VELOTHON CLIMBS TO NEW HEIGHTS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST
20 July 2018
Velothon has returned to the Sunshine Coast and day one kicked off with riders tackling the beautiful but at times testing 118km journey through the stunning hinterland and local towns.
Sydney’s Alex Malone and local rider Lucy Coldwell head the leader board, with stunning displays of climbing setting them up with a sizeable time gaps as the three day event heads into the flatter and shorter 88km Glasshouse Mountain stage tomorrow.
Malone arrived at Velothon without any expectations and was initially looking forward to the warm weather and some welcome time on the bike, but soon found himself in the thick of the action.
“We had a fairly relaxed start and as soon as we turned onto the main road the groups all strung out and I thought ‘Holy moly there are people racing here and I need to get among this action’.”
“That was a serious course. With about 20km to go I said to one of the guys we were with most of the day this is about the third piece of flat road we’ve had all day. It was unrelenting and the final climb, wow. Tough but fun.”
“For me there were a lot of surprises. There is a crew of my pals back in Sydney and we all love these Fondo weekends and this is kind of an extension of that. Three days of race if you want, ride if you want and there is no stress. You will get through the course whether you are at the front or at the back.”
Malone worked with last year’s runner up and fellow Manly Cycling Club member Phillip Taaffe to control the race from the front. Taaffe once again finds himself in second place overall, much to the delight of his family.
“I was second here last year, on this stage and overall. I think last year’s experience has made a massive difference. This year working with Alex there were three of us away early on. Last year I broke away at the same point but I was solo.”
“Cycling just fits around my wife and three kids and work. It is normally my commute to work and if I get to do a long ride on the weekend it is perfect. It has been a brilliant day. My kids are going to be so happy, happier than I am because they have had high expectations since last year,” he laughed.
Lucy Coldwell’s plans to race the inaugural Velothon were crushed when she was sidelined with a virus, but the one time Scottish Commonwealth Games cyclist was determined to tick her Velothon bucket list in 2018 joining the local Multi-Sport Mecca mixed team.
Using all of her experience Coldwell was dominant on day one, not only as first woman home, but also mixing it with the lead males for much of the ride.
“I really wanted to do this event last year but I was really sick unfortunately, so I was really excited to be able to give it a real good go this year. Being part of a team is really fun as well.”
“The race started and I was just trying to sit in and the pace was pretty high but I didn’t have the fitness to sit on the front and work with those guys. When we hit the first KOM the climbers went off and my legs just didn’t come to the party.”
With a 12 and half minute lead going into the flatter and quicker 88km stage two, the pressure is off Coldwell and she can concentrate on getting in some much needed mileage in preparation for another challenge, the Crocodile Trophy an eight stage MTB race in Cairns in October.
Velothon 2018 also welcomed Armani Gates and Alastair Mackellar from the local Australian Cycling Academy who took the opportunity to mix it up with the competitors while enjoying the relaxing Velothon atmosphere.
“It was beautiful and we loved it,” Gates said. “This is the first time I have ridden some of these roads. Everyone has come up here and wants to get among it. It was really hard from the start but we just stopped and had a chat to all the locals and had a bit of fun. It was a great day and I rolled one km from home to the start line, so it is great to have an event like Velothon in our back yard.”
“I am training for the upcoming National Road Series so this is perfect preparation. Velothon is a good three days and you can go as hard or as easy as you want. Plus you have the KOM sections to really test yourself.”
Mackellar leaves immediately after Velothon for three weeks racing for an Italian team and he was delighted to be able to have a last minute hit out in a relaxed and fun environment.
“It was good to be in a different environment to hang around the guys and have some fun and seeing everyone else out there was great. No matter how many times you do the hills they don’t get any easier, you just get quicker. I am looking forward to tomorrow and a little bit flatter will be nice,” he said.
Velothon 2018 – Stage One Overall Leaders
Pos Cat Name Time
1 Open Alex MALONE (713) 03:29:23
2 Masters Philip TAAFFE (446) 03:29:43
3 Team Luke SALTER (649) 03:38:20
Pos Cat Name Time
1 Team Lucy COLDWELL (689) 03:41:21
2 Grand Masters Shelley NISBET (303) 03:53:51
3 Open Zoe CLAYTON-SMITH (714) 03:56:00
Velothon Sunshine Coast is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. Queensland, just the place to experience Australia’s best live events.