Jessica Allen’s unrelenting aggression was handsomely rewarded at the Australian national criterium championships on Wednesday. Brimming with confidence following her victory on the final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic on Tuesday, Allen launched repeated attacks to put herself in a winning position.
Allen’s last attack was enough to allow her to escape solo from a late race five-rider breakaway that included Orica-Scott teammate Jenelle Crooks, defending champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized Women’s Racing) and sprinters Emily Roper (High5 Dream Team) and Kendell Hodges (Colavita/Bianchi).
With five laps remaining from the 30-lap Sturt Street circuit race, Allen was alone and riding to victory. As the battle for silver intensified in her wake, Allen time trialed to the criterium title.
“I was pretty lost for words,” said Allen. “I couldn’t believe it in the last two laps. I was like: ‘Man, I’m going to win this.’ My salute yesterday was pretty rubbish. I had to top that one.”
Although Allen soloed across the line, the win was an obvious team effort. Having won two of three Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic races, including a clean sweep of the Portarlington podium, Orica-Scott has shown its on a mission and its riders have the form to back up their ambitions.
Verita Stewart (Specialized Women’s Racing) threw down the first attack of the day, launching through the finish area on lap two. Her escape was short-lived, and Crooks marked a counter-attack when Stewart was caught. The six-rider move lasted less than 10 minutes, and when the peloton reabsorbed the break, Allen jumped.
“Our main objective today was to be aggressive from about 10 minutes,” said Allen. “We did that perfectly.”
Allen’s attack inspired the formation of a five-rider move with Crooks and Specialized Women’s Racing Lucy Betchel, former two-time criterium champion Kimberley Wells (unaffiliated) and reigning Australian XCM MTB champion Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint). Unhappy with the composition of the group, Crooks attacked and slipped away with Mullens.
With the remnants of the breakaway within reach, the peloton launched a fresh wave of attacks. Australian national road champion Amanda Spratt marked a successful bridge attempt by Betchel. Midway through the race, the quartet had returned to the bunch, and Allen was on the attack again. Mackay played her first card, riding across to Allen. Roper, Crooks and Hodges followed.
It was this five-rider move from which Allen would emerge victorious. Crooks and Allen were unrelenting, repeatedly hitting Roper, Crooks and Hodges with accelerations.
“Jenelle and I aren’t sprinters and didn’t want to be in the breakaway with the likes of Kendelle Hodges, Emily Roper and former Australian champion Sophie Mackay,” explained Allen. “We knew we had to attack and that’s what we did. She attacked and I attacked and I knew one of us would get away. I was lucky enough for it to be me.”
Allen’s gap ballooned as the peloton took on the race for second, with several riders from the bunch mixing in with the remnants of the breakaway on the line. Forty-one seconds after an emotional Allen secured the title, Shannon Malseed (Holden Women’s Cycling) outsprinted Hodges for silver. First year senior Nicola MacDonald (NSWIS) won the U23 jersey with 11th place.
“You give up a lot to do this sport,” said Allen. “It’s a tough sport, and I love it. There’s a lot of hard work and training that goes into any result. You always dream of wearing the Aussie jersey. To put it on, you get tingles, and it makes all the work worthwhile.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:49:29|
|2||Kendelle Hodges (Aus) Colavita/Bianchi||0:00:41|
|3||Shannon Malseed (Aus) Holden Women's Cycling Team|
|4||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hbs|
|5||Sophie Mackay (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|6||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|7||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:00:43|
|8||Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|9||Lucy Bechtel (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing||0:00:44|
|10||Emily Roper (Aus)||0:00:46|
|11||Nicola Macdonald (Aus) NSWIS||0:00:47|
|12||Kimberley Wells (Aus)||0:00:49|
|13||Josie Talbot (Aus)|
|14||Jessica Pratt (Aus)|
|15||Brodie Chapman (Aus)||0:00:50|
|16||Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare|
|17||Jessica Mundy (Aus)|
|18||Minda Murray (Aus) Total Rush|
|19||Emma Viotto (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|20||Verita Stewart (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|21||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|22||Georgia Baker (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|23||Abby Sneddon (Aus) Roxsolt|
|24||Emily Parkes (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|25||Rachel Ward (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|26||Tayla Evans (Aus)|
|27||Annette Edmondson (Aus) WiggleHigh5|
|DNF||Alana Haansbergen (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|DNF||Liz Leyden (Aus) Veris Racing Team|
|DNF||Chloe Mcintosh (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|DNF||Natalie Redmond (Aus)|
|DNF||Rebecca Stephens (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|DNF||Emma Roberts (Aus)|
|DNF||Melissa Robinson (Aus) MVC|
|DNF||Madeleine Steele (Aus) HBC|
|DNF||Kristina Clonan (Aus) QAS|
|DNF||Charlotte Culver (Aus) Total Rush|
|DNF||Kirsty Deacon (Aus) Pitcher Partners/KCC|
|DNF||Jordyn Hassett (Aus)|
|DNF||Kerry Jonker (Aus)|
|DNF||Erin Mitchell (Aus)|
|DNF||Eloise Vaughan (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team|
|DNS||Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|DNS||Brittany Lindores (Aus)|
|DNS||Chloe Moran (Aus) SASI|
|DNS||Loren Rowney (Aus) Orica-Scott|