Velothon Sunshine Coast 2017 was the ultimate winter cycling escape to the sun, bringing together a stunning riding location, dream race set-up and a world class rider experience on and off the bike. With 3 days of riding and a great post ride atmosphere in the Velo Clubhouse, it really was all about The Roads, The Glory and The Banter!
The final day of Velothon Sunshine Coast brought together the seasoned three day riders and fresh legs of the one day competitors for the 152km Coastal Stage. An early morning shower didn’t dampen the spirits of the more than 700 riders in the charge home from Novotel Twin Waters, to the Velothon Clubhouse at Cotton Tree Park in Maroochydore.
Sydney’s Phillip Taaffe scored the stage win (4:30:49) and a win the Master’s category but it wasn’t enough to wrestle the overall lead from Melbourne’s Sean Vintin, who stayed in yellow across the three days. Brisbane doctor Rachel Effeney also kept her perfect record intact, winning the final stage (4:46:47) and taking home the much sought after leader’s jersey.
Stage three capped off a sensational weekend for Sean Vintin, who headed north from a chilly Victoria with no expectations and left as the winner of the inaugural Velothon Sunshine Coast.
“I have done stage racing as an endurance runner but never on a bike so I didn’t know what to expect. It is a lot easier on the body than I am used to but the three days have been a roller coaster. The first day I didn’t expect to do as well as I did and finishing first, I put a lot of pressure on myself mentally and I really struggled to sleep on the first night. The second day was going to be make or break for me and I felt terrible. It wasn’t my kind of stage, it was flat and fast and I am not a sprinter, so my plan was just to hang on, get through the day and try and get some sleep. I managed to do that and felt fantastic today. It has been a roller coaster and it hasn’t been easy for sure.”
“My training is a minimum of 90km a day, so I wasn’t worried about backing up day to day and the hills don’t scare me. I had no expections, but Velothon has exceeded everything. I have really loved the coverage on social media and it has been awesome watching the videos at the hotel at the end of the day. I had a few questions leading into the event and the organisers were really fantastic in responding and the communication has been really good. The course has been great and but it has been hard to appreciate some of the scenery while I have had my head down, staring at wheels, breathing heavily and thinking about strategies. But I now have two days off to enjoy the region and that is what I am going to do.”
“It was very chatty up the front, very friendly and I would love to do it again. I have a lot of friends in the cycling community who I ride with regularly and I will definitely try and get them up here next year. There are a lot of strong riders I ride with regularly, so maybe next year we can enter a team and try and take out that category,” Sean said.
Women’s winner Rachel Effeney said that day three provided plenty of surprises she hadn’t counted on, but it didn’t stop the cycling rookie from turning in another strong performance.
“It was brutal for a third day. Good but tough with lots of hills that just kept coming. It has been a great event and I have really enjoyed it. Tough riding but a great atmosphere and I would love to come back next year. Why wouldn’t you want to do three days of cycling on the Sunshine Coast. I would definitely encourage people to enter.”
“I am trying to get into racing, so I have a few events coming up in Brisbane but my main focus is a cycling tour of Japan coming up in August. So this has been a perfect preparation for that. I have eight days of cycling around the mountains of Japan which I am looking forward to,” Rachel said.
Norwegian student Kjell Oeyen picked up line honours in the 90km option on Day Three, adding an international flavour to the Velothon. Kjell is on the coast to mix his studies with glorious weather, the Aussie atmosphere and take in new influences.
“I rode in Norway as a junior about five years ago, so I used to do quite a bit of riding but I have had a few years off just riding for fun but I still get some kms in. I wanted to do the three day event this year but I have my family over from Norway and we have been on vacation in the Whitsundays, the Gold Coast and I have been showing them around the Sunshine Coast. So I haven’t been riding, just drinking beer and eating chips. If I am still here studying I think next year I would do the entire three days,” he said.
Sydney’s Ben Smith just happened to be on the Sunshine Coast celebrating his birthday when he found out about the event.
“A mate said he was doing a ride and that I should join him. I brought my bike up but did absolutely no training and had a nice bottle of red with dinner last night so it was the perfect preparation. The ride was great and staring up the coast was ideal. It was a little bit damp at the beginning but as we turned inland it dried up and the climb up Gyndier is a highlight and sorted the men out from the boys. It is a unique event being back to back for a couple of days, so if I can get some more kms in the legs and some time off work and give myself a better preparation I would absolutely think about doing the three day Velothon next year,” he said.
Velothon Sunshine Coast returns next year with the event to be held from 12-15 July, 2018. Entries open on Thursday 21 September 2017.
Velothon Sunshine Coast General Classifications