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BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, January 16-19, 2003
Day 1 - January 16: Elite Women/s time trial, 28 km
The champ defends
Carrigan wins back to back titles
By Jeff Jones in Ballarat
Queenslander Sara Carrigan has successfully defended her Australian Women's Time Trial Championship, clocking an unbeatable time around the challenging 28 km Buninyong course today. Starting last of the 24 competitors, Carrigan was spurred on by her coaches in the following car, who shouted themselves hoarse to urge their rider to victory. Her winning time of 41:53.34 (40.1 km/h) was slightly slower than last year, but given the windy conditions it was still a very good ride.
In second place was New South Wales rider and AIS scholarship holder Olivia Gollan, who finished just 12 seconds outside Carrigan's time in 42:05.35, while the ACT's Oenone Wood (ACTAS-Cycle Cooma) posted the third best time of 42:08.52.
"I was confident but you can never be complacent," Carrigan told Cyclingnews. "I hard to concentrate really hard. Defending a title is sometimes harder than breaking into it. I'm extremely happy and relieved."
She described the last five kilometres, which were into a headwind, as the hardest. "That was going to be the make it or break it part of the course. That's where everyone would start getting tired and that's where you really had to put in...You think you're there, but not quite. It's that last little bit - you've just got to keep the pressure on the pedals."
Carrigan certainly did that over the entire 28 km loop, which started with a testing 2 km climb out of Buninyong into a headwind, then turned into back country roads with cross and tailwinds alternating. 10 km from home the course again turned into a false flat with an accompanying headwind, the only relief being a 1.5 km downhill stretch where speeds of 80 km/h were reached by Carrigan.
The Queenslander, who finished 5th in the TT and fourth in the Road Race at the World's last year, barely got out of the saddle during her ride, choosing to remain on her time trial bars and stay as aerodynamic as possible. After 12 km she had put 30 seconds into her 2 minute woman Hayley Rutherford, who finished second last year. She took back another 30 seconds into the stiff headwind, and was assured of beating at least one major rival.
"It's hard when you see people up ahead," said Carrigan. "You've just got to keep concentrating on yourself otherwise you start concentrating on them, and before you know it you've lost your rhythm. I just tried to keep the concentration on myself."
Although remaining fairly quiet during last week's Bay crits, Carrigan had been preparing for today's race. "Strength work, a lot of hill work and a bit of speed work on top of that. Liz Hepple (QIS coach) has been working with me a fair bit so that's been important. But after I head home after the road race on Saturday there'll be a lot more build up until the World Cups in March."
After her ride today, Carrigan is one to watch in the road race. "It should be good," she said. "It's a great course and has a hill in it. It's a good hill to break the bunch up on, and there'll be a small bunch at the finish."
"I've obviously proved that I'm the strongest rider today. It's always different in a road race. There are a lot of tactics and teamwork. So I have to be able to read the race correctly and get myself up there into contention."
Her competition will no doubt include Olivia Gollan, who won a round of the Bay Series last week. Gollan was delighted with her silver medal today. "I am really happy. If I'd found another 12 seconds I'd have been happier," she told Cyclingnews. "I'm actually quite stoked. I was really hoping for a medal today and I've pulled it off. Two years ago I didn't think I could have pulled off something like this."
"Kate Bates was in front of me but I caught her at the top of the last descent. It's funny because it was the same place that Sara caught me last year. That was certainly a big incentive. She also pushed me all the way to the line which was good."
Gollan expects a tough race on Saturday, where she'll be one of the favourites for the 100 km title. "It's going to be a more open race," she said. "There are certainly a lot of strong girls and a lot of fit girls around at the moment, and a lot of dark horses as well, not just the big names. With the crits I saw that there are a lot of girls who are fit and strong who are just coming into the sport, and a course like this will suit someone who's fit and light. It's going to be fun."
Similarly, third placed Oenone Wood was both surprised and happy with her medal, as she was expecting a top 10. "I was counting down and thinking I can't do any worse than 9th place, but then it just started getting better," she said. "Especially when I think about who I was up against - Margie Hemsley and Kate Bates. I was hoping for a top 10, I was confident I could get a top 10, but it turned out a lot better."
Oenone was one of the few riders who actually preferred the headwind. "At least with a headwind you know you've got something to work against," explained the Cycle Cooma rider, who like most of the top riders make use of power measurement devices. "I had an SRM on but I've actually got it covered up. The only thing I'm allowed to look at is the cadence. So I just concentrate on keeping my cadence up and not getting bogged down."
Tomorrow will see the Elite Men's Time Trial run over similar but slightly longer course of 39 km. Those that can pace themselves on the climbs and into the wind will perform the best, with Michael Rogers (ACT/Quick Step Davitamon) tipped as the hot favourite, and 1997 Australian TT champ Jonathan Hall (NSW) as a dark horse.
Defending title holder Nathan O'Neill will not be present, due to commitments in the U.S.A. with his new trade team Saturn. Also not lining up is Manchester gold medallist, Cadel Evans, who will instead concentrate on the road race.
Images by Jeff Jones/Cyclingnews.com
Images by James Victor
1 Sara Carrigan (Qld) 41.53.34 (40.10 km/h) 2 Olivia Gollan (NSW) 0.12.38 3 Oenone Wood (ACT) 0.15.18 4 Margaret Hemsley (ACT) 0.25.41 5 Hayley Rutherford (WA) 1.00.40 6 Kate Bates (NSW) 2.12.38 7 Amy Safe (SA) 2.13.46 8 Natalie Bates (NSW) 2.14.24 9 Alison Wright (ACT) 2.30.77 10 Emma James (NSW) 2.42.22 11 Jennifer Finlay (Qld) 3.35.58 12 Helen Kelly (Vic) 4.21.66 13 Alexis Rhodes (SA) 4.24.98 14 Lorian Graham (Qld) 4.33.85 15 Sally Cowman (Qld) 5.25.19 16 Tania Shipton (Qld) 6.06.21 17 Sally Smith (Tas) 6.09.16 18 Claire Baxter (Vic) 6.12.94 19 Amber Malone (WA) 6.24.86 20 Rachel Rademaker (Vic) 7.11.13 21 Jessica Ridder (NSW) 7.30.41 22 Jenny MacPherson (Vic) 9.14.13 23 Angela Dolan (GBr) 9.39.00 24 Kym Petersen (Vic) 13.59.50
Kate Bates (NSW) NSWIS Natalie Bates (NSW) NSWIS Claire Baxter (Vic) Hawthorn Emma Carney (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield CC Sara Carrigan (Qld) Gold Coast CATS Sally Cowman (Qld) Victor CC Angela Dolan (GBr) Cyclemans Jennifer Finlay (Qld) Victor CC Olivia Gollan (NSW) NSWIS Lorian Graham (Qld) Astra Cycling Club Margaret Hemsley (ACT) ACTAS-Cycle Cooma Emma James (NSW) NSWIS Helen Kelly (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield CC Jenny Macpherson (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield Amber Malone (WA) Northern Districts Kym Petersen (Vic) Carnegie Caulfield Rachel Rademaker (Vic) Blackburn Alexis Rhodes (SA) Norwood Jessica Ridder (NSW) Bathurst C C Hayley Rutherford (WA) Northern Districts Amy Safe (SA) Norwood Tania Shipton (Qld) Hamilton Pine River Sally Smith (Tas) Hobart Wheelers Oenone Wood (ACT) ACTAS-Cycle Cooma Alison Wright (ACT) ACTAS-Cycle Cooma