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Australian Open Road Championships - NE
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, January 7-11, 2009
Stage 2 - January 7: Elite/Under 23 Women's Time Trial, 28 km
Ryan takes second national title
By Rod Morris
Twenty-three year-old Brisbane rider Carla Ryan claimed her second Australian Open Cycling Championship on Wednesday with victory in the Elite women's time trial. Held in the picturesque surrounds of Mount Buninyong just outside Ballarat in north-western Victoria, the titles attracted 33 entries in the women's Elite/Under 23 event.
Ryan - a former triathlete - won the national time trial in 2007 when she beat Victorian veteran Kathryn Watt and Toiresea Gallagher of NSW. Last year she finished seventh behind Bridie O'Donnell, who was a non-starter today, leaving Vicki Whitelaw as the number one seed.
Local Ballarat rider Beth Canny was the first rider out, setting a time of 48.31.35 minutes. As each rider crossed the line however the time was lowered with eventual Under 23 winner, Josephine Tomic stopping the clock at an impressive 42.56.14 to hold the lead before the "big guns" came into view.
Norwood, South Australia rider Rachel Neylan moved into the lead at 42.41.49 only to be bypassed by Whitelaw and fellow South Australian cyclist Amber Halliday.
Ryan, who was seeded as the number five rider to start, was promoted to number four with O'Donnell's absence and her time of 41.21.05 - two minutes better than her 2007 effort and 19 seconds quicker than last year's winner - put the pressure on the only three riders remaining on the road.
Victorian Kathryn Watt - on the wrong side of 40, but still as competitive as ever - rode a slick 41.34.19 to move into second spot only to be leapfrogged by Alexis Rhodes (SA). Rhodes gave her ride everything she had, but fell frustratingly short of Ryan, finishing with 41.21.67.
Former Olympic rower Sally Robbins was an interesting entrant. After creating headlines for collapsing in the boat at the Athens Olympics in 2004, Robbins is on the comeback trail and trying to win a spot on the Australian Olympics team - for cycling - in London in 2012.
Robbins didn't exactly set the world on fire in the time trial, finishing the 28km in 47.04.58 minutes and in 22nd place overall.
Second to Tomic in the Under 23 category was Shara Gillow (Qld) and third was Sarah Kent from West Australia.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
1 Carla Ryan (QLD) 41.21 2 Alexis Rhodes (SA) 0.01 3 Kathryn Watt (VIC) 0.13 4 Amber Halliday (SA) 0.16 5 Vicki Whitelaw (ACT) 1.19 6 Rachel Neylan (SA) 1.20 7 Josephine Tomic (WA) 1.35 8 Shara Gillow (QLD) 1.39 9 Sarah Kent (WA) 1.57 10 Bronwyn Ryan (ACT) 1.57 11 Lisa Jacobs (VIC) 2.40 12 Zoe Appel (QLD) 2.53 13 Kerry Knowler (ACT) 3.29 14 Carlee Taylor (SA) 3.37 15 Sophie Ootes (SA) 4.02 16 Stephanie Frawley (SA) 4.15 17 Rowena Fry (MTB) 4.25 18 Davina Summers (WA) 5.02 19 Sarah Roy (NSW) 5.02 20 Nicole Whitburn (VIC) 5.12 21 Veronica Dudderidge (ACT) 5.17 22 Sally Robbins (WA) 5.44 23 Nicole Keily (QLD) 5.50 24 Irene Digenis (VIC) 6.03 25 Beth Canny (VIC) 7.10 26 Rebecca Thyne (NT) 8.02 27 Claire McLean (WA) 8.32 DNS Myfanwy Galloway (ACT) DNS Gracie Elvin (ACT) DNS Kristen Bell (ACT) DNS Chloe Hosking (ACT) DNS Marilyn McDonald (VIC) DNS Bridie O'Donnell (VIC)