Rochelle Gilmore (HP Pinarello) outsprinted Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) to win the inaugural Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour stage. Broun lost the wheel of Gilmore on the tight, technical run in to the line but held on for second, ahead of Davina Summers (Cycle City/felt) who took third. Gilmore, the pre-race favourite, did not disappoint the crowds waiting at the finish line. With a very technical last 300m, Gilmore was positioned perfectly for her run to the line.
Gilmore was very happy with her win and reflected on the difficult conditions that faced the women on day one. “I don’t think conditions could be much worse, wind, rain and freezing cold,” said Gilmore. “We were under numbered, with only three in the team but they did a great job. We tried to keep control of the race, we did exactly what we wanted to do and finished on top.”
Following her second place Broun hopes to rider herself into contention during tomorrow’s individual time trial. “In the end it came down to the final sprint, which was very technical, I skidded out on the roundabout coming into the sprint. We are in contention for the overall GC so we are happy,” said Broun.
Third placed Summers said the race was very safe, despite the difficult conditions the women’s peloton faced. “Conditions were difficult out there today, but the racing was safe and open. The tough technical finish made things difficult right at the end but it was a great race,” she said. “I like to win, but I am happy with third place, especially next to Rochelle Gilmore and Kirsty Broun, who are both great riders. Being on the podium with them is great.”
With nearly 80 entries, the Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour started in overcast conditions. Temperatures were below 10 degrees as the bunch rolled out of Anglesea.
As the bunch approached the first climb, they were strung out and jockeying for position at the bottom, but strung out into a line during the assent to the top. At the top of the climb it was Simone Grounds (Bundaberg Sugar) who crossed the line ahead of Whitelaw and Gilmore.
Over the top the first attack of the day was made by Prime Estate Buyers Agent team’s Joanne Hogan, which forced the bunch to react. Hogan only managed to hold the bunch at 200m, but stayed ahead for several kilometres before the combined SAS/QAS/NTID team moved to close this down.
A counterattack was launched by Danielle Nykos (Race) and Rebecca Halliday (Velo Girls). They were quickly chased down by MB Cycles, when Maryam Rogers (St Kilda A) tried to get away on a small descent but Louise Kerr and Carlee Taylor (SAS/QAS/NTID) closed her gap quickly. Rebecca Locke (Prime Estate) attempted to get clear but only managed an 8m gap before Lauren Kitchen (HP Pinarello) close the gap.
Approaching the first of the sprint points MB Cycles were on the front and set up the Broun. They did the same for the second sprint, allowing Broun to dominate. “The MB Cycles team worked really hard for me today. There were a couple of attacks but the team buried themselves to cover them,” said Broun.
Despite a number of attempts to attack on the 15 kilometre lead in to the finish, a leading group of 40 riders were all together at five kilometres to go. The fast descent to the finish saw the bunch hit a top speed of 75km/hr for the final four kilometers of racing. Whitelaw was on the front to ensure that her team leader was protected and pulled off with 500m to go to allow Gilmore to see the series of turns just before the finishing line.
|1||Rochelle Gilmore (HP Pinarello)|
|2||Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles)|
|3||Davina Summers (Cycle City / Felt)|