The first of the NCXS was to hit the Gold Coast in what was sweltering condition for winter in Australia. Temperatures reaching the mid 30’s at Nerang Crit Track. The first round was to be held and promoted by Robbie McEwan (TDF Green Jersey winner) meaning it would draw a crowd of local and interstate fans. A great course was set with plenty of features and an even spread of grass, dirt and tarmac.
After a good warmup and Robbie doing a few interviews for the local TV and SBS we were lined up ready to go. I was on the front row after my 4th place in the series last year which meant I should get a good start and be in the front group.
The gun went off and everyone went flying down the crit track heading into the start loop before entering the velodrome for the tight and twisty section. I found myself in a good position about 8th wheel with no gaps forming as it was quite a flat start area. I settled in to the top ten group and didn’t let anyone slip past.
Sitting in for the first half of the lap I decided to move up in the group towards the top 5 where I could have more chance of reacting to any attacks and this also allowed me to get a little bit of a breather from the stop start that happened when you’re towards the back of a group.
Three laps passed and I made my way to the front and started to apply some pressure to see who was going to come with me and who was going to sit up and try to get someone else to do the work. Chris J and Paul VDP were the only to that reacted and came with as I stated to put a small gap into the chasing group of 5.
Mid way through the race the three of us were well clear of the chasers getting a 30 second buffer letting plenty of attacks and tactics to be used. With only two laps to go I tried to make a move up the climb but on the tarmac section Paul VDP got on top of a big gear and brought me back. Nearing the finish I forced my way to the front and tried to lift the pace on the final tight switch back section getting a few bike length over Paul VDP. Chris J noticed this and made a pass getting right up onto my wheel not letting me out of sight.
Approaching the final barrier only 400 meters to the finish I dismounted and ran as I had a bad crash trying to hop over it in practice. The other two rode it and got an immediate gap but then sat up and started to play games. As I saw this I started to sprint early and was making up the gap very quickly, With 200 meters to go they were only just ahead but the saw me coming and started to sprint. In the end Paul VDP took the win and Chris J in second and myself in third just a few bike lengths behind. It was a great start to the season knowing that my hard training and new coach was paying off.
Check out a little video from the Focus CX Team from the round.