If you’re looking for the happiest winner on Sturt St today then look no further, Blake Agnoletto is your man.
The ARA Skip Capital sprinter and track rider won the under-23 men’s criterium from a reduced group of six after his Queensland-based team played a near-perfect race at the Federation University RoadNats Ballarat.
With eight laps remaining, Agnoletto’s teammates Declan Trezise and Oliver Bleddyn found themselves in the winning breakaway, which was formed in no small part thanks to the impetus of newly-crowned time trial champion Jackson Medway (Team BridgeLane).
With numbers in front, Bleddyn and Trezise drove the break to set up Agnoletto for the sprint victory, with a surprise silver medal heading to Matthew Fox (South Coast CC) and bronze to Western Australian John Carter, who solo bridged a 20-second gap to the front of the race in the closing laps.
“It was amazing. The way the other boys rode with me and for me, it just shows how close we’ve come as a team over the last year. Spending a lot of time in Europe, we know how each other rides,” Agnoletto said.
“We had a plan and we executed it perfectly. A big ups to Declan Trezise and Oli Bleddyn; I owe them big time. What an awesome ride.
“It’s everything. This is my first under-23 national title. I obviously did it in the Madison with Kell (O’Brien), but to get second in this last year, and now to get first, I just wasn’t getting second today. I just knew coming in, I needed to win this.
“You could probably see after the line I was pretty ecstatic.”
Oscar Gallagher launches long to win junior men’s criterium title
Melburnian pocket rocket Oscar Gallagher has won the junior men’s criterium national championship by several bike lengths in a show of dominance on Sturt St.
Gallagher sat in the bunch waiting to pounce and played his card perfectly, albeit a little early by his own accord, launching to the win with 400 metres to go.
Luke Richert finished as the best of the rest behind in second, followed by Thomas Butler on the final step of the podium.
“I think you’ve got to believe, otherwise you won’t win, so yeah, I definitely believed I could win but it’s just a matter of putting the work in,” Gallagher said.
“The race plan was just to keep the breaks under control and then have a lead-out and launch with about 150m, 200m to go.
“But nothing ever goes to plan so I launched at 400m to go and then just held on with a gap of about 10 metres I think, so that was pretty solid.”
U23 Men Criterium
Blake AGNOLETTO (ARA Skip Capital)
Matthew FOX (South Coast CC)
John CARTER (X-Speed Australia CC)
Junior Men Criterium
Oscar GALLAGHER (Blackburn CC)
Luke RICHERT (Gold Coast CC)
Thomas BUTLER (Brunswick CC)