Which is more prestigious? A stage or series victory at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic criteriums or a national championship in that discipline, asks Philip Gomes.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:37 PM


Sorry to say but it's very likely that each of the four Jayco Bay Classic Criteriums are more prestigious than tonight's Aus Crit Champs.

The above was a very interesting tweet from Australian cycling legend
Scott McGrory last night, prior to the opening event at the Mars Cycling
Australia National Road Championships.

Now to a certain extent I
get Scott's point. And who is better placed to make that point than a
former Bay Crit stage winner and Olympic Gold Medal winning speed demon?


And Scott had Twitter support in the form of SBS's cycling analyst David McKenzie, which makes that view hard to argue against, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

By
any objective measure the Bay Crits sported a deep and classy field,
but what did that depth mean given that the early season start and style
of racing was unlikely to suit some riders?

The four race series
was largely a leg stretcher for the majority, particularly the
WorldTour guys who have a long season ahead of them.

It was also
obvious at the Bay Crits many of the big hitters were keeping their
powder dry for the main games to come, the road nationals and the Santos
Tour Down Under.

At least at the national criterium
championship race you had a self selecting field more likely to be
skilled and motivated in that short fast form of racing, which in theory
makes for a better competition.

And then there is the fact that the field at the Bay Crits was beaten twice, by a 17 year-old.

Yes,
young Caleb Ewan looks the goods as a future pro but I'd suggest his
wins could also be attributed to elite riders running with engines
yet to be fully tuned.

So, pedals were turned at the Bay Crits
but probably not with as much anger as you would see if something really
serious was on the line.

And at the criterium championships that is exactly what was happening - there was a green and gold motivator.

I'd
agree that the criterium championship is secondary to the prestige of
an open road title but wearing the green and gold for a year at races
around the world or at home is something that matters in a way that a
Bay Crits jersey does not, no matter the event.

And I have no
doubt our new national champions, Genesys Wealth Advisers Anthony
Giacoppo, and Alexis Rhodes of the GreenEDGE-AIS squad sees the green and gold they are going to wear on several
continents this year, as more important than any stage win at the
Bay Crits.

Of course there is an easy solution to this little
debate. Make the overall winner of the Bay Crits the National Criterium
Champion.

Sure it wouldn't be a part of the official national
championships week but it's a perfect fit and I reckon you would have a
winner beyond reproach.

Twitter: @Philip_Gomes