If you weren’t already sure about Cyclo-cross in Australia with massive crowds often seen in Melbourne and Adelaide; the atmosphere at the Rapha SuperCross in Sydney was enough to silence the critics. Along with hot and fast racing, Sky’s Richie Porte made an appearance for the crowds. Held at Sydney Park near Newtown on Saturday, there was plenty for both spectator and competitor alike.
The day kicked off with the elite men’s racing which saw Australian Cyclo-cross champion Allan Iacuone, Adelaide’s Shaun Lewis, Andy Blair, Nick Both, Garry Milburn and others jostle for the lead. Unfortunately the grass course left plenty of riders sidelined with thorn punctures. In the end, it was Focus rider Shaun Lewis who took the win in front of Andy Blair, with Nick Both in third.
Part of the Rapha SuperCross Series is events that bring out the fun of a bicycle race in an urban setting. Costume Cross saw many characters including Where’s Waldo, a beer, Flinstones, clowns and even a polar bear battling the hilly course. Where the elite riders were met with warm and sunny skies, the fun categories were faced with true cross conditions – wind and rain.
Richie Porte of Team Sky was seen at the event enjoying the Sydney sun (for the first half) during his off-season. Cycle clothing specialists and sponsor of Team Sky, Rapha, had invited Richie along as a guest star. When asked about Cyclo-cross in Australia, Porte said “It’s actually the first cross event I’ve seen in person and it’s got a real fun vibe, it’s certainly great to watch”.
Porte went onto mention “Rapha and Jaguar invited me to Sydney this weekend, it’s great to be part of community based events like this. Who knows, perhaps I may even give it a go next year.” Considering Porte’s triathlon background, he’d probably do quite well if his contract allows.
And how is the ProTour star spending his off-season? “I’m just enjoying my time off from training at the moment, I got a mountain bike from Pinarello and I’ve really been loving riding it near home in Launceston. “
With so many happy children on bikes and great crowds, it’s clear that Cyclo-Cross is the perfect family spectator event. There’s little doubt that we’re just seeing the start of Cyclo-cross’s popularity and we anticipate plenty of community based races to appear in 2014.