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GP Cavrie' (NE)
Italy, April 13, 2003
Oenone Wood's first international win
By Olivia Gollan, AIS team rider
After only a short international stint in 2002 and six days of racing this year in Europe, A.I.S. Australia rider Oenone Wood has claimed her first international victory.
Sunday saw the small town of Cavrie, close to Treviso in the north of Italy, host a National Series Italian race - 25 laps of a 3.2km flat circuit. After some early aggression in the sprint primes, AIS Australian rider Oenone Wood, Great Britain and Commonwealth Champion Nicole Cooke (GS Ausra Gruodis Safi) and a Kookai team rider escaped in a breakaway that initially went out to one minute.
With 15 laps to go the three girls coming through one of the nine sprint primes, Zimaida Starhurskia (USC Chirio) and Team Fanini were relentless in their chase of the small group. At one stage the three leaders came back to only five seconds and the Kookai rider was caught by the main field. Cooke had put in a second attack and managed to work with Wood to blow the gap back out to over two minutes.
Back in the main field the Aussies were working to cover the numerous attacks trying to bridge the gap and also slow the field down around the tight, windy roads. With the help from Cooke's teammates to block the chasers, we were pretty comfortable with the gap at two minutes with 6km to go. Natalie Bates had been instructed to sit tight until the end of the race and have a go for the sprint. The rest of us, Emily Williams, Emma James, Christine Riakos and myself started a lead out for Natalie with about a lap and a half to go. We had started a little early, and Emily put in a huge effort to keep the momentum going. Job well down from a young rider in her first stint in Europe.
In the meantime, Cooke had 'mentioned' to Oenone that she would really like the win, celebrating her birthday on race day, and with Wood having dominated the sprint primes with eight from nine, it seemed like she may have used up a little too much throughout the long breakaway. But again, this young Australian's extraordinary talent and determination got her home in the final sprint.
Wood had led most of the last circuit, and Cooke was fiercely desperate for the win. Cooke accelerated fast off Wood's wheel at 400 metres to go, but Wood found the extra kick and a huge throw on the line, to get over Cooke by less than half a wheel in the finish.
After a few weeks of trying to pull things together as a team it was a great feeling to have so many Australian jerseys around dominating the race. The lead out was hard and fast, and with a little more experience the team is looking forward to getting a lot closed in the big finishes. Still a great effort by Natalie for ninth place in her first European season.
A few weeks ago, this relatively inexperienced group was struggling with bunch position and the overwhelming craziness that is European 'big bunch' racing. Yesterday we made the race, won the race, and took home so much local produce it was hilarious! Great day at the office!
We're heading north this weekend to Holland and Belgium for rounds 4 and 5 of the World Cup, with Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, and Fleche Wallone the following Wednesday. Two huge classics on the men's calendar, and with the Women's world cup incorporated in some great Spring classics, the Aussies are certainly looking forward to some continued great form.
Images by James Victor
1 Oenone Woods (Aus) AIS Australia 2.08.06 (39.344 km/h) 2 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Groudis Safi 3 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O 1.40 4 Zinaida Stahurkaya (Blr) Chirio Forno d'Asolo 5 Katia Longhin (Ita) Acca Due O 6 Vania Rossi (Ita) Scrigno Pragma 7 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Chirio Forno d'Asolo 8 Marta Villayosanna (Spa) Alverti Catalunya 9 Natalie Bates (Aus) AIS Australia 10 Alessandra D.Ettorre (Ita) Corpo Forestale Results courtesy of ciclismotoscano.it