December 20, 2007
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Revolution 2 was held last night at Vodafone Arena in front of a sellout crowd, thrilled by the night’s entertainment.
Revolution was created in 2003 by Face Partnership and the Manchester Velodrome to provide a new style of track cycling event in the UK, a style that would increase spectator appeal and change the way people think about the sport.
With the creation of an action packed alternative race program, featuring international road and track stars, presented with a slick, modern style, the Cycling Revolution was born. The racing is fast and the atmosphere is electrifying with music and lighting effects creating a superb night of entertainment for cycling and non-cycling fans alike.
Don’t miss out the next Revolution event – The Austral Wheelrace at Vodafone Arena, March 15 2008
(Photo copyright Herald Sun & Fiona Carnibella)
By David Culbert JUMP MEDIA
If Stuart O’Grady is the current super-star of Australian cycling then Geelong teenager Leigh Howard is clearly the future face of the sport, after producing a stunning win in the Melbourne Cup on Wheels at Vodafone Arena in Melbourne tonight.
The 18-year-old auto electrician managed to haul in Athens Olympic gold medallist Graeme Brown in the final lap of a star-studded final of one of Australia’s most revered handicap events to claim his second win in the event.
It capped off a winning double for the rising star after also holding off Brown to win the scratch race earlier in the evening.
In the feature race of a drama-filled night played out in front of a sell-out crowd of 5000 fans, Stuart O’Grady produced a gutsy performance to lead for the last ten laps of the Champions Race.
The Olympic champion, who claims to be only 70 percent fit as he still recovers from a nasty spill at this year’s Tour de France, displayed why he is still regarded as one of the world’s best track racers, maintaining his front position to the line in the ‘Derny’ race where all six competitors had their own individual motor pace for the 30-lap affair.
“There was a lot of noise from the crowd and a lot of noise from my heart,” an exhausted O’Grady said after completing two laps of honour to celebrate the win.
“I looked up at the line and saw we had 14 laps to go and I wish I hadn’t looked. I was on the limit for the last 15 to 16 laps and I tried to break it down - eight laps to go, that’s two kays. It was tough,” O’Grady said.
In the Melbourne Cup on Wheels final, Howard was the 3-1 favourite with the punters and started from the scratch mark alongside Brown and Sydney Olympic Games gold medallist Brett Aitken.
Despite the quality opposition the teenager displayed all the maturity and talent of his much more experienced rivals to claim victory in the 71st edition of the event.
Following his first win as a 16-year-old in 2005, Howard now sits alongside some of the greats in Australian track cycling, by becoming just the fifth rider to win two titles and the fifth to win from the scratch mark. The last man to score a winning double was 1984 Olympic gold medallist Dean Woods who claimed the 1983 and 1989 titles and Howard will return next year aiming to join the legendary Sid Paterson (1961-63) as the only man to have won three Melbourne Cup’s.
“It was fantastic to come around Graeme Brown on the last lap, it’s not a bad effort to do that to an Olympic champion,” an elated Howard said after the race.
“I trained with him and the (Australian) track squad before the Sydney World Cup and they are all top blokes. Browny is an Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder,” Howard said.
Despite having already won two world junior titles on the track, Howard is not yet ready to elevate himself into the company of Brown and his idol Stuart O’Grady.
“They are great mentors; they know the whole scene backwards. Stuey is an icon for me and what he has done is phenomenal.”
“I’m probably not looking at Beijing, more like London. It’s a pretty tough ask when you look at the quality we have and the Olympics are next year.”
Earlier in the evening, the program was delayed for more than 15 minutes following a spectacular crash in the ‘Future Stars’ under 18 2000m dash. With 150m remaining a fallen rider caused a domino effect on the field, bringing down 13 riders in the 17-strong field. (see photo left)
Bendigo teenager Jamie Crass, 17, miraculously escaped serious injury after cart wheeling out of control along the perimeter fence for nearly ten metres. Half a dozen riders were treated for cuts and abrasions, but all walked away from the incident.
The capacity crowd held their breath as one by one the riders rose to their feet. Crass spun 360-degrees on a number of occasions across the fence lining the track but miraculously escaped without any injuries.
In other events, dual Olympic champion won the men’s sprint final in impressive style and Victorian Shane Perkins claimed the men’s keirin final.
Anna Meares won the women’s sprint and sister Kerrie captured the women’s keirin.
Kate Cullen took out the women’s scratch race, Graeme Brown returned to easily win the elimination race and then took out the final event of the night to win the points race.