MacPherson close to another series win
By Anthony Tan in Echunga
Taking a leaf out of her book from last year's series, Natalie Bates soloed off the front of a world-class women's field in Echunga and made the rest of field look like they were standing still. As her competitors wilted in searing conditions that topped out at 37 degrees today, the 25 year-old blonde from Sydney's west simply grew stronger, each lap powering out of the saddle on a difficult uphill back straight, and by the time she crossed the line with arms aloft, Bates had nearly caught the back of the field.
On the bell lap and on the same back straight, series leader and defending champion Jenny MacPherson took advantage of a slight lull to get a jump on the main field. Exiting the final corner for the bunch gallop, her placement was enough to give the Victorian Institute of Sport rider an ideal position in the final 150 metres, which the sprint queen took full advantage of, outsprinting New South Wales rider Kate Nichols for second.
"We were riding out here I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh!'," said Bates, commenting on the fact that her legs were feeling "a bit shabby" on the training run out to Echunga this morning. "When we got out here, I'd forgotten how much that back straight drags out and up a little bit, and in that respect, I think it's the best place to be, out the front."