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Jayco Bay Cycling Classic - NE
Geelong, Australia, January 2-6, 2009
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Stage 1 - January 2: Williamstown - Elite women
Tomic takes decisive win
By Malcolm Sawford in Williamstown
Three-time junior world champion Josie Tomic (Plan B Racing) won the opening stage of the 2009 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. Tomic burst from a small lead group with five laps remaining and extended her lead each lap to win by almost 20 seconds. "I just flew in yesterday and I just wanted to get through this race but I saw my opportunity and I went for it and I'm really happy. I knew against Rochelle Gilmore and Belinda Goss I wouldn't have a chance in a sprint so I just took a chance and it paid off today."
The opening laps of the women's race were run at a solid tempo, with Australian criterium champion Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles), Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) and Nikki Butterfield (Skilled) setting the early tempo, before a massive four lap effort by another former junior world champion, Sarah Kent (Plan B), decimated the field.
Kent's effort saw the 72-rider field been reduced to just 30 women by the first sprint, taken comfortably by Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) ahead of Mullens and Broun.
Tiffany Cromwell (Skilled) jumped away at the half-way point of the 45-minute race and led by a maximum of 11 seconds in her five-lap escape, but was chased down just before the second sprint. Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) was again too strong for Broun and Mullens, and the acceleration saw the lead bunch halved again, leaving only 15 in contention.
The survivors had no answer for Tomic's late attack, and were left to battle for second place. Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS), who won the series in 2002, was clearly the fastest sprinter in the race, and led the chasers home for second on the day, ahead of Broun, Chloe Hoskins (Mazda), Belinda Goss (Pitcher Partners) and Mullens.
"I actually felt really good today," Gilmore admitted. "Obviously that attack from Josie came very, very fast and strong and it was at a moment when everybody was struggling. I felt quite good myself and probably regret not getting on top of it straight away, but this is a race where you have to be smart. It's five days long and we do have a strong team here but unfortunately they weren't at the front when Josie went. She's hardly a 'no-one' and she held off a really strong field and deserved the win."
A confident Gilmore predicted more success. "This is probably the strongest team I've ever ridden in at Bay Crits. Today was the first time I'd ever raced with Megan Dunn, Lauren Kitchen and Skye Lee Armstrong and those girls were unbelievable. They knew when it was time to get on the front and go for it, and as everybody saw I could rely on them and they did a great job. They're smart girls, and they're strong and motivated: what more could we ask for?
"I'm pretty excited after the first day. It absolutely does give me a lot of confidence. I knew coming in I was super fit. I've been training with Gary Sutton for the past six weeks and before that I was with Warren McDonald and put the hard yards in. I had the confidence that none of these girls have done three or four strong years in Europe, and hopefully towards the end of the five days I get even stronger."
Third placed finisher Kirsty Broun enjoyed her first hit out in the national champion's jersey. "It's an honour to wear the Australian colours and ride for Marcel and MB Cycles, it is a real honour." Broun is another rider who had endured the long trip south from Queensland and expected to use the first race to ease into the series. "For me, it was good there was a breakaway. The girls worked pretty hard to chase, but she got away. It was good to have a bit of a hit out and a sprint at the end to warm up the legs for the next couple of days.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
1 Josie Tomic (Plan B) 2 Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) 3 Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) 4 Chloe Hoskins (Mazda) 5 Belinda Goss (Pitcher Partners) 6 Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) 7 Emma Mackie (Pitcher Partners) 8 Nikki Butterfield (Skilled) 9 Laura McCaughey (Urban Hotel) 10 Jenny Macpherson (G Force/Body Torque) Sprints Sprint 1 1 Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) 2 Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) 3 Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) Sprint 2 1 Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) 2 Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) 3 Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) Points classification 1 Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) 6 pts 2 Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) 4 3 Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) 4 General classification after stage 1 1 Josie Tomic (Plan B) 12 pts 2 Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) 10 3 Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) 8 4 Chloe Hoskins (Mazda) 7 5 Belinda Goss (Pitcher Partners) 6 6 Peta Mullens (Jayco VIS) 5 7 Emma Mackie (Pitcher Partners) 4 8 Nikki Butterfield (Skilled) 3 9 Laura McCaughey (Urban Hotel) 2 10 Jenny Macpherson (G Force/Body Torque) 1 Teams classification 1 Plan B 12 pts 2 NSWIS 10 3 Pitcher Partners 10 4 MB Cycles 8 5 Mazda 7 6 Jayco VIS 5 7 Skilled 3 8 Urban Hotel 2 9 G Force/Body Torque 1