Fry steps up to top women's spot
Current Australian National Champion Chris Jongewaard (Avanti Bikes/JT cycles/Shimano) used his local knowledge to take a win on home turf at the opening round of the Australian National Cross Country and Downhill Series at Eagle Park in Adelaide this past weekend.
Jongewaard won the elite men's cross country after a fast start. "I thought I might have gone out too hard at the start," he said. "On the second lap I backed it off a bit. Then Sid (Taberlay) caught me." Jongewaard was challenged by Tasmania's Taberlay in the second and third laps, however he pushed ahead in the last half of the six lap race to win in two hours and five minutes.
Among the elite women, Tasmania's Rowena Fry (ORBEA, WileyX eyewear) won her first national series cross country race. Despite muddy conditions, the 24 year-old from Launceston set the pace in the first of four laps and won in a time of one hour and 42 minutes. Since joining the Australian Sports Commission program to develop female cyclists for the London Olympics, Fry has blossomed under the "Dirt Roads to London Program" by also winning the national marathon championship in July.
"I'm riding technically a lot better and I'm a lot fitter so now I can concentrate on what I'm doing," said Fry, who also predicted the women's competition would be tough throughout the rest of the series.
National series newcomer, Jodie Willett (E'Discovery Tools; River City Cycles) placed second after passing a strong Zoe King (Maxxis) and national cross country champion Tory Thomas (TORQ) in the final lap.
In a surprising victory Sunday, local downhill rider 17 year-old Will Rischbieth (Giant) beat last year's national series winner Amiel Cavalier (Giant) by one second. By winning the first round of the National Series Rischbieth now leads the national rankings. Sarah Booth (C.R.I.M.E.) qualified fastest in the elite women's downhill, but the win was taken by Claire Whiteman (Kona Mt Buller Factory Team). Second was Emma McNaughton (Kona Mt Buller Factory Team) with last year's series winner Caroline Buchanan (KHS Bicycles) in third.
For full coverage of the opening round of the Australian National Series Cross Country and Downhill, click here.