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Geelong Tour - 2.9.2

Australia, February 22-25, 2004

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Stage 4 - February 25: Lara Road Race, 115km

Ulmer takes sprinters' finale; overall victory to Wood

Sarah Ulmer takes the final stage
Photo ©: John Veage

In a tremendous show of team strength, both the AIS and Team New Zealand delivered their team leaders to overall victory and stage honours respectively in a nail biting final stage of the Geelong Women's Tour.

With two intermediate sprints holding time bonuses, a vicious 2 km climb at Mt Wallace and a beautiful sprint straight at the end of the 115 km stage, sparks were sure to fly, and fly they did as both Katie Mactier (Jayco) and Kate Bates (NSWIS) took time out of Wood out on the road, setting up the final sprint as a do-or-die affair.

In the end it was the sprinters who had a clear run to the line, Ulmer beating home Nicole Freedman (World) and yesterday's winner, Petra Rossner (Nürnberger). Ulmer, who took full advantage of the GC battle between Wood, Mactier and Bates, exclaimed that she was "bloody glad to finally knock the Aussies off the dais!"

With her tour hopes alive until the end, Mactier sprinted for the stage win and the overall victory but came up short, finishing fifth. This meant that Wood won the tour by a slender margin of six seconds over Mactier and only eight over Bates.

How it unfolded

A still, warm morning greeted the riders at the Lara start. Despite the good conditions, nerves were high as there were potentially 16 seconds available in sprint bonuses for the stage, with Mactier only seven seconds behind and Bates only ten seconds behind Wood on GC at the start of the day.

As if this wasn't enough, the course presented a major obstacle, the likes of which had not been seen in the previous stages: Mt Wallace - a narrow 2 km climb which led many riders to fit 27tooth sprockets on their bikes.

Lorian Graham (AIS) and Miho Oki (Japan)
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree/CN

Although Mactier and Bates were keen to pick up time bonuses and move closer to Wood on GC, the first sprint saw a breakaway of seven riders away. It contained Lorian Graham (AIS), Miho Oki (Japan), Alison Wright (Nobili - Fanini), Tina Mayola-Pic (Jayco), Emma Rickards (Freedom Machine), Madeleine Lindberg (Nürnberger), and Joanne Kiesanowski (NZ). This group managed a maximum lead of 2 minutes over the peloton but with Mt Wallace Looming, the complexion of the race was set to change.

Although the break arrived at the foot of Mt Wallace together, Graham, Oki, Wright and Mayola-Pic climbed it over a minute faster than others in the break. Not only that, but the bunch had closed right in. Oenone Wood led the front chasing group over, only fifteen seconds behind the fading breakaway riders. Of vastly greater interest, however, was the whereabouts of Mactier and Bates. With the riders cresting the ascent in small groups, only twenty seconds passed before Mactier appeared and quickly organised a chase which saw her rejoin Wood.

Further back, Bates looked to be struggling at 40sec behind tour leader, Wood. However, with some good teamwork, Bates was back at the front, ready to contest the final intermediate sprint and the stage finish.

As groups rode themselves back onto the main bunch, attacks were flying, T-Mobile, Nürnberger and World being the most aggressive teams. No matter what was thrown at them though, the AIS team covered everything, paying particular attention to Mactier and Bates.

Katie Mactier
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree/CN

Despite the good work of the AIS, it was NSWIS's Bates who claimed the final intermediate sprint, taking a three seconds over Mactier (2 sec) and Wood (1 sec)! This set up a thrilling finale in which either Mactier or Wood could win the tour (now only six and eight seconds in arrears respectively) with the sprint bonuses at the finish (10, 6 and 4 sec).

With 15 km to go, Trixi Worrack (Nürnberger), Emma James (SATS) and Stacey Peters (T-Mobile) got free of the peloton, gaining a maximum of 17 seconds. With stage honours up for grabs though, the black and white of team New Zealand sprang into action, catching the breakaway just over 1 km from the finish.

A traffic island at 200m to go provided some tense moments, and as precariously positioned race leader Oenone Wood battled to stay upright with the switches during the sprint, Mactier positioned herself on the NZ train.

With 150m to go, Ulmer unleashed her sprint. Freedman followed with Mactier in tow while 2003 Australian road champ, Margaret Hemsley (Nürnberger) led her sprinter, Petra Rossner, out up the middle of the road. Mactier would only have to come second to force a count-back for GC win, but Ulmer, Freedman, Rossner and Oki were too strong and the Jayco rider came up short, taking fifth.

Ulmer was extremely pleased with her win, especially as she had to beat some good sprinters to the line. As well as praising the her team, "who made all the difference today, doing a lot of work on the front," the New Zealander also praised the organisers for setting a flattish parcours which allowed track riders like herself, Mactier and Bates (who will most likely go head-to-head in the pursuit in Athens) to be competitive on the road.

Concurring with the stage victor, Ulmer, who described the finish as "pretty hairy," the second-placed Nicole Freedman (World Team) recounted that the final was so "hairy" that all she could do was "close my eyes and sprint!"

The kick for the line.
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree/CN

Indeed, behind, the tour winner was not able to sail over the line with her hands aloft, as she was too busy staying upright. Wood commented after the finish that she was just as happy to be the tour winner as she was to still be upright and safe, after she was pushed into the gutter twice in the sprint.

Despite these tense final moments, Wood was rapt in her win, very aware that it was due in no small part to her AIS team that were by her side the whole tour. It should not be forgotten that in addition to her winner's jersey, which she wrestled from Mactier the day before, Wood also took home the sprinter's jersey thanks to the fine intermediate sprinting which won her the tour.

This tour win wraps up an amazing few months for Wood who has won the Bay Criterium Series (including two stages), the Road and Time Trial National Titles, the Jacob's Creek Criterium Championships, the Tour of Canberra (including two stages) since Christmas!

The final podium
Photo ©: John Veage

Whereas last year, Wood sacrificed herself many times (including at the 2003 edition of this tour) for her AIS teammate Olivia Gollan, in 2004 the tables were turned and it was Wood's turn to take the spoils with Gollan and the whole team at her disposal.

"The team was absolutely fantastic today, we had Lorian Graham in the early break while Olivia and Amy [Safe] were with me over the top of the climb. It was crucial because there were so many moves going up the road."

Indeed it is with fantastic form, a super-strong team and great confidence following her victory in the Geelong Women's Tour that Wood will tackle the Geelong World Cup this Sunday.

That wraps up a fantastic four days racing. With great weather, fantastic courses and the crème of the crop in women's cycling present, the stages were fiercely fought for and the final result was never assured until Wood, Mactier and Bates had crossed the line and the finish tape had been reviewed. The tour, originally conceived to give the international women's field attending the World Cup, something to do, is becoming reputable in its own right and will continue to grow.


Images by John Veage

Images by Mikkeli Godfree/


1 Sarah Ulmer (NZl) New Zealand            3.04.27
2 Nicole Freedman (Isr) World                     
3 Petra Rossner (Ger) Nürnberger                  
4 Miho Oki (Jpn) Japan                            
5 Katie Mactier (Aus) Jayco                       
6 Tanja Hennes (Ger) World                        
7 Rachel Heal (GBr) Great Britain                 
8 Sara Carrigan (Aus) QAS                         
9 Alison Wright (Aus) Nobili-Fanini               
10 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) Nobili-Fanini          
11 Charlotte Goldsmith (GBr) Great Britain        
12 Oenone Wood (Aus) AIS                          
13 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Nürnberger              
14 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) World                    
15 Iryna Simonova (Ukr) Ukraine                   
16 Bridgett Evans (Aus) Freedom Machine           
17 Jenny Macpherson (Aus) Body Torque             
18 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) New Zealand           
19 Iryna Chuzhynova (Ukr) Ukraine                 
20 Emma James (Aus) S.A.T.S.                      
21 Deirdre Barry (USA) T-Mobile                   
22 Valentyna Karpenko (Ukr) Ukraine               
23 Ayumu Otsuka (Jpn) Japan                       
24 Manon Jutras (Can) S.A.T.S.                    
25 Emma Davies (GBr) Great Britain                
26 Katie Brown (Aus) NSWIS                        
27 Susie Wood (NZl) Avanti                        
28 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) T-Mobile               
29 Katherine Bates (Aus) NSWIS                    
30 Jessica Ridder (Aus) FRF Couriers              
31 Rosalind Reekie (NZl) New Zealand              
32 Nina Davies (GBr) Great Britain                
33 Michelle Hyland (NZl) Avanti                   
34 Hiroko Shimada (Jpn) Japan                     
35 Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukr) Ukraine                
36 Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile                     
37 Kateryna Krasova (Ukr) Ukraine                 
38 Lorian Graham (Aus) AIS                        
39 Julie Pekarkova (Cze) World                    
40 Tina Mayola (USA) Jayco                        
41 Kym Shirley (Aus) Nobili-Fanini                
42 Christine Riakos (Aus) FRF Couriers            
43 Kristin Armstrong (USA) T-Mobile               
44 Toni Bradshaw (NZl) Avanti                     
45 Helen Kelly (Aus) Jayco                        
46 Natalie Bates (Aus) AIS                        
47 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nürnberger                 
48 Akemi Morimoto (Jpn) Japan                     
49 Caroline James (GBr) Great Britain             
50 Michelle Kiesanowski (NZl) Avanti              
51 Oxana Kashchyshyna (Ukr) Ukraine               
52 Kathy Watt (Aus) Freedom Machine               
53 Olivia Gollan (Aus) AIS                        
54 Judith Arndt (Ger) Nürnberger                  
55 Hannah Banks (Aus) QAS                         
56 Emma Rickards (Aus) Freedom Machine            
57 Louise Yaxley (Aus) Jayco                      
58 Miyoko Karami (Jpn) Japan                      
59 Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Nürnberger            
60 Johanna Buick (NZl) New Zealand                
61 Alexis Rhodes (Aus) NSWIS                      
62 Kirsty Robb (NZl) Avanti                       
63 Kate Nichols (Aus) FRF Couriers                
64 Amy Safe (Aus) AIS                             
65 Zoe Southwell (Aus) FRF Couriers               
66 Jessica Phillips (USA) Nürnberger              
67 Jessie Maclean (Aus) NSWIS                     
68 Stacey Peters (USA) T-Mobile               0.28
69 Nadene Boyle (NZl) Avanti                  0.34
70 Frances Newstead (GBr) Great Britain           
71 Jennifer Findlay (Aus) QAS                 0.55
72 Linda Capello (Aus) Body Torque            7.12
73 Kirsty Bortilin (Aus) Freedom Machine          
74 Karina Sorensen (Den) S.A.T.S.                 
75 Leonie Aisbett (Aus) NSWIS                     
76 Kerryn Charman (Aus) Body Torque               
77 Natasha Harrigan (Aus) FRF Couriers            
78 Meredith Miller (USA) S.A.T.S.                 
79 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) S.A.T.S.                
80 Naomi Williams (Aus) AIS                       
81 Narrelle Peterson (Aus) Body Torque            
82 Laura Bortolozzi (Aus) FRF Couriers            
83 Cristine Foster (Aus) Body Torque              
84 Cathy Marsal (Fra) Nobili-Fanini               
85 Louisa Judd (Aus) Freedom Machine         16.13
86 Anna Perrin (Aus) QAS                          
87 Emi Onoyama (Jpn) World                        
88 Belinda Goss (Aus) Jayco                       
89 Desiree Schuler (Ger) World                    
dnf Melissa Holt (NZl) New Zealand                
dns Sara Symington (GBr) S.A.T.S.                 
dns Karen Hopkinson (Aus) Body Torque             
Sprint No 1 (50km)
1 Tina Mayola (USA) Jayco                        3 pts
2 Miho Oki (Jpn) Japan                           2
3 Lorian Graham (Aus) AIS                        1
Sprint No 2 (86km)
1 Katherine Bates (Aus) NSWIS                    3 pts
2 Katie Mactier (Aus) Jayco                      2
3 Oenone Wood (Aus) AIS                          1
Final general classification
1 Oenone Wood (Aus) AIS                    6.13.50
2 Katie Mactier (Aus) Jayco                   0.06
3 Katherine Bates (Aus) NSWIS                 0.08
4 Louise Yaxley (Aus) Jayco                   0.18
5 Sarah Ulmer (NZl) New Zealand               0.21
6 Sara Carrigan (Aus) QAS                     0.30
7 Kathy Watt (Aus) Freedom Machine            0.31
8 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) Nürnberger           0.35
9 Deirdre Barry (USA) T-Mobile                    
10 Kristin Armstrong (USA) T-Mobile           0.36
11 Amy Safe (Aus) AIS                         0.38
12 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) World                0.40
13 Manon Jutras (Can) S.A.T.S.                0.40
14 Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile                     
15 Judith Arndt (Ger) Nürnberger              0.43
16 Alison Wright (Aus) Nobili-Fanini          0.44
17 Emma Davies (GBr) Great Britain            0.48
18 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) Nobili-Fanini          
19 Olivia Gollan (Aus) AIS                    0.49
20 Tina Mayola (USA) Jayco                    0.51
21 Natalie Bates (Aus) AIS                    0.52
22 Alexis Rhodes (Aus) NSWIS                  0.53
23 Lorian Graham (Aus) AIS                    0.53
24 Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukr) Ukraine            0.55
25 Emma James (Aus) S.A.T.S.                  0.56
26 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) T-Mobile           0.57
27 Jenny Macpherson (Aus) Body Torque         0.59
28 Miyoko Karami (Jpn) Japan                  1.00
29 Rachel Heal (GBr) Great Britain            1.01
30 Johanna Buick (NZl) New Zealand            1.06
31 Miho Oki (Jpn) Japan                       1.06
32 Nicole Freedman (Isr) World                1.07
33 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) New Zealand       1.09
34 Jessica Ridder (Aus) FRF Couriers          1.11
35 Rosalind Reekie (NZl) New Zealand          1.12
36 Michelle Hyland (NZl) Avanti               1.13
37 Jessica Phillips (USA) Nürnberger          1.14
38 Helen Kelly (Aus) Jayco                    1.14
39 Trixi Worrack (Ger) Nürnberger             1.15
40 Susie Wood (NZl) Avanti                    1.17
41 Stacey Peters (USA) T-Mobile               1.17
42 Emma Rickards (Aus) Freedom Machine        1.21
43 Kym Shirley (Aus) Nobili-Fanini            1.21
44 Christine Riakos (Aus) FRF Couriers        1.25
45 Akemi Morimoto (Jpn) Japan                 1.26
46 Bridgett Evans (Aus) Freedom Machine       1.30
47 Iryna Chuzhynova (Ukr) Ukraine             1.34
48 Kirsty Robb (NZl) Avanti                   1.34
49 Toni Bradshaw (NZl) Avanti                 1.35
50 Tanja Hennes (Ger) World                   1.38
51 Julie Pekarkova (Cze) World                    
52 Iryna Simonova (Ukr) Ukraine               1.41
53 Frances Newstead (GBr) Great Britain       1.41
54 Petra Rossner (Ger) Nürnberger             1.42
55 Oxana Kashchyshyna (Ukr) Ukraine           1.53
56 Charlotte Goldsmith (GBr) Great Britain    1.59
57 Michelle Kiesanowski (NZl) Avanti              
58 Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Nürnberger        3.06
59 Katie Brown (Aus) NSWIS                    3.06
60 Kateryna Krasova (Ukr) Ukraine             4.50
61 Hiroko Shimada (Jpn) Japan                 4.56
62 Valentyna Karpenko (Ukr) Ukraine           5.09
63 Zoe Southwell (Aus) FRF Couriers           6.20
64 Nina Davies (GBr) Great Britain            8.10
65 Cathy Marsal (Fra) Nobili-Fanini           8.21
66 Meredith Miller (USA) S.A.T.S.             8.25
67 Nadene Boyle (NZl) Avanti                  8.29
68 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) S.A.T.S.            8.38
69 Narrelle Peterson (Aus) Body Torque        8.38
70 Kate Nichols (Aus) FRF Couriers            9.09
71 Leonie Aisbett (Aus) NSWIS                11.27
72 Cristine Foster (Aus) Body Torque         12.02
73 Caroline James (GBr) Great Britain        13.21
74 Ayumu Otsuka (Jpn) Japan                  13.37
75 Naomi Williams (Aus) AIS                  15.53
76 Hannah Banks (Aus) QAS                    17.30
77 Belinda Goss (Aus) Jayco                  17.35
78 Laura Bortolozzi (Aus) FRF Couriers       18.16
79 Jennifer Findlay (Aus) QAS                18.36
80 Jessie Maclean (Aus) NSWIS                21.01
81 Karina Sorensen (Den) S.A.T.S.            21.58
82 Linda Capello (Aus) Body Torque           23.48
83 Kirsty Bortilin (Aus) Freedom Machine     24.24
84 Desiree Schuler (Ger) World               26.12
85 Kerryn Charman (Aus) Body Torque          29.07
86 Natasha Harrigan (Aus) FRF Couriers       30.12
87 Anna Perrin (Aus) QAS                     38.48
88 Emi Onoyama (Jpn) World                   42.21
89 Louisa Judd (Aus) Freedom Machine         46.08
Sprint classification
1 Oenone Wood (Aus) AIS                          9 pts
2 Katherine Bates (Aus) NSWIS                    8
3 Katie Mactier (Aus) Jayco                      6
4 Sarah Ulmer (NZl) New Zealand                  3
5 Hayley Rutherford (Aus) Nobili-Fanini          3
6 Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile                     3
7 Tina Mayola (USA) Jayco                        3
8 Miho Oki (Jpn) Japan                           2
9 Sara Carrigan (Aus) QAS                        2
10 Petra Rossner (Ger) Nürnberger                1
11 Deirdre Barry (USA) T-Mobile                  1
12 Lorian Graham (Aus) AIS                       1
Under 23 classification
1 Katherine Bates (Aus) NSWIS              6.13.58
2 Alexis Rhodes (Aus) NSWIS                   0.45
3 Michelle Hyland (NZl) Avanti                1.05
4 Katie Brown (Aus) NSWIS                     2.58
5 Kateryna Krasova (Ukr) Ukraine              4.42
6 Zoe Southwell (Aus) FRF Couriers            6.12
7 Kate Nichols (Aus) FRF Couriers             9.01
8 Leonie Aisbett (Aus) NSWIS                 11.19
9 Hannah Banks (Aus) QAS                     17.22
10 Belinda Goss (Aus) Jayco                  17.27
11 Jessie Maclean (Aus) NSWIS                20.53
12 Karina Sorensen (Den) S.A.T.S.            21.50
13 Desiree Schuler (Ger) World               26.04