The Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival’s ‘Super Saturday’ has a developed a reputation as being one of the highlights of the Australian sporting calendar but this year it was even more ‘Super” than normal.
The thousands of spectators crowded into Noosa Parade and those watching on the live Facebook streaming, were treated to some sensational racing in the Men’s and Women’s Australian Open Criterium, the Asics 5km Bolt and the infamous Legend’s Triathlon.
While Mitchelton Scott’s Kaden Groves turned in a sensational solo performance to win the men’s criterium, the outstanding effort of the day went to debutante Georgia Whitehouse and her team mates riding for Sydney Uni Women’s Cycling Team, pulling off the greatest ‘smash and grab’ raid the Noosa Criterium has ever seen.
“I had an exam yesterday and I haven’t got a lot of money, so the best flights were this morning. So, we left Sydney at 9am and caught a bus from the Sunshine Coast airport and now we are going to catch a bus back and then we fly home at 5pm. It was a hit and run, fly in, fly out, collect the win, fly home and be back in my own bed tonight about midnight. That was the plan and amazingly it worked, so we might have to have some wine on the plane to celebrate,” Georgia said.
“I think we will be back and next time we plan to stay for a bit longer. Next time we want to do the triathlon. We are really keen to do a team triathlon, but we are always fighting over who is going to do the run and swim.”
Gympie’s Kaden Groves continued his fine form to score a well-deserved win for his new team in the criterium and clock up another local victory on the famous hotdog circuit.
“It is my third time doing Noosa and my parents have been here every time. So, to win in front of them is pretty nice and it is also great to win in front of a home crowd. Every year I have so much fun coming here, so to win is very special. Today is the last race of my season and it is really nice to close it out with a victory.”
“It was a tough race and it is always hard racing the Sunshine Coast Academy. Being alone in the peloton was pretty hard but I think I rode a pretty good tactical race. I had to stay calm in the breakaway but I was really suffering out there. It is a really hard course but after a good year, with some form I was confident that if I could be in the right position I could win. I went a little earlier than I expected. I wanted to go on the left side on the bridge but being second wheel out of the corner, I knew it would take some very good legs to come over the top and I held on, just.
“Signing with Michelton Scott is very special and a dream come true. Last year I was on the development team and to have a good season, and move up to the pro team is a really good feeling,” Kaden said.
MTB superstar Brendan Johnston showed his sensational bike skills, having a blast on debut and mixing it up in the criterium
“It was great fun out there but as expected it was going to be hard to go up against the big teams, so I was happy to be in the mix a bit. The atmosphere made it very special, it was so cool with so many people hanging over the sides of the barriers and the VIP area cheering every lap. It was nice to put in a special effort for them and try and put some pressure on the front. It was inevitable that the stronger guys would get up for the sprint.”
The Noosa Bolt saw Olympian Genevieve Gregson finally get her long awaited breakthrough victory on Noosa Parade, while Jordy Williamsz made it two wins from three years in the men’s race.
“The hardest thing about the sport we do it that nothing ever goes to plan. I assumed I would feel much better than I did, so the original plan was to make the last two km as fast as possible but I realised running into the wind that I couldn’t shake Rose (Davies). I started to panic a little when that plan was gone, so I thought I would have to back my kick and speed, and wait until the absolute last minute.”
“This is my first Noosa win and you can see by my overreacting how much it means to me. I am a Queenslander and I have been coming here with my family since I was 14. I used to race it and come god knows where and wish I could be in the front pack.”
“In the years since I turned professional I have worked my way so close, coming second one year. After that I didn’t think it was ever going to happen, so those negative thoughts crept into my head during this race and I was thinking maybe I am not meant to win on this course. To cross in first place in front of family and friends is so special. I could see it in their eyes how much it meant,” Genevieve said.
Jordy’s second Noosa win was the highlight of an amazing month that has seen the Melbourne runner string five victories together.
“I am really happy. It is great to come back and win it again. I have some family from Peregian as well and my father came up and he hasn’t seen me run for a while. So I had to win, there was a bit of pressure.”
“The Bolt is probably my most enjoyable race on the road racing circuit. It is a great atmosphere and they do everything well up here. It is awesome to come back every year, but to win it twice is even better.”
“It is a great atmosphere and you can’t get this anywhere else in Australia. It is really good to piggyback on the triathlon culture. The support on course makes such a difference. It is the whole way around the course, so it makes an awesome spectacle. Everything combine Noosa is one of the best races I go to in the world.”
The Noosa Legends Triathlon and bragging rights were won by the superstar team of Courtney Hancock, Robbie McEwen and the flying Jared Hauschildt. To say they were happy with themselves post race, is an understatement.
“From the start Courtney just nailed the swim and followed the feet of Kenny Wallace and Ky Hurst and came in right on them. I don’t want to say I was surprised but it was ‘Yes, we are going to win’. I knew I could sit on the wheels of the good bike riders and Jared could bring it home. It is the best celebrity race ever, because it is the first one I have ever won. So, it was the best by far,” Robbie gloated.
Australian Open Criterium
1 Georgia Whitehouse; 2 Rebecca Wiasak; 3 Matilda Reynolds; 4 Emma Chilton; 5 Jessica Pratt.
1 Kaden Groves; 2 Jarrad Drizners; 3 Taj Jones; 4 Jonathon Noble; 5 Raphael Freienstien.