Australian Inline Cup, Melbourne 27th Feb 2005
Report by Gary Ryan
The Australian Inline Cup was, up until 2 weeks ago a class 1 in the WIC and the first official race of the year. However due to the rules stating that all official WIC events must fall within the months April to October the event was cancelled.
This was not to stop some of the top skaters in the World turning up for the inaugural AIC race.
KIA Inline racing team’s Theresa Cliff-Ryan made this her first race of the 2005 season, as did the in form Nicole Begg of New Zealand. Bont also using this event to launch their International team with Francesco Zangarini and Luca Presti of Italy, Christoph Luginbuhl and Marc Christenson of Switzerland and Wouter Hebrecht of Belgium
With a hot 30 Degree Melbourne day and a mix of international skaters it wasn’t just the road temperature that was scorching!
The course was a 1km square in an industrial area, not the best pick for spectators, the spectators that did know the event was on could only see 1 of the 4 straights. The road was not totally smooth but very fast with large sweeping 90 degree corners, the finish was roughly 200-250m out of a sweeping corner with a width of 8-9m it guarantee’s that the skater with the most speed will win the finish.
The Women’s race
It may be only February but the KIA Inline Team has its first win of the 2005 Season.
Theresa Cliff-Ryan who has spent the Australian Summer racing the biggest national and international races on a bicycle as well as preparing for the up and coming WIC season showed she is in very good form by easily taking the win of Nicole Begg of Saab/Salomon Swiss (7th 04 WIC ranking).
The race was kept strangely at a hard pace for the majority of the race with the extreme hot weather taking the sting out of a lot of the skaters. Theresa, Nicole and Angeline Thomas were the main skaters pushing the pace. The pace was so high that the Men’s massive pack only lapped the girls once, with the winning break lapping them twice, quite a feat on a 1km circuit and only 5 girls compared with a pack of 30+ men.
The pace slowed with 1 to go as the girls played cat and mouse each not wanting to lead the sprint out. Eventually Angeline Thomas took advantage of a slower pace and got to the front with roughly 600m to go picking it up hoping to make it a fast, long sprint. Season performers Theresa and Nicole following close behind and keeping close watch on each other. Coming into the last corner with 250m to go, Theresa left a gap, Nicole followed suit and left a gap ready to sprint, Theresa seeing her chance started the sprint on the corner pulling even with the pack, but when they hit the straight the gap quickly went to 10m, enabling Theresa to relax and cruse to the win.
Unfortunately for the AIC they are still running the race in the dark ages, giving the men’s winner over double the prize money compared to the women for the same distance event. Something that no race in the World does anymore, it’s not only an embarrassment to the sport but something that will stop Australia getting a WIC event.
1st Theresa Cliff-Ryan, USA. KIA Inline Team
2nd Nicole Begg, NZL. Saab/Salomon Swiss.
3rd Angeline Thomas, AUS.RBC
The men’s race started out slow with it seeming to be a contest between Bont and Rollerblade with a few fast Aussie thrown in like Peter Currell, Danny Finster, and Mick Byrne.
The pace was not low for long especially if you have Swiss skaters in there and it was Marc Christianson that lived up to the breakaway name attacking a few times getting the Rollerblade skaters to chase. Most attacks were kept close except a big one at the half way point, and with skaters like Currell, Finster, Byrne, Luginbuhl, Presti etc it was never going to come back. With roughly 10 to go the breakaway lapped the rest of the field and it seemed as though the top 8 were sorted. Worth a mention is that Corey Stevens a junior skater and Ed Dimmick both from Australia were in the breakaway.
But with a lap to go it was Finster and Currell that left the field, not wanting it to come to a sprint and it was the right move. Currell moving past Finster on the back straight and won easy by 30m followed by a very happy Finster. 3rd was Luginbuhl 4th and 5th was a stretch between Kalon Dobbin of Rollerblade and Mick Byrne of Mogema. The bunch sprint was won by Luca Presti of Bont.
It was sweet victory by both Currell and Finster with Currell being looked over for a spot on the WIC circuit and Finster being replaced in the Bont international team by a more expensive big name skater; it shows you money can’t by you love.
1st Peter Currell, AUS
2nd Danny Finster, AUS
3rd Christoph Luginbuhl, SUI. Bont International
4th Kalon Dobbin, NZL. Athleticum/Rollerblade
5th Mick Byrne, AUS. Mogema
6th Luca Presti, ITA. Bont International