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Geelong Women's Tour - 2.2

Australia, February 21-23, 2006

Star studded field for Geelong World Cup and Tour

2005 winner Oenone Wood
Photo ©: John Veage
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A star studded line up of international cycling talent, including the world's top three ranked cyclists, will line up in Geelong to contest the Geelong Tour, which serves as a warm-up event for the Australian round of the women's World Cup, also in Geelong on Sunday February 26.

Headlining the start list is world ranked number one cyclist, Oenone Wood, from Canberra who has claimed the series crown for the past two years and is fine tuning her preparation for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Wood, who won the Geelong round in 2004, rides with the world's top ranked team Nurnberger. The team will also include new recruit, Australia's Kate Bates, who was recently crowned Australian road race champion.

2004 world champion, Judith Arndt of Germany returns to Geelong as the world ranked number three but this time with her new T-Mobile team. Joining her in the team is four time American champion Kimberly Bruckner-Baldwin and ten time German champion, Ina Teutenberg. The Univega Pro Team boasts 2002 Comonweatlh Games road race gold medallist, Nicole Cooke. The Welsh rider also claimed the silver medal at the World Championships in Madrid in 2005. New Zealand's reigning points race champion on the track, Joanne Kiesanowski is also on the Univega roster.

Back in a bid to defend her 2005 Geelong victory is NSW cyclist Rochelle Gilmore whose team will also boast Commonwealth Games mountain biker, Emma Colson. Two time World Champion (2002-2003) and currently world ranked number two, Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden will be looking for early season form and points after her 2005 efforts saw her finish second overall in the Series behind Wood.

Japan's Miho Oki, who placed third in the 2004 Geelong World Cup will join Australian Olivia Gollan in the Italian registered Nobili Rubinetterie team. Athens Olympic Champion, Sara Carrigan will line up in QAS colours this year while Barcelona Olympic Champion, Kathy Watt will have support from fellow Commonwealth Games team member, mountain biker, Claire Baxter in the Eunectes team.

2004 Olympic points race champion and bronze medallist in the road race Olga Slyusareva heads the Russian team which makes its Geelong debut in 2006. Another Olympic gold medallist, Sarah Ulmer, will also line up in Geelong. The Athens individual pursuit champion and world record holder will race with New Zealand as she finalises her preparation for the Commonwealth Games where she is targetting the road time trial.

The riders will kick off their Australian campaign in the Geelong Tour which begins on February 21st  with an 8km time trial at Portarlington before a 30 lap criterium later in the day. Stage 3 takes the race to Barwon Heads for five laps of a scenic 15 kilometre circuit along the Barwon Coast. The final day of the race is a testing 113km course out and back from the town of Lara and includes a tough climb up Mt Wallace at the halfway mark of the stage.