After finishing third in last year's time trial, Felicity Wardell proved neither age nor full-time work commitments are a barrier to national success as she won the race ahead of three-time defending champion Shara Gillow and former winner Bridie O' Donnell.
Lauren Kitchen was an early occupier of the hot seat but all eyes were on Gillow and whether she could make it four in a row. Wardlaw, who holds down a full time job with the Victorian public service, celebrated her first green and gold podium with thanks to teammates, coaches, friends and her partner.
Gillow was 32 seconds off the pace with O'Donnell five seconds back as she rode into third place. Karin Garfoot and Tiffany Cromwell were the only other riders within a minute of Wardlaw and 2013 road champion Gracie Elvin rounded out the top five.
As most Australian cyclists know, indulging in the Christmas pudding is a rarity. Wardlaw returned home to Tasmania for a small break but took her bike with which paid dividends on the 28km course, it’s "designed for people with a lot of power in their legs," Wardlaw explained.
While on the podium having received her prizes, a jubilant Wardlaw told the crowd, "I can't believe I'm standing up here with a gold medal."
"There is a lot of talent out there: Shara, Bridie, Tiff (Cromwell), there all fantastic time trialists," Wardlaw said. "They race so well and I thank them because they pushed me really hard. It was a fantastic day."
Gillow, who recently suffered from a bout of pneumonia, had been unable to train for two weeks leading up to the race, was visibly disappointed on the result, told Cyclingnews she gave full credit to Wardlaw's win.
"Of course I'm disappointed as I would have loved to have made it four in a row, but considering I have been off the bike for two weeks I am very happy to even get a silver to tell you the truth. But make no mistake, I give all credit to Felicity as she raced an amazing race. I am very happy for her."
Gillow now turns her attention toward the Oceania Road Championships in Toowomba, Queensland in February before turning her focus on the remainder of 2014, including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain in September.
"I have to focus on getting fit and healthy and ready for Oceania next month," Gillow said. "Then it's all about looking ahead and taking the necessary steps to capturing gold at the Comm Games and the Road Worlds in 2014."
In the U23’s, it was Janelle Crooks who took the win ahead of Emily Roper and Jessica Allen. Crooks was a paltry three seconds ahead Roper but it was enough for her to claim the gold pan and green and gold jersey on day one of the national road championships.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Felicity Wardlaw (VIC)||0:38:46|
|2||Shara Gillow (QLD)||0:00:32|
|3||Bridie O’Donnell (VIC)||0:00:37|
|4||Katrin Garfoot (QLD)||0:00:38|
|5||Tiffany Cromwell (SA)||0:00:54|
|6||Gracie Elvin (ACT)||0:01:02|
|7||Amanda Spratt (NSW)||0:01:46|
|8||Taryn Heather (VIC)||0:01:53|
|9||Lauren Kitchen (NSW)||0:02:43|
|10||Louisa Lobigs (QLD)||0:02:52|
|11||Sarah Roy (NSW)||0:03:08|
|12||Jenelle Crooks (QLD)||0:03:09|
|13||Laura Siddall (NSW)||0:03:12|
|14||Emily Roper (QLD)|
|15||Jessica Allen (WA)||0:03:47|
|16||Jessica Huston (WA)||0:03:56|
|17||Megan Bagworth (ACT)||0:04:14|
|18||Rebecca Mackey (WA)|
|19||Alexis Barnes (NSW)||0:04:21|
|20||Ailie McDonald (ACT)||0:04:39|
|21||Crystal Wemyss (VIC)||0:04:47|
|22||Lucy Barker (SA)||0:04:52|
|23||Jade Colligan (NSW)||0:05:15|
|24||Cassandra Dodd (QLD)||0:05:26|
|25||Shannon Malseed (VIC)||0:05:48|
|26||Carley Mckay (VIC)||0:06:11|
|27||Alice Wallett (ACT)||0:06:18|
|28||Rachel Ward (VIC)||0:06:19|
|29||Angela Smith (NSW)||0:06:57|
|30||Allison Rice (ACT)||0:07:13|
|DNS||Samantha De Riter (VIC)|
|DNS||Lisa Hanley (VIC)|
|DNS||Imogen Vize (NSW)|