The State of Matter MAAP team just wrapped up its first race for 2016 in the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. ‘The Bay Crits,’ as they are known, is a 4 stage criterium series held around Port Phillip Bay.
Kicking off on New Years day, stage 1 was a hot-dog circuit held on Geelong’s Ritchie Boulevard. The race was dominated by Orica-GreenEDGE, but it was SofM MAAP who had everyone talking. Alex Smyth took out one of the three sprints, and Luke Parker narrowly missed a podium, finishing 4th.
Stage 2 took place on the notoriously windy Eastern Beach Park in Geelong and, with a typically strong wind on the day, the circuit claimed plenty of victims. Josh Taylor (SofM MAAP) teamed up with MAAP Ritte rider James Cummings to form an early break, providing plenty of excitement. In the end, Luke Parker had another strong showing finishing 6th, with Jesse Kerrison awarded 10th. Alex Smyth contested two sprints and took out a 2nd and a 3rd.
By the time the race got to Portarlington for stage 3, the SofM MAAP team was generating plenty of interest and not just for their strong riding. The young guns earned a reputation in those opening 2 days for being aggressive, bold, and gritty enough to hang on when plenty of others were shelled.
Stage 3 proved to be a crazy stage, with solo breaks, some big names crashing, and then finally a bunch sprint for the win. Pat Shaw from Avanti narrowly outsprinted our own Daniel Fitter, giving SofM MAAP its first podium, just 3 days into 2016! It was a brilliant effort by Dan and the whole team were rewarded for their strong showing with a motor-pacing session back to Geelong!
The biggest day of the Bay Crits is always Stage 4 in Williamstown. The last stage of the series, a packed crowd and a short, tight circuit means the racing is hard and fast. Josh Taylor was back at it again, attacking solo early and leading for a number of laps before being pulled back. Unfortunately the race was marred by a big crash on the second last lap which split the bunch and saw only 20 riders finish the stage.
Luke Parker finished 7th on GC and Daniel Fitter came in 9th, with Alex Smyth finishing 4th in the Sprint Classification. These are great results for the guys and creates plenty of excitement for the year ahead.
SofM MAAP took out 4th in the Teams Classification, behind the 3 biggest teams in the race. An amazing result for a very young team. Importantly the guys raced hard and represented their team admirably throughout the week. Next up – Nationals!