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October 13, 2011
IF FLTLT Damon Stefani and CPL
Chris Holbert had failed to do well in
the ADF road cycling titles in Sydney
from September 15 to 17, who could
have held it against them?
True, they did come first and sec-
ond in last year's titles but that was
history. This year they have both been
busy men off the bike.
FLTLT Stefani, 30, of RAAF Base
Edinburgh, had short deployments
to the Cocos Island and American
Samoa and 10 weeks in Dallas, Texas,
where he assisted on the Project
Coronis P-3 upgrade.
CPL Holbert, 39, of RAAF Base
Williamtown, spent two bikeless
months in the US working on the
Hornet Upgrade Program at China
FLTLT Stefani was going to
give this year a miss, until he got all
inspired by Australian Cadel Evans
winning the Tour de France, and start-
ed training in the Mt Lofty Ranges
eight weeks before the ADF event.
CPL Holbert got back into training
when he got home but he held no great
hopes of doing well at the ADF titles.
"My form is well below what it
was last year so I am not expecting
too much this year," he said in the
lead-up to the race, adding (intuitively
as it turns out), "But you never know."
Well, we now do know.
Against some of the best cyclists
from Air Force, Army, Navy and the
APS, FLTLT Stefani won the title for
the second year in a row. He won the
points classification with victories in the
84km road race and 50 minutes-plus-
two-lap criterium and coming in second
in the 39km time trial.
"It was a fantastic three days of
exciting and well-organised racing so
many thanks to all the riders and sup-
port staff," FLTLT Stefani said.
Just like last year, CPL Holbert
came in second overall, winning the
time trial, finishing third in the road race
and only losing the criterium in a sprint
finish to win the general classification.
Mind you, it was not smooth sailing.
Twenty kilometres into the road
race, he hit a sharp spot on the road
By the time the spares vehicle had
reached him and he had changed the
wheel, the peloton had powered away
"It took me about 10km to catch
them and it took a lot of energy from
me," CPL Holbert said.
He managed to break away in the
last 25km with FLTLT Stefani and PO
Dion Blair but he started to cramp on
the last climb and the other two left
him behind with 1km to go. FLTLT
Stefani outsprinted PO Blair over the
CPL Holbert, who went into the
event hoping to build general classifi-
cation, was philosophical. "I'm not a
sprinter just yet."
He adds, though, that although
he's 39 he has only been road cycling
for three years, coming from a triath-
lon background, so he hasn't had time
yet to develop his sprint.
Take note of that for next year,
RIDING a borrowed bike, CPL Michael
Crummy made quite an impact in his
road cycling debut at the ADF titles.
He finished second in the B grade
road race, eighth in the B grade criteri-
um and third in the B grade time trial.
CPL Crummy, of 37SQN, is better
known as an endurance mountain
biker. Usually, he can be found on a
dual-suspension bike riding the ups
and downs of dusty or muddy tracks.
The weekend after the road titles,
for instance, he was one of the com-
petitors in the Canberra leg of the
Rocky Trail Grand Prix. He finished
seventh in the eight-hour race (which
was reduced to seven hours because
of fading light) and that placing
secured him third place for the series.
His next big date is the Sydney
24-hour race in December.
Like many, he drew inspiration
from the feats of Cadel Evans who
won the Tour de France this year.
Evans started out his competitive
life as a mountainbiker, too, and CPL
Crummy thought it might be fun to
sample cycling on the other side. He
borrowed his bike from a FSGT.
Is he a convert? He laughed.
"Well, I might have another go at
the next ADF titles."
THE Air Force men weren't the
only ones celebrating at the ADF
road cycling titles. LACW Bel
Althaus won the women's divi-
On the way, she showed a
few of the men a clean set of
There were only three
female competitors and they
competed alongside the C-grade
men in their three events.
LACW Althaus, of HMAS
Albatross, finished third in the
26km road race, beating the
nearest woman by 13 minutes.
She bettered the females by
a couple of minutes in the 20
minute + two-lap criterium and
rode a personal best in the 26
km time-trial; more than four
minutes ahead of her nearest
LACW Althaus is no stran-
ger to the titles, having also won
Against the odds
ON THE ROAD: CPL Mick Hernan leads SGT Martin Lewis, PO Dion Blair, CPL Chris Holbert, SGT Tim Grover and
FLTLT Damon Stefani in the men's A-Grade road race, coasting downhill as they follow the mapped course in the
Royal National Park. Below, from right, the women's first, second and third, LACW Belinda Althaus, FLGOFF Bianca
May and Miss Jessica Ho.
Photos: LS Brenton Freind, AB Sarah Williams
CHANGE OF PACE FOR A MOUNTAINBIKER
LACW shows how it's done
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