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Australian Junior and Teams Road Championships - NE
Sunshine Coast, Australia, September 2-September 10, 2006
Race 10 - September 10: Women’s GP Series Criterium
Top step of podium for Gilmore
By John Michael Flynn in Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast
Home from Europe for just a few days, gun sprinter Rochelle Gilmore (Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan) showed the skills of a true professional to come away with a well crafted victory in the Australian Women's Grand Prix Series criterium.
Racing on cold legs, after missing out on a warm-up due to a change in race times, Gilmore's race plan wasn't helped when her rivals attacked from the outset.
"I'm just so glad that I made it, I only got out of bed an hour before and only just got here," Gilmore said. I thought I had an hour to do some sprints and warm up.
"I was hoping they would take it easier the first ten minutes but they went out of the blocks, they knew that I was cold."
That wasn't the only drama one of Australia's most highly regarded international women's cyclists was forced to contend with.
A crash on the first corner created some tense moments, with Queensland Champion Carly Hibberd among those to come to grief on the hairpin.
"My plan was to try and get into the first corner first, but it didn't really happen," Hibberd said. "The girl in front of me picked a bad line, I just rode straight over the top of the poor girl."
Gilmore's plan was simply to stay out of trouble, and ensure no breakaways got up the road amid the chaos, then wait for the sprint.
"It's nerve racking for me because I don't know any of these girls, I've only just flown in from Europe this week," Gilmore said.
In the end there was little for Australia's star sprinter to be concerned about. Gilmore produced her world class turn of pace powering out of the final bend, with her rivals unable to respond.
"Yeah that was perfect for me, I love a tough corner near finish that I can just stomp through, I know I can get through that corner faster than anyone else," Gilmore said.
Rochelle's immediate focus will turn to the track, and a long term plan, centred on the Beijing Olympics.
"We've made a decision now that I'm going to concentrate on the track until Beijing, hence the reason now that I've come home early because the first track World Cup is in November in Sydney," Gilmore said.
"Now every day for me is focusing on that World Cup in November and then I'll train up again for the track World Championships in April."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
1 Rochelle Gilmore (NSW) 2 Skye-Lee Armstrong (NSW) 3 Carly Hibberd (QLD) 4 Vicki Eustace (ACT) 5 Amber Jenkins (NSW) 6 Carla Ryan (QLD) 7 Kate Warren (TAS) 8 Louise Kerr (QLD) 9 Ruth Corset (QLD) 10 Jessica Berry (VIC) DNF Kate Depaoli (TAS) DNF Kellie Hards (SA) DNF Briana James (VIC) DNF Angeline Papajcsik (QLD)