A two-time individual time trial national champion, Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott) added an Australian road title to her palmares in Buninyong on Sunday as she became the first woman in eight years to do the time trial and road double. Garfoot won a two-up sprint against teammate Amanda Spratt to pull on the green and gold jersey.
"I wanted to be here for a few years now, and I finally did it," Garfoot said in a post-race press conference attended by Cyclingnews. "It feels great. Also, the double, which was the dream coming into it. It's very special, especially because it's such a rare thing to achieve."
Spratt and Garfoot came together over the QOM climb on the third-to-last lap of the 102-kilometre race. While there was a concerted chase effort in their wake, the pair were undeniably the strongest on Sunday.
"We wanted to get to the finish together," Spratt, the defending champion and a two-time road race winner in Buninyong, told reporters, including Cyclingnews. "We knew it was going to come down to a sprint. We agreed we'd work together to stay away and then sprint it out.
"We couldn't have dreamt up a better scenario where we had two off the front from the same team," she added. "Then there was no mucking around. It was just we both commit to the plan. There's no one sitting on. We just both gave it all. We're both really happy to pull it off."
How it happened
The elite women's peloton used the opening lap of the 10-lap (10.2-kilometre/lap) race to settle into a race rhythm. The pace was high but manageable with no reported attacks.
That changed on lap two when a trio of Queenslanders escaped from the peloton. Jenelle Crooks (Orica-Scott), Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Ellen Skerritt (unaffliated) went on the attack up the Mount Buninyong. The group would grow their gap beyond the three-minute mark by lap four.
"We weren't stressed with that first move," said Spratt. "It was great to have Jenelle out there. Even when the gap got out, we had the plan on lap five to put it in the gutter in the crosswind up the climb. That worked perfectly."
It was Garfoot who assumed responsibility for the uplift in pace up Mount Buninyong on lap six. Her acceleration split the peloton and set the stage for the winning move.
"I wanted it to be a hard race," said Garfoot. "The way to make it hard was to be make it hard on the climb. If I'm hurting on the front, it means everyone else is suffering as well. Following Shara's break, I tried to make some time up. I always try to use the climb to make it hard for everyone.
"Before the race, we knew we wanted to make the attacks around five laps to go or four laps to go, depending on what was happening. That was already the plan. Amanda was holding me back quite a bit – 'wait until lap five, wait until lap five'. We knew coming up on lap five, and we did it, and we did it again on lap four."
A group of seven riders emerged on the start of lap seven. Garfoot and Spratt were joined by Carlee Taylor (Alé Cipollini), Lucy Kennedy (High5 Dream Team), Ruth Corset (Total Rush), Shannon Malseed (Holden Women's Cycling, Emily Roper (High5 Dream Team). The seven became ten when the chasers overtook the early breakaway.
With three riders amongst the ten leaders, Orica-Scott had the numerical advantage – and the pure power advantage, too. Both Garfoot and Spratt attacked, setting Spratt up for a solo breakaway. Kennedy was the only rider able to the mark the moves.
With Spratt away alone, Garfoot hit Kennedy with another acceleration. It was enough for Garfoot to distance Kennedy and bridge up to her teammate. Kennedy produced the best ride of her life to hold off Taylor, Corset, Crooks, Gillow and Malseed as she time trialled to bronze.
At the start of the last lap, spectators watching the live stream on the big screens along the finishing stretch began to speculate as to how Garfoot and Spratt would handle the finish. Would one gift the win to the other or would the Orica-Scott duo treat fans to a battle between teammates?
"[Sport director] Gene Bates came up to us with a lap and a half left and said: ‘Good work, girls. I don't care what happens. Just make it to the finish.' We kind of agreed that we would work together until the last climb and then see from there," said Spratt.
"We were talking to each other going up the climb," said Garfoot. "Our goal was to go up the hill together and go over the hill together and ride together to the sprint."
It was game-on in the sprint, with Spratt holding tight to to Garfoot's wheel in the run-in to the line.
"My plan was actually to be on her wheel at one kilometre to go and hit her but, of course, she was too smart for that," said Garfoot. "She had me on the front. I knew that she was in the same scenario with Ruth [Corset] last year. I watched her shadow quite clearly. I stayed to the left where the wind shelter would be if she pulled out to the right.
"I had to go for it eventually," said Garfoot. "I couldn't wait for her to get the jump on me. I tried to leave it as late as possible but still get the jump on her."
Although she was forced to open her sprint from the front, her kick packed enough of a punch to hold off Spratt on the run-in the line.
"Honestly, I think she was the strongest bike rider out there today," said Spratt. "She's a deserving winner."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-Scott||2:57:50|
|2||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|3||Lucy Kennedy (Aus) QAS||0:01:27|
|4||Shannon Malseed (Aus) Holden Women's Team||0:03:00|
|5||Shara Gillow (Aus)|
|6||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|7||Ruth Corset (Aus) Total Rush|
|8||Carlee Taylor (Aus) Alé Cipollini Galassia|
|9||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM||0:06:34|
|10||Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) High5 Dream Team|
|11||Brodie Chapman (Aus)||0:07:10|
|12||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé Cipollini Galassia||0:07:19|
|13||Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|14||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|15||Alexandra Manly (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|16||Kendelle Hodges (Aus) Team Colavita|
|17||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) WM3|
|18||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hagens Berman | Supermint|
|19||Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare|
|20||Jessica Mundy (Aus)|
|21||Emily Parkes (Aus) CBR|
|22||Madeline Wright (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|23||Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica-Scott|
|24||Rebecca Mackey (Aus)|
|25||Justine Barrow (Aus) Total Rush|
|26||Jaime Gunning (Aus) QAS||0:07:23|
|27||Kate Perry (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing||0:07:33|
|28||Ella Scanlan-Bloor (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing||0:07:37|
|29||Lucy Bechtel (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|30||Kristy Glover (Aus) Total Rush||0:07:51|
|31||Victoria Veitch (Aus) MBB||0:08:24|
|32||Rebecca Stephens (Aus) CBR|
|33||Erin Kinnealy (Aus)||0:09:34|
|34||Aimee Ingram (Aus) Total Rush|
|35||Kimberley Wells (Aus)|
|36||Louisa Lobigs (Aus) Holden Women's Team||0:09:37|
|37||Emily Roper (Aus)||0:10:36|
|38||Rachel Ward (Aus) CBR||0:11:26|
|DNF||Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus) NSWIS|
|DNF||Anna Booth (Aus)|
|DNF||Emily Cunningham (Aus)|
|DNF||Tayla Evans (Aus)|
|DNF||Tessa Fabry (Aus) High5 Dream Team|
|DNF||Narelle Hards (Aus) MBB|
|DNF||Jessica Lane (Aus) MVS|
|DNF||Liz Leyden (Aus) VRT|
|DNF||Sophie Mackay (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Chloe Mcintosh (Aus) CBR|
|DNF||Minda Murray (Aus) Total Rush|
|DNF||Ellen Skerritt (Aus) QAS|
|DNF||Abby Sneddon (Aus) Roxsolt|
|DNF||Verita Stewart (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing|
|DNF||Margeaux Thompson (Aus)|
|DNF||Emma Viotto (Aus) CBR|
|DNF||Lucy Barker (Aus)|
|DNF||Carley Mckay (Aus) MVS|
|DNF||Emma Roberts (Aus) MBB|
|DNF||Kristina Clonan (Aus) QAS|
|DNF||Charlotte Culver (Aus) Total Rush|
|DNF||Kirsty Deacon (Aus) PPK|
|DNF||Kerry Jonker (Aus)|
|DNF||Nicola Macdonald (Aus) NSWIS|
|DNF||Jessica Pratt (Aus)|
|DNF||Ayla Rudgley (Aus) CBR|
|DNS||Josie Talbot (Aus)|
|DNS||Grace Brown (Aus) Holden Women's Team|
|DNS||Lisen Hockings (Aus) Holden Women's Team|
|DNS||Kate Jenkin (Aus)|
|DNS||Chloe Moran (Aus) SAS)|
|DNS||Holly Ranson (Aus) MBB|
|DNS||Natalie Redmond (Aus)|
|DNS||Loren Rowney (Aus) Orica-Scott|