DAY ONE OF CYCLING ACTION CULMINATES IN THRILLING FINISH UNDER THE LIGHTS
Australian cycling legend Robbie McEwen lived up to his top billing last night as he emerged at the front of a thrilling sprint to the line to clinch the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium 2012 in sensational style.
McEwen, who is drawing a close on his illustrious career this year, was a warm favourite heading into tonight’s race and he certainly lived up to all the pre-race hype. Riding in front of a large and vocal crowd at the F1 Pit Building for GreenEDGE Cycling, McEwen narrowly headed off Boy Van Poppel (United Healthcare Pro Cycling) and Matthias Friedmann (Team Champion System) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
New Zealand’s Tom Scully of Chipotle-First Solar was crowned Spectrum Worldwide King of Sprints, decided over the five designated sprint laps around the 1.7km circuit, while Japan’s Yoshmitsu Tsuji was the first Asian cyclist across the finishing line in 13th place.
“I had a feeling it would be a breakaway tonight and I had to be part of it. I had to ride an aggressive race – the six of us out front cooperated really well to keep us away from the pack,” McEwen said.
The 39-year-old’s win continued his impressive record of at least one victory in each of his 17 seasons as a professional.
“It’s my first win of the season and I was hoping to get a win this year so tonight was very special for me,” McEwen added.
The second-placed Van Poppel was gracious in defeat, stating “(McEwen) beat me on the last sprint but it’s not a disgrace to lose to a 12 stage winner of the Tour de France.”
The cycling action got underway earlier in the day with the Masters’ and Women’s Criterium at 5.30pm. Thomas Weigand left the rest of the field in his wake for the Masters while local hero Dinah Chan finished at the front of a strong Women’s field to clinch first place.
The Men’s Open Criterium was an exciting battle from start to finish before Tjarco Cuppens claimed the honours with a barnstorming sprint to the line.
“After watching two outstanding Criterium races early in the evening, the large crowd in attendance was treated to an absolute spectacle when Robbie McEwen sprinted home to become the fourth champion of the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium. He put on a true Criterium master class tonight, finishing ahead of what was the strongest professional field we’ve ever assembled at this event,” said Chris Robb, Managing Director, Spectrum Worldwide.
CRIT RESULTS / THE EXCITEMENT CONTINUES
Today sees Singapore’s young cyclists in action, beginning at 5.45pm with the Tricycle Ride (100m) before the Mighty Savers Kids Rides (5km) get underway from 6.00pm. The Junior Challenge, a 30 minute ride for 10-12 year olds is flagged off at 7.00pm to bring the day’s cycling to a close.
The final day of cycling starts bright and early tomorrow with the flag-off of The Super Challenge (59km) at 5.30am. The Challenge (39km) starts at 6.30am and then the final event of the weekend, The Community Ride (24km), gets underway at 7.30am.
Amateur Criterium Results
1st Tjarco Cuppens
2nd Saiful Anuar
3rd Khairul Azizi
1st Dinah Chan
2nd Serene Lee
3rd Nurul Ahmar Binti Badeuzzaman
1st Thomas Weigand
2nd Nor Effandy Rosli
3rd Sai Keong Leong
5.45pm The Tricycle Ride (100m)
6.00pm The Mighty Savers Kids Ride (5-7 years)
6.30pm The Mighty Savers Kids Ride (8-9 years)
7.00pm The Junior Challenge (30 mins, 10-12 years)
5.30am The Super Challenge (59km)
6.30am The Challenge (39km)
7.30am The Community Ride (24km)