Pell's crit quest

VICTORIOUS in last month’s Singapore criterium, David Pell is one of the greatest hopes of a hometown victory in tonight’s RetireInvest-backed race on Bendigo’s streets.The 30-lap showdown, which begins in Howard Place and winds its way through Rosalind Park, turns on to View Street and then along Pall Mall, will be an exciting start to the three days of cycling action in the Bendigo International Madison carnival.Pell, 28, finished third in a previous Madison criterium, and is looking forward to racing on the new circuit.“It looks like it will be a really fast course,’’ Pell said yesterday.“I was worried about the bottom corner, but everything should be okay,’’ he said of a sharp left from Howard Place to the bottom of Park Road and left through the gates at Rosalind Park.The field, which includes the stars for the McCaig Airconditioning and Fujitsu-backed Bendigo International Madison, will contest tonight’s race on the streets.Pell has strong criterium form going into this race.The win in Singapore, which used parts of the course used for last year’s Formula One grand prix, was the biggest he had achieved in criterium racing.“The Singapore race was really tough,’’ the Savings & Loans team member said. “There was a lot of rain and the roads were slick.’’Pell also made a solo attack from the bunch to catch a breakaway group of three.“It took me about two laps to catch them.’’Once there he settled into tempo and won a dramatic sprint.Pell said there were many chances in tonight’s race in Bendigo’s CBD.“Cameron Meyer is really strong in any sort of race, as is Glenn O’Shea,’’ Pell added.International stars Franco Marvulli and Leif Lampater will also be aiming to the excite the hundreds of fans lining the circuit.Tonight’s action begins with the women’s 10-lap race at 6.30pm, followed by the men’s 30-lap battle from 7pm.“The turn into Rosalind Park will test everyone,’’ said Pell.“In any criterium it’s important not to get too far back in the bunch.’’The course also shapes as being one where many attacks will be made.For Pell the criterium is the start of another hectic weekend of racing, on the streets or the track.On Sunday night he will contest his ninth Bendigo International Madison when he teams with Joel Pearson.Although approaching double figures of madison starts, Pell said the nerves never go.“It’s a race that every cyclist, especially those from Bendigo, always wants to do well in.’’After the madison, Pell will relax in the lead-up to another major event, marriage to fiancee Leila Bunnett, on March 21.A hectic year of cycle racing for Pell and his teammates will include the Tour of Malaysia from April 17.“There are some big races overseas that we are planning for this year,’’ Pell said.The Tour of Korea and Tour of Japan are on the agenda.The Lake Qing Hai Tour in China is also in Pell’s plans for 2009.

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