Press Release Courtesy of Gennie Sheer, Cycling Australia
BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships
January 16 – 19, 2003, Ballarat - Victoria
17th January, 2003
Queensland’s Ben Day, 24, today won the men’s 39km time trial crown at the BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships by a clear margin over pre-race favourite Michael Rogers (ACT) at Buninyong near Ballarat, Victoria.
Day, who last year claimed the bronze medal in the event posted a time of 52min26.37sec to be 12 seconds faster than Rogers, 23, (52.40:18) who claimed his second successive silver medal in the national time trial. Adrian Laidler , 21, (SA) took the bronze medal and the Australian U/23 crown in 53:52.69.
“This is easily my biggest win and it’s just incredible!” said Day, who was the second last rider to leave the start ramp with Rogers last to ride the race against the clock. “I knew Mick (Rogers) was behind me but in a time trial you can’t really race against another rider you just have to give it everything you’ve got until the end and hope it’s enough.”
“If you get beaten, you get beaten,” said Day . “But I won and it’s fantastic.”
In 2000 Day won the Australian National Road Series and the prestigious Grafton to Inverell road race. Last year he won the time trial stage of the Volta Algarve in Portugal and this year he will race with a Portugese registered Division Two professional team.
Rogers says he’s disappointed but not surprised by the result.
“I haven’t been training specifically for this time trial and I know that Ben has been working towards this for a few months,” said Rogers who rode on a bike he was forced to borrow yesterday because his Quick Step – Davitamon professional team bike was accidentally left his time trial bike behind in Europe when the team flew to Australia last week to prepare for the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
Ironically in 2002 he claimed the lead in the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under on a borrowed bike after colliding with a motorbike on the penultimate stage of the race through the Barossa Valley. He went on to claim overall honours and will next week defend that title in South Australia.
”I’m making a bit of a habit of this borrowed bike thing,” said Rogers. “It might have made a little difference to be on a bike I was familiar with but it might not have.”
“I started after Ben and was given constant updates of his times through the course,” said Rogers. “I knew at the 20km mark he was going well and I tried to go with him but I just couldn’t.”
Rogers finished second last year behind Nathan O’Neill, who did not ride in defence of his title today due to team commitments in America, and admits it’s not a placing he is happy with.
“I told someone the other day that if I had $10 for every time I’d finished second I’d be a very rich man,” said Rogers, who as a junior in 1998 and again in 1999 in the U/23 ranks claimed World Championship silver medals in the time trial event. He also finished second in the time trial at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Manchester behind team mate Cadel Evans.
“But you know, if I keep tapping away I might start winning them,” said Rogers who since 1994 has collected two Commonwealth Games gold and one silver medal, two World Championship gold and four silver medals and eleven Australians titles along with six silver and three bronze medals in events on both the track and road.
Both Day and Rogers powered through the course and each overtook two riders who had started ahead of them, (Cyclists started at two minute intervals).
The field battled a strong head wind on the back straight of the course but, unlike yesterday’s women’s event where the final five kilometres was straight into the wind, the men had a tailwind into the finish.
“I think we hit about 70 kilometres an hour on the final five k’s,” said Day. “My car doesn’t even go that fast so it must have a been a strong tailwind.”
The 2003 BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships continue tomorrow at 11am.
Saturday January 18th – Women’s Road Race – 100km
Sunday January 19th – Men’s Road Race – 180km
Full details of the 2003 BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships and rider profiles can be found on the Cycling Australia website – www.cycling.org.au