cam Scott won the gallop for third.
Before the presentations, with the adrenaline still firing, Drizners said,
“It was so hot out there, just Kell and I off the front for so much of the race, it was bloody hard.”
“I was pretty nervous in the final sprint to be honest, I didn’t really want to lead it out but I found myself on the front but I managed to pull it off which is just unreal.”
With the green and gold jersey on his shoulders, and some time to process the victory, Drizners said,
“I’ve just been on the phone to my parents and my brother, it was pretty emotional and I was almost in tears, I’m just soaking it all in now.”
Team manager Pat Lane was unsurprisingly over the moon with the start to the championships.
“It’s the perfect start to the season, our first race and our first win. All the boys rode perfectly today and Jarrad was good enough to finish it off. We have plenty more chances to win at these Nationals so now we look forward to the road races.”
Nathan Elliott was our only rider in the Elite Men’s Criterium and tried to animate the race, looking to sniff out the key breakaway. The headwind on the final straight proved to be too big of an obstacle and no genuine attacks got clear.
Brenton Jones won ahead of Tristan Ward and Jay McCarthy.
The U19 and U23 Road Races take place tomorrow.