Southbank Criterium Report

News & Results

12/7/2004| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Matt White and Matt Wilson. Photo copyright Ian Melvin/
Matt White and Matt Wilson. Photo copyright Ian Melvin/

Southbank Criterium Report

Davis takes the win.

Australia: a land of sunshine, beautiful beaches and beautiful people. Just so long as you weren't one of the thousands lining Little Stanley Street at the International Criterium in Brisbane on Sunday, you could be right.  Instead of the usual sub tropical climate we had all expected, 'Brissie' had a surprise in store for us all - spectators and riders alike.  Just minutes before the full field of 80 riders was due to begin, the threatening storm clouds finally unleashed the torrential rain that they been threatening for hours.



Appearing relaxed before the start, a tanned looking Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) played down his chances of success.  "Ah, I've only been back on the bike for 3 weeks.  Ask me in 30 minutes how my legs are!"  Around him the creme de la creme of Australian road cycling was assembled for one of their few opportunities to show their appreciation for the support that the Australian public offer them whilst they're in Europe for 9 months of each year.



With a little over a quarter of the race distance gone, the winning break formed.  First to attack was local rider Jayson Austin.  Rapidly joining him were Kiwi Jaaron Poad, Allan Davis, last year's winner Mark Roland and Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Davitamon) looking resplendent in his Green Tour de France livery.  This cinquette rapidly established a healthy lead as the led bunch seemed to lose all interest in the chase.



By half distance the race was effectively over as the break led by half a lap.  Still leading the chasers were Brad McGee, Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson.  Sitting just behind were fellow pro's Matt Wilson (Cofidis), Nick Gates and Henk Vogels (Lotto-Davitamon).  Further back in the field and looking rather uncomfortable in the slippery conditions was Cadel Evans in one of his final appearances for the German T-Mobile squad.


With just two laps to go, the leading break had the remnants of the bunch in their sights.  First to attack was Poad, recent leader of the Tour of Queensland.  This move was quickly covered by Davis and two set about establishing a winning attack.  As the two escapees crossed the line at the start of the final lap, just seconds behind was McEwen, desperately trying to regain contact for the sprint just under 1 km away.  Catching glimpses of the riders through the chique street cafes, it became obvious that the rain soaked duo would not be caught.  Arriving on the finish straight practically side by side, it was Davis with the more rapid turn of speed who drove hard down the left hand side of the road, winning by a bike length.



After a series of eventful years riding for the Navigators team in the USA, Henk Vogels is returning to Europe in 2005 to join forces with fellow Aussies Robbie McEwen, Nick Gates and Cadel Evans at the new Lotto-Davitamon squad.  The former classics specialist had a relatively quiet race, sitting out of trouble at the front of the bunch.  With just 5 laps remaining, and without a chance of catching the leaders, Vogels pulled to one side and headed straight for the riders enclosure.  He later explained that he'd been suffering with a sore knee throughout the race and eventually decided to quit rather than risking a pre-season broken collar bone.


The two-race series moves down to Surfers Paradise for the second race on 12th December.  For more information log on to


Watch out for up coming interviews with both Allan Davis and Henk Vogels exclusively on


More race photos:





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