McEwan a class above
By Adam Wratten
TOUR de France star Robbie McEwen held off a strong challenge from Brisbane's Jarren Poad to win the 10th annual New Year's Day Criterium at Nerang Cycling Centre on Saturday.
Miami-based cyclist Jonathan Cantwell, who was gunning for back-toback victories at the event, emerged from a fast-finishing pack to claim third.
Race organisers were delighted with the turnout.
Gold Coast Goldstars president Tim Francis said it was the most successful criterium held by the club.
''We had a big crowd turn up of about 500 people, and about 170 entrants in the eight races,'' Francis said.
For Cantwell, who has his sights set on the national road championships later this month in Adelaide, his third place continues a consistent run of form which has seen among the top places at his last three races (he also had a fourth place at Surfers Paradise and second at Noosa).
''The heat played a big part in the race,'' Cantwell, 22, said.
''It was a one-hour race and the average speed was about 48kmh.''
He said McEwen and Poad were able to break from the group with a couple of laps to go.
From there it was a battle for third.
''The race was going to plan apart from when Robbie was able to get away.
''It came down to a bunch sprint for third and I was just able to get there.''
After the Australian titles Cantwell heads to Italy in February for the European season.
In the women's race, Bridget Evans, of Brisbane, won ahead of Sally Cowman, also of Brisbane, and the Gold Coast's Candice Sullivan.
Results from the other grades included a victory for Kyle Bateson, of Brisbane, who won the men's B-grade race from Steele Sutton and Lachlan Saunders, both of Brisbane.