Ballarat local Shannon Malseed (TIBCO-SVB) upset a cast of favourites in a thrilling finale to win her first Australian national road race title. Malseed rode a smart final, staying calm despite defending champion Katrin Garfoot's late flyer.
Garfoot was only reeled in inside the final 50 metres of the 104.4km race, and of the six chasing riders, Malseed had the fastest finishing power. The 23-year-old held off Lauren Kitchen, who spent the entire day in the breakaway and Grace Brown for the gold.
"I passed Kat and then Spratty and Kitchen started to fade and I realised I was about to cross the line. I sort of prepped myself or the double hander but I was so overwhelmed that I could only balance one hand in the air. I think I lost my voice a little bit. I screamed so loud. It is absolutely amazing," said Malseed, still coming to terms with her win following the podium celebrations.
"I knew that I had the physical form coming into the nationals this year. I am riding the best that I have ever ridden and I knew that if I could hang on up that climb I have a decent sprint on me. I am a little bit sneaky. I knew I had a chance and that is all I needed."
Of the seven riders who came to the line, Kitchen arguably packs the best sprint finish but after a day in the breakaway she didn't have the legs to match Malseed.
"Long day in the breakaway but I am really happy that Shara and I can pull off a podium. This is a really good start to the year and of course, I am disappointed not to have the jersey but it is a long season. We both got a medal here this week and I am hoping we can build on that and get some more victories in the next few weeks," said Kitchen. "I knew that I had a chance to be in the mix with the medals. I have been second before so it is a little bit bittersweet, it is a good start, but too miss it is a bit disappointing when you are so close."
How it unfolded
Under cloudy skies, the women's peloton assembled on the start line to observe one minute of silence in remembrance of Jason Lowndes before racing got underway. The 23-year-old was killed in a training ride accident late last year.
On the first of the 11.6km nine laps, Jessica Allen (Mitchelton-Scott), Lauren Kitchen (FDJ), and Kate Perry (Specialized Women's Racing) rode off the front of the peloton to form the day’s main breakaway. The trio quickly pulled out three minutes and upped the advantage to four minutes by the third lap.
The advantage dropped close to three minutes next time through the start/finish gantry with Mitchelton-Scott controlling the pace at the head of the peloton, tucked in behind her former teammates with a matching yellow and black helmet but the white kit was defending champion Garfoot.
While the chase picked up from the peloton, the trio continued to collaborate, rolling turns and keeping their chances of staying away alive. On lap six the race came to life as the peloton splintered under the pressure of Mitchelton-Scott with Rachel Neylan and Tiff Cromwell initially missing the move. With 35km to race, Allen, Kitchen and Perry had 1:59 minutes over the chasing peloton.
A handful of kilometres later on the climb, Spratt put in her first move of the race with Garfoot and Malseed immediately onto her wheel. With Spratt's move neutralised, Lucy Kennedy went on the attack on the Buninyong climb for Mitchelton-Scott. Kennedy's move forced a selection with only Spratt, Garfoot, Gillow, Malseed, Brodie Chapman and Grace Brown initially able to follow before a regrouping.
On the second last lap, the breakaway's lead was down to a slender 30 seconds. Kennedy, Garfoot and Spratt the active riders in the chase. Kennedy continued her aggressive approach, forcing Garfoot to cover her moves. Spratt and Malseed then had a go through the new section of the course through the university. On the road into the finish for the bell lap, the trio was eventually caught by Spratt and Malseed with a 10-rider front group.
The final climb with 10km to race saw Spratt made her final attack but was covered by her rivals and then matched by Gillow. The aggressive finale continued with the added bonus of a Commonwealth Games place on the line for the winner.
On the Geelong Road final into the Warrenheip Street finish, Garfoot attacked the group of Spratt, Malseed, Kitchen, Brown, Brodie Chapman and Gillow and looked home and hosed for the win, set to complete a second time trial and road race double. However, Garfoot would be cruelly denied the victory as Malseed claimed the win in what will become one of the great races in the Australian national championships cannon.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Shannon Malseed (Aus) TIBCO-SVB||3:05:03|
|2||Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope|
|3||Grace Brown (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|
|4||Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|5||Katrin Garfoot (Aus)|
|6||Brodie Chapman (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|7||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:00:04|
|8||Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare||0:01:01|
|9||Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:15|
|10||Kate Perry (Aus)||0:02:08|
|11||Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:02:29|
|12||Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:02:32|
|13||Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé–Cipollini|
|14||Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM|
|15||Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus)|
|16||Rachel Neylan (Aus) Movistar|
|17||Justine Barrow (Aus)|
|18||Alex Manly (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|19||Madeline Wright (Aus)|
|20||Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott|
|21||Jessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:02:36|
|22||Taryn Heather (Aus)||0:04:22|
|23||Bree Wilson (Aus)||0:05:08|
|24||Matilda Raynolds (Aus)||0:06:43|
|25||Jessica Mundy (Aus)||0:06:45|
|26||Ella Bloor (Aus)|
|27||Peta Mullens (Aus) Hagens Berman Supermint||0:09:29|
|28||Josie Talbot (Aus)|
|29||Megan Scott (Aus)||0:11:05|
|30||Kristina Clonan (Aus)||0:11:40|
|31||Emma Chilton (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|32||Rebecca Wiasak (Aus)|
|33||Charlotte Culver (Aus)|
|34||Annelise Jefferies (Aus)|
|35||Emma Viotto (Aus)|
|36||Breanna Hargrave (Aus) SASI|
|37||Kathryn Woolston (Aus)|
|38||Carlee Taylor (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|
|39||Kendelle Hodges (Aus)|
|40||Rebecca Mackey (Aus)|
|41||Lucy Bechtel (Aus)|
|42||Holly Ranson (Aus)|
|43||Jade Colligan (Aus)|
|44||Gina Ricardo (Aus)|
|45||Rachel Ward (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|46||Erin Nolan (Aus) Veris Racing||0:16:30|
|DNF||Angela Smith (Aus)|
|DNF||Ayla Rudgley (Aus) Phoenix Cycling Collective|
|DNF||Melissa Robinson (Aus)|
|DNF||Minda Murray (Aus)|
|DNF||Kerry Jonker (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Chloe Heffernan (Aus)|
|DNF||Kirsty Deacon (Aus)|
|DNF||Saffron Button (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Anna Booth (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Maddison Beevors (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNF||Bridget Bremner (Aus)|
|DNF||Erin Kinnealy (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|
|DNF||Sarah Tucknott (Aus)|
|DNF||Rebecca Stephens (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club|
|DNS||Rebecca Locke (Aus)|
|DNS||Rebecca Henderson (Aus) Primaflor Mondraker Rotor - Ajram Capital|
|DNS||Naomi Williams (Aus)|
|DNS||Kimberley Wells (Aus) Holden Team Gusto|