Despite being outnumbered and off the list of favourites, Rebecca Wiasak outgunned former champions Sarah Roy and Kimberley Wells to claim the Australian women’s criterium title.
A two-time individual pursuit world champion on the track, 33-year-old Wiasak has enjoyed success in several criteriums but, due to previous track commitments, didn’t have the opportunity to pursue the national title.
"I am thrilled to take the win. I haven’t been able to do the national championships the last few years because I am a track cyclist and we usually have commitments with World Cups and the World Championships," Wiasak said.
"This course really suits me and I spent some time in America last year honing my craft with Fearless Femme and hopefully I can head back overseas with them again and do a couple of months’ stint with them."
Mitchelton-Scott were active across the race, the plan being to set up Roy and defending champion Jessica Allen for the sprint. With attacks failing to materialise on the final laps of the race, a sprint finish became inventible. While Roy and Mitchelton-Scott took one side of the road, a crafty move on the other by Wiasak, hiding from the wind, led her to a debut green and gold jersey on the road.
"I did my own thing and picked my own line and went on the left line," she said. "Sarah Roy and her team were up on the right so it was pretty much a drag race on opposite sides of the course and I was pretty pumped to take the win."
How it unfolded
Ballarat’s Sturt Street was lit up in late afternoon golden glow for the women’s criterium, welcoming the riders into the 2018 season.
With a peloton of quality criterium riders, the opening laps were fast and aggressive, with numerous attempts to force an early break. While several riders tried to get clear on the 1.1km circuit, Mitchelton-Scott’s Amanda Sprat and Lauren Kitchen of FJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope had the best chance but could only pull out a handful of seconds on the bunch.
The duo was reeled in but Kitchen remained on the front of the peloton, setting the tempo and, in doing so, trimming the bunch. Mitchelton-Scott played a role in maintaining a high tempo and ensuring no significant moves were made inside the final laps.
On the bell lap, teams and riders were jostling for position as Wiasak put her track craft to use, along with her finishing power to claim the gold.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Rebecca Wiasak (Aus)||0:53:26|
|2||Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|3||Kimberley Wells (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|
|4||Kristina Clonan (Aus)|
|5||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hagens Berman Supermint|
|6||Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Aus)|
|7||Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare|
|8||Matilda Raynolds (Aus)|
|9||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|10||Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus)|
|11||Maeve Plouffe (Aus) SASI|
|12||Brodie Chapman (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|13||Shannon Malseed (Aus) TIBCO-SVB|
|14||Josie Talbot (Aus)||0:00:06|
|15||Anna Booth (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|16||Emma Viotto (Aus)|
|17||Taryn Heather (Aus)|
|18||Jessica Mundy (Aus)|
|19||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|20||Breanna Hargrave (Aus) SASI||0:00:08|
|21||Erin Nolan (Aus) Veris Racing||0:00:12|
|22||Annelise Jefferies (Aus)|
|23||Lucy Bechtel (Aus)|
|24||Kendelle Hodges (Aus)||0:00:15|
|25||Minda Murray (Aus)|
|26||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|27||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|28||Erin Kinnealy (Aus) Holden Team Gusto||0:00:17|
|29||Jessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:28|
|30||Nicola MacDonald (Aus) Holden Team Gusto||0:00:53|
|DNF||Rachel Ward (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Rachel Ward (Aus)|
|DNF||Sarah Tucknott (Aus)|
|DNF||Angela Smith (Aus)|
|DNF||Ayla Rudgley (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||Melissa Robinson (Aus)|
|DNF||Chloe Moran (Aus) SASI|
|DNF||Jessica Lane (Aus)|
|DNF||Kerry Jonker (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Chloe Heffernan (Aus)|
|DNF||Alana Haansbergen (Aus)|
|DNF||Kirsty Deacon (Aus)|
|DNF||Emma Chilton (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Saffron Button (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNS||Jordyn Hassett (Aus)|
|DNS||Naomi Williams (Aus)|
|DNS||Carlee Taylor (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|
|DNS||Rebecca Stephens (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNS||Rebecca Locke (Aus)|
|DNS||Charlotte Culver (Aus)|