Crome, Pieters cause Madison upset

PICTURE GALLERY: Bendigo International Madison

BENDIGO'S Sam Crome and Dutch ace Roy Pieters stunned their highly-rated rivals as they won Sunday night's Bendigo International Madison track cycling classic.

Racing in the Giant colours, Crome and Pieters were the giant-slayers in the 200-lap classic.

They lapped the field at 37 laps to go and withstood many spirited attacks to reign supreme.

"This is an unbelievable feeling," Crome said.

"To win this race before a home crowd is an unbelievable feeling.

"We knew we could not win on sprints, so we waited for our time to attack."

They took on and beat a star-studded field which included Germany's Christian Grassman and Leif Lampater chasing back-to-back titles.

Eaglehawk's Glenn O'Shea was also back chasing a third Bendigo International Madison title.

Now based in Adelaide, O'Shea joined forces with Alex Edmondson.

Both are triple world champions on the track and went in as hot favourites  to win the McCaig Airconditioning and Daikin-backed classic.

An engrossing battle  ended with Crome and Pieters a lap up and 16 points in a gruelling test on the Tom Flood Sports Centre track.

Runners-up were Mandurang's George Tansley and South Australia's Miles Scotson on 67 points.

Both are based at the South Australia Sports Institute.

O'Shea and Edmondson were third overall on 65 points and a lap down.

What became the race-winning move was the solo attack by Crome and Pieters at 37 laps to go.

The tactics were not complicated.

"I said to Sam it's time to go," Pieters said of what was to be a remarkable move.

After a stirring chase spurred on the hundreds of fans, Crome and Pieters latched on to the back of the field and were race leaders.

They withstood plenty of spirited attacks over the last 25 laps to achieve the biggest victories of their careers.

Nerves for Crome-Pieters fans were frayed slightly when O'Shea-Edmondson joined Grassman-Lampater to attack at 13 to go.

They gained ground ever so slightly before Crome put in a huge chase for the field to be back together.

From there it was 13 more laps for Crome and Pieters to endure in what was one of the most memorable finishes to an event that began in 1972.

The win by Crome and Pieters is one of the biggest shocks in Bendigo International Madison history.

Although they were well down the list in the market and on sprint points, team 12 caught others off guard and could not be reeled in.

Fans were treated to exciting sprint duels and many attacks to gain or regain a lap.

The super sprint at five laps in was taken out by Scott Law from his brother Jackson to be the race leaders on eight points.

By the 20-lap mark O'Shea-Edmondson were within a point of the Laws on the leaderboard.

Former Bendigo-based cyclist Haydn Bradbury and team-mate Luke Roberts teamed with young guns Matt Ross and Lucas Hamilton to gain the first lap at 35 laps in.

An attack by O'Shea-Edmondson sparked a reaction similar to a stick being poked in an ants nest within the main pack

Attacks kept on rolling and seven teams were zero laps down after 53 laps in a dramatic start.

Horsham's Mark O'Brien and Sam Witmitz figured in a lot of the early attacks, but it was O'Shea-Edmondson and New Zealand stars Shane Archbold and Dylan Kennett who kept on racking up the sprint points.

O'Shea-Edmondson hit the front after lapping the field by themselves at 152 laps to go.

By the halfway mark O'Shea-Edmondson were leading the charge on 34 points from Archbold-Kennett 24, Tansley and Scotson 23.

Grassman-Lampater were desperate to gain a lap, but were pounced on most times.

In the end it was Crome and Pieters who charged into cycling folklore.

This is an unbelievable feeling. We knew we could not win on sprints, so we waited for our time to attack. - Sam Crome

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