Kimberley Wells' scintillating summer form continued in Ballarat as the general practitioner doctor won her second career national criterium title ahead of Peta Mullens and Lauren Kitchen after a Carlee Taylor attack was caught on the final lap. Wells, the 2013 champion, timed her sprint to perfection having sat in the peloton and let attack after attack go. Teammate Jessie Maclean provided the calm that Wells required and ensured that the 29-year-old made a triumphant return to the 1.1km Sturt St course.
"That picture crossing the line, tells a thousand words," Wells told reporters after her win. "It's exactly how I felt; elated, hurting, excited and I felt so pumped because I knew there was daylight behind me. I've won here before. I am a heavily marked rider, I am a good sprinter on the road and I won the trifecta of sprints coming into summer so every single rider in that peloton didn’t want me in the finish and from about lap ten onwards, I had to earn it."
For Mullens and Kitchen, it was deja vu as both riders finished in the same position as last year. Mullens, who will concentrate on mountain biking in 2015 with an eye on the Rio 2016 Olympics, claimed the sprint jersey and will now turn her attention to the road race.
Kitchen adds another national medal to her palmarès and will enter the road race as a marked rider having ridden aggressively throughout the race.
"Everyone was hurting out there," Wells said of the race with featured 19 finishers. "There were a lot of breaks going up the road with good riders in them and I found it hard to stay patient about them having 10, 20 seconds up the road but ultimately, the bunch was hungry enough to bring them all back and it played into my hands today.
"Peta Mullens, Gracie Elvin, Lauren Kitchen, Ruth Corset in a breakaway …Lizzie Williams are all riders who can win this crit."
Taylor, in her first outing for Lotto-Soudal, was active all race and despite her climbing characteristics not suited to the sprint-friendly parcours, came close to pulling off an upset win.
After a disappointing 2014 season which was cruelled by injury, Wells explained the win was a complete catharsis.
"This time last summer I followed the race on Twitter as I had pneumonia. I was really disappointed and devastated that I couldn't defend my 2013 national criterium title. I got myself back going and got over to Europe. The day after Flanders, I tore my piriformis muscle which put me out of the entire European season. I couldn't exercise for four months and I was really crushed by that double blow. This is exactly what I needed to solidify my place back in the peloton."
Shannon Malseed's sixth place overall saw her claim the women’s U23 national title ahead of Rebecca Mackey and Tayla Evans.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kimberley Wells (ACT)||0:52:14|
|2||Peta Mullens (VIC)|
|3||Lauren Kitchen (NSW)|
|4||Ruth Corset (QLD)|
|5||Lizzie Williams (VIC)|
|6||Shannon Malseed (VIC)|
|7||Kendelle Hodges (VIC)|
|8||Rebecca Mackey (WA)|
|9||Tayla Evans (VIC)|
|10||Nicole Moerig (QLD)|
|11||Jessica Mundy (SA)||0:00:06|
|12||Gracie Elvin (ACT)|
|13||Tessa Fabry (VIC)|
|14||Rebecca Locke (VIC)||0:00:08|
|15||Amanda Spratt (NSW)||0:00:20|
|16||Carlee Taylor (SA)||0:00:25|
|17||Joanne Hogan (VIC)||0:00:33|
|18||Nicole Whitburn (VIC)||0:00:51|
|19||Brittany Lindores (QLD)||0:01:24|
|DNF||Chloe Hosking (ACT)|
|DNF||Jessie Maclean (ACT)|
|DNF||Lisa Jacobs (VIC)|
|DNF||Naomi Williams (VIC)|
|DNF||Elizabeth Doueal (VIC)|
|DNF||Kristy Glover (VIC)|
|DNF||Erin Kinnealy (WA)|
|DNF||Jessica Lane (VIC)|
|DNF||Stephanie Lord (NSW)|
|DNF||Chloe Mcintosh (VIC)|
|DNF||Carley McKay (VIC)|
|DNF||Laurelea Moss (QLD)|
|DNF||Minda Murray (VIC)|
|DNF||Prudence Rothwell (VIC)|
|DNF||Emma Viotto (ACT)|
|DNF||Rachel Ward (VIC)|
|DNF||Lauretta Hanson (VIC)|
|DNF||Julia Kalotas (WA)|
|DNF||Gina Ricardo (NSW)|
|DNF||Victoria Snibson (VIC)|
|DNS||Sarah Roy (NSW)|
|DNS||Marissa Madden (NSW)|
|DNS||Maddison Vit (QLD)|