Round 4 of the inaugural Cykel Women\’s Grand Prix on Saturday kicked off on Saturday with small pockets of riders congregating around the course, discussing the final round tactics that may change the face of the leader board. Riders were looking for that edge; that slight piece of brilliance that would give them an advantage over the other teams as the final round played out.
SKCC/Giant (SKG) entered the round with a strong lead over second place Total Rush (RSH) and Hawthorn CC GOLD (HGD), but the final order of the podium was yet to be seen.
National Blvd had dried out beautifully as the sun broke through the clouds, and the riders started belting their way around the 1.8km circuit.
The early pace was set by youngster, Chloe Baggs, who had been drafted into the Total Rush team in Round 3, and made her presence felt in the peleton. A blistering 2:35:629 @41.6kph prologue gave her provisional 1st place with most of the field having set their times, untilMadeleine Pape (SKG – 2:34:437) sliced just over a second from Baggs\’ time.
Along came Liz Hall (HGD) having also taken the prologue in Round 2 to take nearly seven seconds from the next best in Chloe McIntosh at the time. Spectators, commentators and officials alike thought the game was over, and were ready to hand over the envelope to Hall after her 44.16kph time, however sprint queen, Nic Whitburn (LIV) returned to the Series after her round 3 hiatus to produce the fastest prologue of the Series, smashing Hall\’s time by 0.65 seconds and book-ending the series with her 2nd prologue win.
After a brief interlude, 22 women were placed into division 2 and set on their way. The bunch seemed to roll around, and with the odd attempt at pushing the pace higher, however no breaks seemed to stick along the way. As the race approached their intermediate sprint at the 25 minute mark, a \’cat\’s eye\’ on the road seemed to be the cause of an accident, bringing down St Kilda Development rider, Caitlin Schneller. While Schneller was being attended to by Event Paramedics, the race continued and the print lap called. The long straight to the National Blvd finish line may seen some riders kick a little too early. However Grace Phang (SKG) timed her sprint to perfection, and had a clear lead by 4-5 bike lengths as she took maximum points ahead of Victoria Snibson (KEL) and Von Micich (KOS).
Unfortunately, Schneller\’s accident brought on the attendance of our friends from Ambulance Victoria who needed the road space, calling a halt to proceedings for a short period of time straight afterward. The two divisions took some time out to regroup while Caitlin was in good hands.
Once underway again, riders of both divisions got the chance to get their rhythm back before entering the important end of the race.
Division 1\’s intermediate sprint took place not long after the restart, with Lauretta Hanson (KOS) showing her strength ahead of Nic Whitburn (LIV) andHeidi Buntrock (SKG).
Division 2 pushed on with the bunch intact, and under the watchful eye of commissaires Doug Armstrong and Dave Morgan as the bunch moved in for their final three laps. It was Grace Phang (SKG) who took the goods with just a hair splitting her and runner-up Von Micich. Victoria Snibson (KEL) took 3rd place, while Emma Pane (BWK) claimed 4th place, and a copy of “Hell Hath No Fury” courtesy of The Sufferfest.
As Division 1 approached their final laps, the heavens opened for a brief shower ensuring the finish to the Series would be as challenging as the series was set to be. It was only light however, and the sun broke through briefly as the ladies hit top gear approaching the finish line. It was Nicole Whitburnonce again however who was first across the line ahead of Lauretta Hanson and Laine Hammond (RSH). Jen Triplett (HYP) finished in 4th spot to also get a piece of the \’Fest.
The real battle was being fought however in the middle of the A-grade field, between teammates Carly Williams and Amy Bradley (RSH) who were battling it out for individual honours. Williams piped Bradley by three spots to secure top spot, while Bradley was leapfrogged by Whitburn to finish in third overall.
On 272 points, Total Rush managed to claw some back on SKCC/Giant (244) who finished runner-up on the day, but while they won the day\’s team\’s total,SKCC/Giant took the overall for the series. Hawthorn CC GOLD rounded out the podium on 165 points.
Total Rush rounded out the series in second place, on 888 points, trailing SKCC/Giant by 47 points. Meanwhile, Hawthorn CC GOLD took 3rd place on 726.
Encouragement awards were presented to a rider from each division as a form of recognition of their potential to develop and improve further.
In division 2, this was awarded to Teagan Westendorff who is finishing her first season racing, and took 2 third places (rounds 1 & 2). Expect to see Tea racing in division 1 next year.
Meanwhile, the division 1 award went to Chloe McIntosh, who took out the win in division 1 in Bendigo, and we believe we will see even bigger things from Chloe next season as her riding develops even further. Well done ladies, and good luck.
So that\’s the end of the inaugural Women\’s Grand Prix. Many thanks go to the sponsors, especially Cyclecover, MyLaps Sports Timing, Shane Kelly Cycle Room, Coates Hire, The City of Greater Bendigo, The Sufferfest, Liv/giant and Macquarie.
Thanks also go to the volunteers from the host clubs, as well as Chief Timekeeper, Pete Davidson & Chief Commissaire Doug Armstrong and Carol Armstrong. Thanks to those women who have been involved in the development of the series, including Jodie Batchelor, Monique Hanley, Gaelene Snelling and Nik McNamara. As well as the awesome commentary from Bec Domange and Rowena Scott. A big thanks also go to the host clubs Melton, Carnegie-Caulfield, Bendigo and Coburg for being a part of the series.
Finally, thank you to all of you who have participated. Women\’s cycling is going places here in Victoria – this is just the beginning!
Cykel Events Women's Grand Prix (2012) - Round 4
Nicole Whitburn (LIV) 2:26.093 @ 44.355kph
Liz Hall (HGD) @ 0.654\”
Amy Bradley @ 5.556\”
1st: Grace Phang (SKG)
2nd: Von Micich (KOS)
3rd: Victoria Snibson (KEL)
5: Grace Phang (SKG)
3: Victoria Snibson (KEL)
2: Von Micich (KOS)
1. Toni Abbisogni (RED)
1st: Nicole Whitburn (LIV)
2nd: Lauretta Hanson (KOS)
3rd: Laine Hammond (RSH)
10: Lauretta Hanson (KOS)
6: Nicole Whitburn (LIV)
4: Heidi Buntrock (SKG)
2: Laine Hammond (RSH)
Round 4 Teams:
1st: Total Rush 272 points (Carly Williams, Amy Bradley, Laine Hammond, Tanya Matthewson, Chloe Baggs)
2nd: SKCC/Giant 244 points (Justyna Lubkowski, Madeleine Pape, Clare Morgan, Grace Phang, Heidi Buntrock)
3rd: Hawthorn CC GOLD 165 points (Liz Hall, Megan Marsh, Georgina Heydon, Teagan Westendorff, Kate Mullarkey)
CycleCover Leader\’s Jersey:
1st: Carly Williams 230 points
2nd: Nicole Whitburn 224
3rd: Amy Bradley 216
4th Justyna Lubkowski 182
5th Madeleine Pape 180
Cykel Women\’s Grand Prix
1st SKCC/Giant 935 points
2nd Total Rush 888
3rd Hawthorn CC GOLD 726
4th Torq/Bicycle Superstore 492
5th BCS Building Champions 432