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Photo ©: Sirotti

 UCI codes explained

Cooma Snowy Women's Cycle Classic - NE

NSW, Australia, February 15-16, 2003

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Day 2 - February 16: Cooma criterium, 30km

Wood takes spirited crit

By Mark Carter

32 riders took to the start line for the second race of the Cooma Snowy Women's Cycle Classic, a 30km criterium in the heart of Cooma. With the Sunday markets in Cooma's main park adjacent to the course and many other onlookers in this cycle mad town, it created a festive atmosphere with hundreds lining the one kilometre T shaped course, on a decidedly cooler day, thanks to overcast conditions, keeping the sun at bay.

Racing was underway at 11.30am for the 30 lap event. The pace was firm for the first four laps, before the first move managed a gap over the field. Driven by Emma James (AIS), U19 rider Jess Maclean (ACTAS/Cooma) took the opportunity to come along for the ride along with Kim Anderson (Mobile Telecom) of the USA. The trio went away to an eight second lead and continued to swap off strongly for two and a half laps.

The break was caught on the sixth lap and immediately a counter attack went, which contained Amy Safe (AIS), Oenone Wood (AIS), Margaret Hemsley (Nurnberger), Natalie Bates (AIS) and Kristin Armstrong (Mobile Telecom). This quintet went away to a lead of eight seconds in the space of a lap, as the bunch hesitated and waited.

On lap eight, the first of three sprint primes went to Margaret Hemsley, as no-one from the group contested, allowing Hemsley to win as she pulled her turn through the start finish line, with Wood and Bates filling the minor places.

Young up and coming Parramatta rider Zoe Southwell took it upon herself to try and close the widening gap, as the Americans and the AIS seemed content to let the break go. Southwell pulled two strong laps but there was no-one else lining up to assist and the break started ballooning out after she swung off the front.

By the half way stage the leaders held a 25 second advantage over the main field which was down to 14. With 14 laps to go the second sprint prime was on offer. This time Oenone Wood was on the front and as the American, Armstrong attempted to pull up alongside and contest, Wood stepped on the gas to claim the sprint, ahead of Armstrong and Bates.

Olivia Gollan then decided to try and bridge across and had talented local Cooma rider Jessica Ridder along for company. The pair were closing in for a couple of laps, but ran out of impetus and ended up being swallowed up by the bunch. As soon as they were caught the counter attack went containing Emma James, Mary Grigson and Kimberly Bruckner. James too strong as, the other two couldn't hold her wheel and took two laps to close the 20m gap.

At the same time, up front with 11 laps to go, the leaders were setting themselves for the final sprint prime, which was worth double the cash. Natalie Bates claimed the sprint from Amy Safe and Margaret Hemsley.

With six laps remaining, the race had the five leaders, being followed only 13 seconds behind, by the James, Grigson, Bruckner trio, and a further 30 seconds in arrears was the remainder of the field, now numbering 10.

With three laps to go, the scenario was still the same, however the lead five held 17 seconds and 31 seconds respectively over the two chase groups.

As the leaders rounded the final corner to line up for two to go, Amy Safe fell as she led around the Eastern turn as her front wheel washed out. The others managed to avoid her and Safe quickly remounted and rejoined with no damage done.

On the last lap, Hemsley rounded the final turn first and commenced the wind up. Oenone Wood quickly moved up against the inside barriers and stormed to the front and led for the final 200m to take victory from Natalie Bates and Margaret Hemsley. Grigson won her three up sprint 15 seconds later, whilst Rochelle Gilmore beat Alison Wright in the 10 way sprint in the main field.


Images by Mark Gunter

Results, 30km

1 Oenone Wood               51.11 (35.17km/h)
2 Natalie Bates 
3 Margaret Hemsley 
4 Kristin Armstrong 
5 Amy Safe 
6 Mary Grigson               0.15
7 Kimberly Bruckner 
8 Emma James 
9 Rochelle Gilmore           0.56
10 Alison Wright 
11 Olivia Gollan 
12 Kim Anderson 
13 Christine Riakos 
14 Jesica Ridder 
15 Mari Holden 
16 Stacey Peters 
17 Zoe Southwell 
18 Madeline Linberg 
19 Alexis Rhodes             1.01
[32 starters, 19 finishers (left on same lap)]