If she had ever had any doubts that she could step up to the top level of the sport, Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon) has been given another strong endorsement of her credentials with a sprint win on the opening road stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Rowney moved to Specialized-lululemon at the start of the year, and though seen to be a talent within Australian, she was untested when it came to the higher level of racing overseas. But starting 2012 on the front foot, she picked up a confidence boosting win at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic Series on a tough Geelong course, before taking her first UCI women's win in the Women's Tour of New Zealand.
"We went into the race with the early plan just to be present in any important moves and to look after Amber [Neben] for GC," explained Rowney. "Ally [Stacher] and Katie [Colclough] did a great job of being in the moves early and I wasn't feeling great.
"But I had a feeling it would be a bunch kick at the end so on the penultimate lap I tested my legs in an intermediate sprint on the finish line. Katie led me out and I went too early so for the finish I knew I had to hang back a bit and time it better."
She read it perfectly and though the sprint was close, she pulled clear of Joelle Numainville with a final lunge to the line. Team director Ronny Lauke praised the team and Rowney, who he believes at just 23 years of ages is a big talent for the future.
"The girls are racing really well but I'm very impressed with Loren in her first year. She has a great understanding of bike racing and reads the race really well."
The Redlands Bicycle Classic continues on Saturday March 24.