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Surfers Paradise Grand Prix - NE
Australia, December 9, 2007
Race 2 - December 9: Women
Gilmore triumphs in inter-state contest
By John Michael Flynn at Surfers Paradise
Australia's finest female sprinter, Rochelle Gilmore, showed her pure class again today to win race two of the women's grand prix criterium series.
The New South Wales cyclist achieved the victory in the most difficult of circumstances, matched up against a Queensland contingent which outnumbered her by ten-to-one. Adding to the challenge, Gilmore had just completed what she rated the toughest training week of her career in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
"I am absolutely over the moon with my form, I've had the biggest week on the bike that I've ever had, and that includes any kind of Tour that I've done in Europe or anything," Gilmore said. "I've been out doing five hour rides up Springbrook Mountain and Tomewin Mountain Road, (in the Gold Coast Hinterland) every day, out on the bike."
Acting under the instructions of coach Warren McDonald, and with the express intention of improving her climbing form ahead of next month's Australian Open Road Championships in Victoria, Gilmore was forced to race tired and call upon her reserves of stamina, in what is normally her pet event.
"I tried to get out of my five hour ride up Tomewin yesterday doing efforts, and he (McDonald) said, 'no, no you've been winning too easily,'" Gilmore said.
How it unfolded
With only workhorse Sky-Lee Armstrong for support, Gilmore was forced to respond continually as the bulk of the riders, mostly linked to the Queensland Academy of Sport, worked in unison attacking Australia's sprint queen.
The first challenge came from Raleigh Lifesport's Nikki Egyed, whose solo move forced Sky-Lee Armstrong to the front of the bunch to assist Gilmore with the chase. Once Egyed's breakaway was reeled in, another attack followed from Australian time trial champion Carla Ryan
"Rochelle's one of the fastest sprinters in the world and we had numbers out there with Queenslanders so we thought we'd just keep attacking and making her chase as much as possible," Egyed said.
When Ryan's attack was reeled in, the pace lifted again as Olympic Road Race Champion Sara Carrigan turned on her streak of pure speed in a very deliberate move to shake Gilmore off her wheel.
"Yeah that's right we had a fair few Queenslanders out there working together, being on the Gold Coast it's my home town, I really wanted to win in front of my friends and family but we had to work as a team to try and make sure we had a Queenslander up there," Carrigan said. "It was all part of the plan to make sure Rochelle had to work hard, to make sure she was working hard before she came back to the sprint."
Despite everything the Queenslanders threw at her, Gilmore managed to burn off her rivals in the sprint, finish with daylight between herself and the minor placegetters Nikki Egyed and Lorian Graham.
"I've won plenty of races but today I feel really satisfied because everything was against me," Gilmore said. "The big week that I had training, the Queenslanders ganging up on me, just a little nervous and I pulled it off."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
1 Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini Selle Italia) 2 Nikki Egyed (Raleigh Lifesport) 3 Lorian Graham