Alexis Rhodes stormed to a memorable victory in Buninyong this afternoon. The 26-year-old was crowned the Australian National Women's Champion after beating team-mate, Carla Ryan and Victorian Jo Hogan in a small sprint to the line.
"I'm stoked. I honestly never thought it would happen," a jubilant Rhodes said after the race. "To win the national road championship and wear the jersey in Europe is something you dream about," she added.
An early breakaway dominated the race featuring Joanne Hogan, Tiffany Cromwell, Vicki Whitelaw, Alexis Rhodes, Amanda Spratt, Annabel Luxford and Carlee Taylor. They enjoyed a maximum advantage of just over three minutes.
At the halfway mark of the race, their advantage dropped to two minutes as Judith Arndt and Carla Ryan tried to bridge across and managed to join the leaders with thirty kilometres to run. It was from there that riders started dropping off one by one.
Ryan, Whitelaw, Arndt, Cromwell, Taylor, Hogan and Rhodes were the leading group on the penultimate lap. On the final lap Whitelaw and Cromwell lost contact and Ryan, Arndt, Hogan and Taylor were the leaders over the climb for the last time. Despite Rhodes getting dropped, she fought back to join the leaders and in the sprint to the line, took a brilliant victory.
It was a special win from Rhodes after a roller-coaster last five years. She contemplated retirement at the end of 2010, but bounced back strongly to take the biggest win of her career.
"I came over the last lap and Judith put me in the gutter. I'm not half the bike rider she is and I got dropped. Luckily for me Judith, Carla and Jo started looking at each other and I was able to get back on again. I was patient and knew it was a fast finish. I managed to get the win."
"I'm surprised. Normally I can't climb to save myself, but today I decided I was in with a shot and just buried myself."
2009 National champion, Carla Ryan was thrilled for her team-mate.
"Crossing that finish line and seeing Alex on the other side of me wearing our new Garmin-Cervello clothes, it's very special for the team and also Alexis – winning her first national championship, especially after the things that has happened to her in the past and she's still got an amazing future. I'm just really happy for her," she said.
Both Ryan and Rhodes will be flying out to Spain tonight to attend a Garmin-Cervelo training camp.
Taylor was crowned the queen of the mountains and Whitelaw the sprint champion.
Carlee Taylor claims under-23 glory
Carlee Taylor finished strongly securing the under-23 title. Part of the early break, she battled valiantly and held on for the win, finishing the race in seventh position. 18-year-old Sinead Noonen was second, 20-year-old Lauren Kitchen third.
Taylor has signed a contract with Tibco and will wear the national jersey in her first year as a professional.
"I'm pretty happy. This is my last year as an under-23 and to come away with a win is a good feeling," the 21-year-old said.
"I thought the conditions today would suit an early breakaway and it ended up being the winning move and it was a good decision. I didn't quite have the legs to go with the move today, but to come away with an under-23 win, I'm very happy."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Alexis Rhodes (Norwood C.C.)||3:00:18|
|2||Carla Ryan (Lifecycle CC)|
|3||Joanne Hogan (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|4||Judith Arndt (Germany)|
|5||Vicki Whitelaw (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|6||Tiffany Cromwell (Norwood C.C.)|
|7||Carlee Taylor** (Norwood C.C.)||0:00:55|
|8||Ruth Corset (Townsville Cycle Club)|
|9||Bridie O'Donnell (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)||0:01:51|
|10||Amanda Spratt (Penrith CC)|
|11||Annabel Luxford (Lifecycle Cycling Club)||0:03:23|
|12||Taryn Heather (Mildura-Coomealla C.C.)||0:03:44|
|13||Jessie MacLean (Canberra Cycling Club)||0:06:45|
|14||Peta Mullens (Bendigo & District CC)|
|15||Trudy Van Der Straaten (Bicisport)|
|16||Gracie Elvin (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|17||Sinead Noonan** (Sturt Holdfast Marion C.C.)|
|18||Amber Halliday (Norwood C.C.)|
|19||Shara Gillow (Sunshine Coast CC)||0:09:46|
|20||Samantha Hemsley (Canberra Cycling Club)||0:11:06|
|21||Lauren Kitchen** (Port Macquarie Cycling Club)|
|22||Grace Sulzberger (West Tamar CC)|
|23||Katherine O'Shea (Dirt Riders)|
|24||Nikolina Orlic (Hamilton Pine River Wheelers)|
|25||India McLean (Northern Sydney CC)|
|26||Laura Meadley (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|27||Rebecca Wiasak (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|28||Angela McClure** (Norwood C.C.)|
|29||Caitlin Turner** (Peloton Sports Inc.)|
|30||Alexandra Carle** (Vikings Cycling Club ACT)|
|31||Laura Luxford (Lifecycle Cycling Club)|
|32||Clare Dallat (Carnegie Caulfield CC)||0:12:41|
|33||Rebecca Locke (Coburg Cycling Club Inc)||0:14:52|
|DNF||Rowena Fry (MTBA)|
|DNF||Heather Logie (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Nicole Whitburn (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Stephanie Ives (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Katherine Baker (Sunshine Coast CC)|
|DNF||Rebecca Domange (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Delphine Astier (Footscray Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Sarah Riley (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Miranda Griffiths (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Liz Leyden (Atomic Brooks Cycle Club)|
|DNF||Chloe McConville (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Maryam Rogers (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Imogen Smith (NRG Cycling)|
|DNF||Emma Smith** (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)|
|DNF||Shanice Nitis** (Lifecycle CC)|
|DNF||Kristy Glover** (Wellington Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Kendelle Hodges** (Brunswick Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Chloe Hosking** (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Jasmin Hurikino** (Balmoral Cycle Club)|
|DNF||Stephanie Sanchez** (Sutherland Shire CC)|
|DNF||Zoe Watters (Lifecycle Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Amy Bradley (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Kirsty Broun (Lifecycle CC)|
|DNF||Elizabeth Georgouras (Port Adelaide C.C.)|
|DNF||Rochelle Gilmore (Bankstown Sports CC)|
|DNF||Natalie Langer (Balmoral Cycle Club)|
|DNF||Ingrid Trotter (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Naomi Williams (MTBA)|
|DNF||Emma Lawson** (Launceston City CC)|
|DNF||Myfanwy Galloway** (Canberra Cycling Club)|
|DNF||Belinda Mason** (Launceston City CC)|
|DNF||Chloe McIntosh** (Ballarat/Sebastopol CC)|
|DNF||Rebecca Werner** (Port Adelaide C.C.)|
|DNF||Carly Light (Port Adelaide C.C.)|
|DNF||Bridget Officer (St Kilda Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNF||Megan Dunn** (Dubbo CC)|
|DNF||Kimberley Yap (Malaysia)|
|DNF||Carly Williams (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNF||Davina Summers (South Perth Cycle Club)|
|DNF||Kelly Bartlett (St Kilda CC)|
|DNF||Kate Finegan (Hunter District CC)|
|DNF||Jenni King (MTBA)|
|DNF||Emma Mackie (Balmoral Cycle Club)|
|DNF||Nicole McNamara (Bendigo & District CC)|
|DNF||Amy Cure** (Mersey Valley Devonport CC)|
|DNS||Victoria Luxton (Carnegie Caulfield CC)|
|DNS||Rachel Neylan (Norwood C.C.)|
|DNS||Monica Kelly** (Horsham Cycling Club Inc)|
|DNS||Brittany Lindores** (Gold Coast CATS Cycling Club)|
** Denotes U23 rider