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2004 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic
Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2004
Race 5 - Sunday, January 11: Docklands
Final stage win gives Wood the series
Disappointed Rutherford looks to nationals
By Karen Forman in Melbourne
ACT rider Oenone Wood has given fans and officials more than a glimpse of her diversity, following a first stage win in driving rain on a tight, slippery surface in the 2004 Jayco Bay Classic criterium series at Hastings five days ago with a last stage in perfect weather on a dogleg course featuring long straights in Melbourne today.
The second win clinched Wood's position as series leader and she now heads to Ballarat for the Australian national road cycling championships with more confidence, assured form and a bursting resume.
Wood had gone into the fifth stage at Docklands in inner city Melbourne today on equal points (31) with West Australian Hayley Rutherford, riding with the Victorian team, and it was anyone's guess which rider would be in the points today. Series winner two years ago, Rochelle Gilmore, also put herself into contention with a win on the Geelong Botanical Gardens circuit yesterday.
But today belonged to Wood, who beat team-mate Alison Wright and Rutherford in the final sprint after a bunch sprint to the line to collect the points she needed to own the series winner's jersey. Wood finished up with 43 points, Rutherford four points behind on 39 and Gilmore 32.
Kate Bates from NSW hung onto the sprint queen jersey after placing second in the 15-minute sprint and third in the 30 minute sprint, finishing with 20 points. Teammates Olivia Gollan was second with 12 points and Jessica Ridder was third with six points.
Like the elite race which followed, the women's race was all about attacks which rarely made ground and a bunch sprint at the finish - due to the fast dog leg course featuring two straights 300 metres in length. A heavy headwind welcomed riders as they entered the back straight, although they had a tailwind into the finish line.
Also like the elite event, the women really showed their teamsmanship and early rivalry between the NSW and Victorian riders had obviously extended to the ACT team, of which Wood is a member, as well. Gilmore was champing at the bit early, placing herself strategically in the top five while team mate Gollan began the attacks designed to weaken the bunch.
Meanwhile Skilled riders Brad McGee and Baden Cooke were creating a stir as they took a couple of laps in the official car - at speeds which didn't escape the eye of the police officers also monitoring the race.
Katie Mactier (Victoria), Bates and Emma James (NSW) were instrumental in the attacks which began to break up the field by the fifth lap. Narelle Peterson (Victoria) was working hard on the front as well. The first intermediate sprint was won by Kirsty Bortolin of Victoria with Bates second and British rider Frances Newstead third. Rutherford's team then began to work hard on the front, but it seemed to be the Victorians on the front of the bunch with every lap.
The second sprint was won by West Australian Katrina Purcell ahead of Ridder and Bates and Sara Symington (Great Britain), Bates and Gollan made the most of the extra speed acquired during it to try another break. It didn't achieve a gap and on the 20th lap Rutherford, who hadn't been prominent in any activity, decided to attack.
Gilmore had Bates there for support and Rutherford was worried. She attacked with Kate Nichols of NSW on her wheel on a lap the time keepers clocked at 1.33 minutes. Gollan and Bates were ideally placed on the front of the chasing group and soon the breakaway was reeled back in. The NSW girls moved to the front of the field en masse and even at this late stage, Gilmore, Wood and Rutherford could all win the stage.
But then came the final sprint and Wood pipped Wright and Rutherford on the line. "I was following Rochelle because she only needed four points to beat me," she told Cyclingnews. "I came inside on Liz Williams' wheel and it worked perfectly for me."
She said she felt confident going into the nationals and hoped to do well there, including the time trial. "It has been really good to come down and do the Bay series," she said. "I was definitely confident going into today and it was great to have Alison there to help me. I knew she'd be in the right position at the right time. I just had to watch where Rochelle and Hayley were."
She said with her win, she thought it was now time to bring a few more recruits from the ACT to join in the NSW-Victorian rivalry.
Rutherford was disappointed that she hadn't managed to take the series but said Wood had definitely deserved the win. "I got third in the sprint and I needed to get first or second," said Rutherford. "I tried to attack with a few laps to go but I didn't have the numbers."
She was, however, rapt with fiancé Graeme Brown's win in the elite race. "He was consoling me after my race," she said. Following the Bay series, which she said had provided some "good hit-outs this week" she said she was looking forward to the time trial at the nationals next week.
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Oenone Wood (Canberra Cycling Club) 2 Alison Wright (Canberra Cycling Club) 3 Hayley Rutherford (Northern Districts) 4 Jessica Ridder (Bathurst CC) 5 Alexis Rhodes (Norwood C.C.) 6 Rochelle Gilmore (Bankstown Sports CC) 7 Elizabeth Williams (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 8 Emma Rickards (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 9 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn Cycling Club Inc) 10 Sara Symington (Great Britian National Team) Sprints Sprint 1 1 Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn Cycling Club Inc) 2 Katherine Bates (Parramatta CC) 3 Frances Newstead (Great Britian National Team) Sprint 2 1 Katrina Purcell (Midland CC) 2 Jessica Ridder (Bathurst CC) 3 Katherine Bates (Parramatta CC) Final general classification 1 Oenone Wood (Canberra Cycling Club) 43 pts 2 Hayley Rutherford (Northern Districts) 39 3 Rochelle Gilmore (Bankstown Sports CC) 32 4 Alison Wright (Canberra Cycling Club) 28 5 Emma James (Bicisport) 18 6 Alexis Rhodes (Norwood C.C.) 18 7 Jessica Ridder (Bathurst CC) 16 8 Elizabeth Williams (Carnegie Caulfield CC) 15 9 Olivia Gollan (Kooragang Open CC) 15 10 Katherine Bates (Parramatta CC) 12 Sprint classification 1 Katherine Bates (Parramatta CC) 20 pts 2 Olivia Gollan (Kooragang Open CC) 12 3 Jessica Ridder (Bathurst CC) 6