The penultimate round of Battle of the Bridge was held at Beaumont Road under Northern Sydney CC and we discovered that NSCC has a spine when it comes to racing and it is now looking like a very tight finish at the upcoming round at SUVelo this Sunday. Round 3 provided plenty of talking points.

Coming into this round Northern Sydney hadn’t had a victory over the prior two rounds and as a result the Saddam Hussein leadership of Archie Wilson was removed and he has been sent to a European gulag. The fresh approach meant that NSCC was hoping that they could find a victory and maybe come within striking distance of the almighty MWCC.

When we looked at the turn out amongst the grades, there were murmurs that particularly in B and C Grades, the fields looked a little stacked with MWCC riders, what many didn’t realise is that these riders were mostly the MWCC bandwagon, with riders from clubs within the Battle of the Bridge most likely wanting to ride under the sky blue and had recently purchased MWCC jerseys to be part of the great club. This would explain the low RBCC turn out.

Now some may have read the SUVelo review of the mornings racing, which reads somewhat like the Ryan Lochte account of his robbery in Rio, a bit of reality, a lot of lies and misrepresentations and an account that would change upon every recount. What really happened out on course can be reviewed in the MWCC fact file.

The MWCC team were very confident coming into this round with the team sitting on top of the Battle of the Bridge leaderboard, the team decided to play a few tactics and decided to rest some of their big hitters in order to freshen them up for the final round at SUVelo. With hindsight, the resting of leader Alexis Kaless was like creating a Marvel Avengers movie without Tony Stark and his sunbaking on the Gold Coast may prove to be a decisive factor in the outcome of the series.

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In A Grade there were plenty of cards to play in this flat and fast course, with MWCC having multiple cards to play and the main adversaries looking like SUVelo with the usual A graders of NSCC dropping themselves down to B grade and RBCC having raised the white flag with a notable absence within the field. There was plenty of animation throughout the race, with MWCC confident that they could win in a breakaway or win in a sprint. They had plenty of horsepower in the field including life member and recent Bicycle Network Gold Coast Challenge winner Dave Evans who was regularly seen driving the bunch and whenever he went to the front, there were plenty of riders happy to sit on his wheel. With everyone waiting to see how MWCC would race and shutting down any opportunities it came down to the final lap.

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SUVelo looked to form a leadout for father time Nathan Bonaris, with his man lead out man being former MWCC rider Chris Miller, who was traded out of the club on the basis that his performances weren’t up to our desired level. His replacement was long time member Alex Nazarewicz who proved that once again MWCC would outwit and outpace SUVelo, with Alex Nazarewicz comfortably taking the victory for MWCC and after daylight there was the rider from NSCC Matt Osborne in second about half a wheel length in front of SUVelo’s Nathan Bonaris.

Just like the previous round at West Head, we had the fastest rider in the field. Chalk up the victory for MWCC.

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Not content with having the fastest male rider, MWCC went back to back with Monica Dalidowicz in the womens race, showing the rich heritage of the MWCC team with our European talent and investment paying dividends. We just need more riders who’s surnames end in ‘wicz’. Monica took her second win of the series ahead of Di Ainslie and Van Niekerk of Northern Sydney.

In B Grade, many thought that sheer wait of MWCC jerseys should provide a clear domination upon the podium, however the weight of expectation amongst the field had the MWCC riders perform like the Australian swimming team and they simply choked under the pressure and were no where to be seen in the final wash up. In what will have club officials scratching their heads and no doubt the finger pointing of blame will have to commence because how do you have over half the field in an MWCC jersey and yet the NSCC riders take every step of the podium? I know that cycling is the new golf, but i didn’t think everyone would have Greg Norman as their idol and simply crumble when the win was right there.

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While many may be surprised as this writer at the makeup of the NSCC podium, Tai Huynh in first, Matt Garnon in second and third place Andy Logan. This team could be mistaken as a team of gymnasts given the number of backflips they do between A grade, B grade, A grade and back to B grade depending on the day of the week. Dr Jekyll didn’t have this many personalities, not that I am making any accusations, this behaviour is about as clean and trustworthy as a Russian athletes drug sample.

C Grade was a similar story of despair for the MWCC statistician’s with a case of the disappearing MWCC jerseys when it came down to crunch time with Paddy Dillon of SUVelo taking the victory ahead of Lee Watts and Michael Tristam both of NSCC. It seems the C graders must be sharing stories with the Australian BMX riders, how do we came in so highly fancied and then not convert it into victories. The club will have to do some soul searching during the week in order to restore order to the cycling world.

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The D Grade race was won solo by Bob Santone of NSCC, the first ever D Grader to win wearing a skinsuit. With Scott Kestevan (NSCC) in second and third Paul Jurdak of SUVelo.

The end of the day brought about a reshuffling in the order and will lead to a stunning finish next Sunday morning at Heffron Park when MWCC will storm the field to seal victory in the series. Looking at the results, MWCC needs to change its win at all costs attitude and needs to move away from just having outright victories and also collect a few podiums. We need to accept that it is okay to come second and third, something that Northern Sydney have made an artform out of. They are very good at losing and being the first loser in second and it has proved vital in the series point score. RBCC have truly become an orphan and are anchored to the bottom of the leaderboard.

After three rounds we can look at the following table:

MWCC      SUVelo     NSCC    RBCC

1st        8             5             2             0

2nd      1              3             9            2

3rd       2              4            7             2

With three points for a win, two points for a second and 1 point for a third, this has resulted in Northern Sydney moving into first place with 31 points, ahead of MWCC on 28, SUVelo on 25 and RBCC on 6 points. Perhaps we should change the scoring system to 4  points for a win? Who would have thought that being a loser like NSCC would be so successful? While MWCC has more victories than the other clubs combined, it seems perverse and somewhat sickening that they aren’t leading the tally. While order will soon be restored come Sunday, it does make for some exciting racing given that the host club seems to score additional points and that could be enough to boost SUVelo from third into second behind MWCC and NSCC dropping to third which would be the most likely outcome.

Be ready to gear up this Sunday morning for the final round of Battle of the Bridge.

Sign-on from 7am
C/D/Women: 7.30 am start
A/B: 8.30am start

Food, coffees and presentations afterwards at The Greenhouse in Centennial Park.