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Cooma Snowy Women's Cycle Classic - NE
NSW, Australia, February 15-16, 2003
Day 1 - February 15: Cooma - Dalgety - Cooma, 106km
Wright grabs Cooma first day with perfectly timed attack
By Mark Carter
On a very hot and blustery day a field of 41 rolled out of Cooma, for the inaugural Cooma Snowy Womens Cycle Classic. Immediately after the neutral zone a tough climb of 3km saw a handful of riders in difficulty at the rear of the field.
The first real aggression was shown after 20km when a group of four broke clear. A number of attacks initiated by Alexis Rhodes and counter attacks in rapid succession, saw a break of four establish. The break consisted of Amy Safe, Alison Wright, Oenone Wood and Kim Bruckner of the USA.
The break quickly established a good lead which had gone out to 1.23 by the time they'd reached the first QOM Sprint at 45km, which was won by the barest of margins by Amy Safe, from Wood and Bruckner.
Immediately after the crest the long straight descent into Dalgety commenced. Over the next 12km the quartet doubled their lead to 2.51 in the villiage, as they reached the only sprint prime for the day. A tight technical series of corners had Alison Wright at the helm as she swept down through the final right hander and launched for the line 100m further on, to take the prime from Bruckner and Wood.
Meanwhile, behind, the main field had split due to the heat and the difficult conditions, many of the American riders commenting that stepping straight into the heat was very difficult and the main field was down to 20 riders.
At the 60km mark a group of four attempted to get the chase going, by way of attack initiated by Gollan, James and Hemsley which split the field of 20 into four small groups. By 68km the chase group was 13, after a lot of chasing to regroup. Mari Holden dropped back to her Team DS and complained of stomach cramps in the very hot temperature, which was 30 degrees, approaching midday.
At the second QOM Sprint at 84km the lead quartet had increased their lead to 4.10. The sprint was a carbon copy of the first QOM with Safe winning by a length over Wood and Bruckner.
On the climb to the QOM in the chase group, Emma James attacked and Margaret Hemsley, Olivia Gollan, Emily Williams and Zoe Southwell bridged across to form a group of five.
With 20km left to race the two lead groups of four versus five continued to swap off. In the front group it was nearly all Amy Safe, as she smashed her quartet across the flatlands and headed down the final descent for the finish.
Kim Bruckner attacked with 1500m to go, but was unsuccessful, leaving it down to a sprint.
Alison Wright sat at fourth wheel with 250m to go and said "Just before the left hand corner I saw that no-one was looking around at me and I thought you beauty, and I attacked and by the time they knew I was going, I was gone".
Wright led into the finish straight with a three length lead to Safe and with 50m to go, eased up and then gave her victory salute, running out a comfortable winner, over Amy Safe, followed by Wood and Bruckner.
Margaret Hemsley attacked her quintet with 5km to go and held them at bay to finish three minutes behind Wright and 24 seconds ahead of her bunch, led home by Emily Williams.
Images by Nick Payne
Images by Mark Gunter
1 Alison Wright 3.06.34 2 Amy Safe 3 Oenone Wood 4 Kimberly Bruckner 5 Margaret Hemsley 3.10 6 Emily Williams 3.34 7 Olivia Gollan 8 Emma James 9 Zoe Southwell 3.53 10 Jessica Ridder 9.24 11 Christine Riakos 10.06 12 Mari Holden 13 Natalie Bates 14 Jennifer Manefield 15 Mary Grigson 16 Kim Anderson 17 Janine Ridsdale 10.44 18 Kristin Armstrong 15.55 19 Alexis Rhodes 20 Natasha Harrigan 18.34 21 Cilla Ballard 22 Rochelle Gilmore 23 Stacey Peters 24 Linda Capello 25.52 25 Kate Nichols 26.00 26 Tracey Angove 26.15 27 Terry Moore 27.00 28 Madeline Linberg 29.40 29 Sarah White 30.11 30 Cassandra Carey 30.19 31 Liz Hickey 33.50 32 Nishi Kanako 36.15 33 Leonie Aisnett 36.26 34 Jess Maclean 35 Bronwyn Wiseman 36 Cath Toet 37 Cornelia Cyrus 44.30 [41 starters 37 finishers]