The finish of the Grafton to Inverell Classic on the weekend was the final round of the National Road Series for the 2015 season. This years NRS saw a large number of teams take part with most getting in on the action and popping up for stage wins here and there throughout the year.
Paddy Bevin’s dominance in the individual rankings was never really challenged after strong overall wins in the Adelaide Tour, Battle On The Border, Sam Miranda Tour of King Valley and Tour of Great South Coast set up an unassailable lead. Paddy didn’t contest the final three rounds but still finished on top with a comfortable 31 point advantage over African Wildlife Safaris Michael Schweizer followed by teammate Joe Cooper.
The teams battle came down to the wire with the boys holding a tenuous 1 point advantage over Charter Mason heading into Grafton. Charter did a great job of pegging back our lead during the Tour of Tasmania with the Melbourne to Warrnambool finishing in a bit of a stale mate with both teams cancelling each other out. The tactics heading into Grafton were crucial with Charter adopting an aggressive approach early determined to put someone in the break and put the pressure back on us. Our tactic was all about the climb. Essentially we wanted to tear the race to pieces and then assess the damage in the hope that only one or two Charter guys could climb with us and put the onus on the rest of their team to chase behind. Our security was to be AJ or Vandy sitting in the chase group fresh in case they were successful at chasing us back.
On the Gibraltar climb Charter did their best to limit the damage but their aggressive riding on the flat before the climb had hurt them. The elastic finally let go and they conceded four minutes at the summit and were now faced with a monstrous task but with plenty of time to get it done as there was still 150km to go. Joe, Taylor, Tom and Marko put their heads down and drove the front group of eighteen for the next 100kms which eventually saw Charter wave the white flag back in the chase group and ultimately all retire from the race except Ben Hill. Once the information came through that they had sewn up the teams classification the boys tried to recover and set about doing the best they could to finish. Tom and Mark made the front group when the attacks started but Sean Lake from AWS was unstoppable. He went clear at the 50km mark and was never seen again. Sean took the win by a huge four minutes over the chase group with Cyrus Monk second and Tom having a great race to finish third.
|2015 Final Result|
|1.||Patrick BEVIN (ART)||82||pt|
|2.||Michael SCHWEIZER (AWS)||51|
|3.||Joseph COOPER (ART)||43|
|4.||Brad EVANS (PVG)||39|
|5.||Raphael FREIENSTEIN (CMR)||38|
|6.||Benjamin HILL (CMR)||36|
|7.||Patrick SHAW (ART)||36|
|8.||Scott SUNDERLAND (BFL)||32|
|9.||1||Sean LAKE (AWS)||30|
|10.||12||Sam CROME (CMR)||27|
|NRS Teams Aggregate|
|2015 Final Result|
|1.||ART||Avanti Racing Team||190||pt|
|2.||CMR||Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||184|
|3.||AWS||African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team||90|
|4.||BFL||Team Budget Forklifts||64|
|5.||PVG||Pat’s Veg Cycling||54|
|6.||NSR||Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||50|
|7.||STR||search2retain-health.com.au Cycling Team||32|
|8.||MBS||Mobius Future Racing||30|
|9.||AMR||AMR Renault Racing Team||27|
|10.||OVR||OTOC Vault Racing||25|
Out of interest I collated the results for all the teams during the year. These results include UCI and NRS races and should give a bit of an insight into how the teams all fare at home and abroad.
|Team Name||Wins||Round Wins||Wins||Podiums|
|Avanti Racing Team||Continental||12||5||12||24|
|Drapac Pro Cycling||Pro Continental||N/A||N/A||8||15|
|African Wildlife Safaris||Continental||3||2||0||0|
|Search 2 Retain||Continental||1||0||0||2|
|Data 3 Symantec||Continental||0||0||1||1|
|Camposs Cycling Team||Domestic||1||0||N/A||N/A|
The road season winds up now with just the Tour of Southland and Tour of Okinawa in Japan to come.