Rice sprints to Lady Bay Resort Middle Island Criterium win

Canberra’s Michael Rice has made it two-from-two wins for the Nation’s Capital in Warrnambool at the weekend.

Rice (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) out-sprinted a fast and furious peloton for line honours in the inaugural Lady Bay Resort Middle Island Criterium on Sunday.

The victory comes one day after his friend and fellow Canberran Brendan Johnston (CCS Cycling) took out the 104th Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic.

2019 criterium national champion Brenton Jones was second while 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Steele von Hoff (InForm MAKE) was third.

“Everyone loves the Melbourne to Warrnambool, it’s an historic race in Australia and around the world so to add a criterium like this on the second day it’s great. It means people can hang around town and enjoy the weekend and I think everyone was in a pretty good mood with the way the course went,” said Rice.

The 59 elite men lined up for a 60 minute criterium that took in a short 1.6 kilometre course along viaduct road and finishing outside the Pavilion Café & Bar.

“It’s a real racers criterium. No team really had control, we saw with 5 laps to go we thought the breakaway was going to win and with a bit of breeze off the ocean it makes it even more difficult,” continued Rice.

Early in the race a five rider breakaway formed and gained a 15 second advantage. Ben Hill (Team BridgeLane), Carter Turnbull (InForm MAKE), Lachlan Glasspool (Olivers Racing), Michael Potter (ARA Pro Racing) and Tasman Nankervis (GPM Stultz) rolled turns hoping they would at least be able to win the intermediate sprint points on offer.

That group was brought back by team Butterfields and other individual riders such as Brenton Jones.

Immediately 2019 Australian road race national champion Michael Freiberg (ARA Sunshine Coast) counter-attacked and got a gap. Turnball and Hill held on from the original break to join him along with Alex Lack (GPM Stultz) and Raphael Freienstein (InForm MAKE).

With one lap remaining it was Oliver’s Real Food that drove the bunch to make the catch on the final lap.

Rice attacked the bunch into the second last corner and gained several bike lengths in a matter of seconds to comfortably take the win.

“I think just where the nature of where the finish line was first wheel through the second last corner was going to have their hands up so I said to the boys just get me first wheel through there and I’ll do the rest.

“I put in a pretty big summer with training and racing so it’s nice to finish [the summer] on a high.”

Elite Men Result

1. 1 Michael RICE (ACA) ACT 46:38
2. 10 Brenton JONES (AVV) VIC +0
3. 55 Steele VON HOFF (INF) VIC +0

Result: Masters Men

1. 302 Daniel BUCKNALL (Ballarat / Sebastopol) VIC 44:07
2. 309 Christopher KENNETT (Hamilton) VIC +0
3. 207 Gerard FAULKNER (Port Fairy) VIC +2

Result: Elite Women

1. 101 Kirsty DEACON (Carnegie Caulfield) VIC 44:09
2. 327 Juliette HADDOW (Warragul) VIC +53
3. 326 Anne TAYLOR (Port Fairy) VIC +55

Support Men Result

1. 60 Noah MORTON VIC 30:37
2. 205 Callum MIRTSCHIN (Hamilton) VIC +8
3. 211 Jake HALLYBURTON (Warragul) VIC +13


Click through to find out more about each of the events in this year’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Festival

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