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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Cycling News Flash for September 12, 2004

Edited by Gerard Knapp

Wood nails 2004 World Cup in Germany

Oenone Wood with coach Warren McDonald earlier this year at the Aust Nationals
Photo ©: Mark Gunter

German rider Petra Rossner may have taken the win, with Angela Brodtka in second, but with Australian rider Oenone Wood in third place, the 23 year-old Australian won the 2004 UCI Women’s Road Cycling World Cup after the ninth and final round raced in Nurnberg, Germany on Sunday.

Wood went into the 117km Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt with a significant points lead but because of a rule change by the International Cycling Union (UCI), today’s event carried double points.

This increased the pressure on Wood as three rivals were close enough to overtake her if she had a bad day. At the end and despite Rossner's win, Wood finished 41 points clear of the German champion.

“Pretty relieved was the main emotion I felt when I crossed the line,” said Wood after the race. “There’s been a fair bit of pressure because I’ve had the jersey all year and in every race I have had to get a result.

“But the team worked really well again and it’s great to see all the hard work everyone’s put in has paid off.” Wood lined up with Olivia Gollan, Amy Safe, Margaret Hemsley, Lorian Graham and Natalie Bates out to make sure they protected her lead.

The race was contested in wet, slippery conditions which led to several crashes during the race including one two laps from the finish which split the field in half. “Parts of it were pretty miserable and for the whole race the roads were wet,” said Wood. “At different stages the rain just came pouring down so you had to be really careful.”

Safe and Bates fell victim to the slippery conditions but both escaped without serious injury. Several breaks formed during the race but with Rossner’s Nurnberger team desperate for her to claim the win in their home event a bunch sprint finish was always on the cards. As it turned out it was Wood who led out the sprint.

“The last kilometre was an absolute mess because everyone wanted to get up for the sprint,” explained Wood. “I kept getting boxed in and then back in position and then boxed in again but 300m to go I had a clear run on the outside so I went for it.” Behind her a crash claimed half the field but the major sprinters were already clear.

“Fifty metres from home Petra (Rossner) and Angela (Brodtka) came round me but I knew then I had held on for the series win,” said Wood who crossed the line with her arms raised to celebrate the end of a hard fought competition as Rossner (2.53.49) celebrated the race win and Brodtka sprinted home second.

Wood took the World Cup leader’s jersey when she claimed victory in the opening round in Geelong, Australia in March and through consistent performances (including a second place and three third places) has held the lead for the entire series. Wood, also the current Australian Champion for both the road race and time trial, recently finished fourth in the road race at the Athens Olympic Games after working hard to support team mate Sara Carrigan who claimed gold. Wood then lined up in the road time trial in Athens where she placed sixth.

While Wood claimed series honours with 334 points, 41 clear of Rossner. For Australian women’s coach Warren McDonald today’s victory means a good night’s sleep might now be possible. “I don’t think I’ve slept all year but now I’m over the moon,” said McDonald. “Bloody oath was I nervous today but that was the plan - I’d be the nervous one and for the girls it would be business as usual. In fact they were more excited than nervous and knew exactly what they needed to do.”

McDonald was overjoyed to actually glimpse the finish as his team secured World Cup glory. “The first thing I saw was on the big screen where Petra had her hands in air and Oenone had her hands in the air behind her,” he said. “Usually from the team car you can’t see the finish so it was pretty special to be able to see it on the screen as they crossed the line.”

Wood is currently sitting second on the world rankings but today’s result will move her closer to current world number one Mirjam Melchers (NED) and with the World Championships in Italy (Sept 27 – Oct 4th) still to come Wood may yet end the year on top of the world rankings.

Click here for the pre-race interview with Oenone Wood

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