Riders and Locals Embrace Velothon Sunshine Coast
14 July 2017
Competitors in Velothon Sunshine Coast have embraced the brutal hinterland climbs and the warmth and support of local communities, endorsing the inaugural event as an outstanding success and a must do ride for any keen cyclist. Day one of the three day Velothon Sunshine Coast, saw riders from all over Australia and New Zealand testing out the stunning hinterland course, with most agreeing that it was “brutally beautiful”.
Day one honours went to Melbourne rider, Sean Vintin who not only picked the overall leader’s classification in 3:39:44 but also the much sought after King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey. Vintin describes himself as a casual rider but there was nothing casual about his relentless attack on the 118km Hinterland Stage.
“I only picked up cycling about five years ago when I arrived from the UK and I did a lot running road races but I got too many injuries, so cycling seemed a lot easier on the body. I have been doing casual rides in the Alpine Classic and Three Peaks and doing pretty well in those so this is the first event I have put a decent amount of effort into to trying to get a good placing. It has worked out well so far.”
Escaping the freezing condition in the hills around Kinglake in Victoria is one of Vintin’s reasons for racing Velothon Sunshine Coast, but he is also looking forward to exploring the area in a more leisurely pace once the racing is over.
“We stayed a group until about the first King of the Mountain but being quite a small guy, only weighing 69kg and having a light bike I excel at hill climbing. That is what I love to do, so my plan was to try and do well on the hills and the KOM. I dropped the bunch on the first one and there was a lone breakaway ahead of me.”
“I didn’t know whether to chase him or wait for the group but I felt good and just pressed on. I didn’t see him for the majority of the ride but near the end I saw the police lights of the lead car. I saw he was slowing down and I was feeling good. I caught him and had a chat and hung around for a few minutes but on the last KOM section I just booted it and was first across the line.”
“It has been gorgeous, great weather, great support staff and great volunteers and the traffic management has been fantastic. My aim is to enjoy the ride, have a holiday and see some of the hinterland areas. I am looking forward to enjoying some of the breweries after the race. I am going to stay here until Tuesday and spend some time in Noosa as well relaxing, seeing some sights and drinking some beer,” he predicted.
Weekend Sunrise Weather presenter James Tobin got a firsthand taste of Veloton Sunshine Coast and was blown away by the sheer beauty of the hinterland and challenge of the course.
“It is definitely tough, lots of hills but when you got to the top of the climbs onto the ridgeline it was spectacular, stunning hinterland scenery. We had this amazing view down onto the coast and the fog was sitting over the valley. It was just beautiful. It definitely made riding the hills worthwhile and the support was just phenomenal.”
“The locals all came out, the school kids were all cheering their lungs out, the motorists were really courteous and understanding. It was just a great day on the bike, big smiles and people getting to know each other. Although we were all pretty happy to get up that last climb and across the finish line.”
“Tomorrow I am doing Weekend Sunrise weather from Rick’s Diner which we went past on the stage today. It is a fantastic retro café so if people are supporting riders they can come and do it with us from there. On Sunday we are going to be Velothon HQ and hopefully a few people will be finishing at the time we are there, so we will be the official after party,” Tobin said.
Velothon ambassador Jon Leighton echoed Tobin’s thoughts thanking the local community for the support that helped day one exceed all the rider’s expectations.
“A multi day stage race in Australia is a very rare thing, so thank you to Buderim and all the local communities for hosting us. Every school we passed the children came out and clapped and I couldn’t help myself and sat up in the saddle and didn’t worry about the guys I was chasing and just gave a clap to the kids a clap. It was fantastic. I think they thought it was the Tour de France coming through, they didn’t distinguish between us old amateurs and the real pros. So we had to give them a clap to show some respect to the kids.”
Female overall leader and King of the Mountain, Brisbane rider, Rachel Effeney summed the day up very succinctly.
“I entered because Velothon looked like a great event and it was a chance to get out and do three days of riding. Everyone should have been here, it is definitely better than being at work on a Friday,” she said.
Perth riders, Matthew Tognini and Paul Prottey made the trip across country to compete in Velothon and they were also full of praise for the inaugural event.
“We saw it advertised in a magazine, then it was advertised on the TV in Perth and then we saw Matt Keenan do a review on one of the cycling shows. I spoke to Matt and he said it was a fantastic course and that we should go over and do it,” Tognini said.
“It is really hilly, nothing in Perth compares to this. We don’t have anything like it. I think it is harder than the profile shows but it was one of the best days I have had on bike in a long, long time but mind you it was one of the hardest. We are not thinking about day 2 or 3 and I am just doing it day by day at the moment. The message to our mates who didn’t come over is definitely next year. Gotta come next year because you are missing out.”
Velothon Sunshine Coast - Results Stage One