Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships 2012

January 5-10, 2012, Ballarat, Buninyong, Australia, Road - CN

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Jane Aubrey

Welcome to Cyclingnews coverage of the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. We'll be doing live updates from the under 23 men's and women's road races in Buninyong starting with the under 23 men at 10 AM AEDT, Saturday, January 1.

  1. 13:30:12 AEDT

    The riders have just left the start of the women's road race. Oceania Champion Shara Gillow is outright favourite in the 102km event.

  2. 13:40:47 AEDT

    The break went early in the under23 men's race earlier. Not sure if it will be the same in women's event.

  3. 13:42:16 AEDT

    A little later on, Rebecca McConnell, a winner of a stage of the Giro Donne in 2004 will be joining me in commentary to talk about the race today and the state of the sport.

  4. 13:43:38 AEDT

    The bunch is all together just prior to heading onto the finishing straight for the completion of the first lap.

  5. 13:44:31 AEDT

    We have had a few girls drop off the back following the first climb. No word on which riders just yet.

  6. 13:46:45 AEDT

    GreenEdge's Melissa Hoskins, winner of the 2012 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic leads the bunch through at the end of lap one. Emma Mackie was on her tail, followed by Specialized - lululemon's Chloe Hosking and Rabobank's Lauren Kitchen.

  7. 13:47:41 AEDT

    Chloe McIntosh is the first of the riders off the back, she's 1:49 down.

  8. 13:50:38 AEDT

    In some worrying news, Rochelle Gilmore is one of the riders off the back. The Commonwealth Road Champion is around 2:30 behind the bunch. Gilmore told Cyclingnews earlier in the week at the Bay Crits that today is 'D-Day' in terms of some key decisions moving forward for her immediate season. She pulled out of Thursday's criterium citing tiredness.

  9. 13:53:52 AEDT

    Rochelle Gilmore has just retired from the race, the bunch is at the top of the climb.

  10. 13:54:40 AEDT

    Meantime, Queensland's Katrin Garfoot has a 200 metre gap on the bunch at the top of the climb.

  11. 14:00:32 AEDT

    First points have been decided in the QOM. Garfoot, followed by India Faehndrich, and Taryn Heather.

  12. 14:07:51 AEDT

    Just checking the photo for the first sprint points today. Was a close one but from our prime position in the VIP tent, GreenEdge's Jessie Maclean looked to have it.

    Lap time was 17:40.

  13. 14:11:27 AEDT

    Slight gap on the field gained by Kate Fraser Jones. It's been suggested that the Bendigo rider could be a bit of a dark-horse today.

  14. 14:21:39 AEDT

    Fraser Jones still holding a slender lead 200 metre lead as the bunch gets the seven laps to go call.

  15. 14:22:51 AEDT

    GreenEdge, with Jessie Maclean at the head of the bunch. Chloe Hosking (Specialized - lululemon) just on their wheel sitting safely.

  16. 14:25:17 AEDT

    The bunch is 40-strong at this point, Bec Werner of the Specialized SA team is the last rider there. Two minutes back, Alexis Barnes leads a group of four riders - Kristy Glover, Katherine O'Shea and Miffy Galloway.

  17. 14:34:24 AEDT

    Lets have a look at some of the contenders for the title this afternoon. Defending champion Alexis Rhodes (GreenEdge-AIS) made her intentions clear with the criterium win on Thursday. She's been putting plenty of time in behind the scooter back in Adelaide in preparation for the 2012 season after recovering from iliac artery surgery.

    Carla Ryan is a former winner of the title, she's also in strong form.

    Loren Rowney won the Honda Hybrid Women's Tour and looked to be in good form earlier in the week at the Bay Crits.

    Sue Forsyth from NSW is a fighter, she'll be looking for a breakaway opportunity.

    Lauren Kitchen (Rabobank) will also be one to watch, as will speed merchant Chloe Hosking (Specialized - lululemon)

    If you're looking for a smokey, Lisa Jacobs from Victoria can climb and might look for a break.

  18. 14:39:12 AEDT

    Kate Fraser Jones has just been brought back to the bunch.

  19. 14:42:06 AEDT

    Jessie Maclean (GreenEdge) is leading the sprint competition now on 6 points having taken the second intermediate. She's in great form. Nicole Whitburn was second across the line.

  20. 14:42:54 AEDT

    Report from the top of the climb is that rain is starting to fall. The clouds are certainly darkening.

  21. 14:48:59 AEDT

    Kate Fraser Jones has just crossed the line at the top of the climb for maximum points. She has a slight gap on the peloton once again.

  22. 14:57:18 AEDT

    GreenEdge-AIS leading the bunch with just over 50 kilometres to go. That means there's five laps left to race.

  23. 14:58:43 AEDT

    GreenEdge-AIS' Jessie Maclean has just taken the sprint points again. Followed by Nicole Whitburn and Rebecca Wiasak.

  24. 15:01:01 AEDT

    Having a quick look  at some of those riders in the top 10 - Tiffany Cromwell (GreenEdge), Amanda Spratt (GreenEdge), Bridie O'Donnell, Taryn Heather and Alexis Rhodes.

  25. 15:03:01 AEDT

    Reports that Lauren Kitchen (Rabobank) punctured on the last lap but she got back to the bunch safely.

    Also, and slightly disturbingly, an egg landed  just in front of the peloton as they rounded the corner after the start - finish area. Can I say this might be about to turn into a cracking race?

  26. 15:04:52 AEDT

    2011 NRS winner, Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) attempted to make a move off the front on the climb but was just as quickly reeled in by GreenEdge-AIS.

  27. 15:06:13 AEDT

    The fabulous Rebecca McConnell has just joined me here in commentary, welcome.

    RM: Thanks Jane, it's great to be here.

  28. 15:08:47 AEDT

    How do you see this one panning out?

    RM: It'll start heating up now with only 4 laps to go. We just saw Grace Sulzberger try to break away but GreenEdge were hot on her heels. They are looking very strong and appear to be working well together.

  29. 15:10:42 AEDT

    Melissa Hoskins (GreenEdge-AIS) has just abandoned. She's just tweeted "Job done for the girls" and she did what she could.

  30. 15:15:30 AEDT

    Bec, who do you think will be the strongest rider today for GreenEdge-AIS? They've got a few options currently in the top 10.

    RM: Alexis Rhodes is looking very comfortable. She was sitting at the back of the bunch a couple of laps ago as the peloton came through the start/finish line. Shara Gillow is also strong and has come off a great week of racing at the Jayco Bay Classic.

  31. 15:20:34 AEDT

    So who is your pick out of Gillow and Rhodes?

    RM: Depends on what their tactics are. Shara is a talented climber but Alex is also very strong on this type of course, as we saw last year with her stunning win. I predict there will several attacks with a couple of laps to go with both riders in the mix.

  32. 15:22:43 AEDT

    Grace Sulzberger and Tiffany Cromwell have just made a move on the climb.

    Two riders also came down on the highway - Sue Forsyth and Bec Werner. Not sure of their condition.

  33. 15:23:19 AEDT

    Correction. That's Gracie Elvin that's moved away, not Grace Sulzberger.

  34. 15:31:43 AEDT

    Decisive break of 12 riders:

    Grace Elvin, Alexis Rhodes, Loren Rowney, Shara Gillow, Amanda Spratt, Griffiths, Hogan, Cromwell, Taylor, Heather, Neylan, Ryan

    Chasing group of 7 @ 0:10

  35. 15:32:13 AEDT

    Bec, women's cycling has certainly been under the microscope in the opening week of the 2012 season, how did you view the controversy at the Bay Crits with Chloe Hosking?

    RM: The racing was fantastic by all riders and Chloe started with a bang winning the first hot dog crit in Geelong. Being a cyclist at the top level for women and men is tough no matter what. As soon as you finish a race you are still running with adrenaline. Chloe possibly didn't think about what she was saying.

  36. 15:33:36 AEDT

    Chase group of 7 has now joined the 12.

  37. 15:37:16 AEDT

    Gracie Elvin looking very strong in the lead bunch of 18 riders. Two-and-a-half laps to go.

  38. 15:38:44 AEDT

    Think we're in for a wet finish here at the women's road race.

  39. 15:42:24 AEDT

    Bec, no one has really spoken about Rachel Neylan yet. How do you rate her chances?

    RM: She appears to be riding strong and still in with a chance. The bunch has wittled down and it will depend on whether any attacks will stay away. She will need to keep on top of her game as she is up against the GreenEdge and AIS team.

  40. 15:44:09 AEDT

  41. 15:45:40 AEDT

    Last update was Jessie Maclean picking up one of her many many intermediate sprints for the day.

  42. 15:46:17 AEDT

    Current situation update: Amanda Spratt solo

    Decisive break of 18 riders including @ 0:40

    Grace Elvin, Alexis Rhodes, Loren Rowney, Shara Gillow, Griffiths, Hogan, Cromwell, Taylor, Heather, Neylan, Ryan

  43. 15:48:44 AEDT

    We're still waiting on confirmation of the 18 riders in the break.

  44. 15:49:34 AEDT

    Fastest lap so far of the race. 16:51

  45. 15:49:38 AEDT

    Spratt just came through. She's looking really strong.

  46. 15:50:42 AEDT

    Spratt's advantage is 34 seconds with two laps to go.

  47. 15:54:17 AEDT

    Sinead Noonan was 2nd last year in the under23 category so, as the only U23 rider left in the break, it looks like she's going to go one better in 2012.

  48. 15:55:45 AEDT

    Consensus here is that Spratt will take this. Tell us what you think using #roadnats on Twitter.

  49. 15km remaining from 102km

    15:56:47 AEDT

    Chase group has diminished to 12 riders, the chase is looking sporadic at best.

  50. 16:02:01 AEDT

    Time gap is out to 50 seconds now.

  51. 11km remaining from 102km

    16:05:51 AEDT

    Spratt coming into sight on the final straight for what will be the penultimate time. She just has to hang on for 11 more kilometres!

  52. 10.1km remaining from 102km

    16:08:04 AEDT

    Main bunch comes through, and they've lost more time. 1:16 to Spratt.

  53. 16:09:45 AEDT

    Peta Mullens and Loren Rowney come through for their bell lap. Not the best course for them to be fair!

  54. 16:10:01 AEDT

    Bec, you've raced in Europe, you must be pretty pleased to see this elite group now leading the race and better still, all heading for a big season overseas?

    RM: Yes Jane it's wonderful to see these riders putting on a great show today on this very challenging course. These ladies train very hard putting in loads of hours on the road and the ergo's. This is also a big year for them with the London Olympics around the corner where the standard is generally much higher worldwide with all riders aiming to be picked in the team and peaking in late July / August.

  55. -4km remaining from 102km

    16:10:36 AEDT

    • Climb

    On the climb now, Spratt still riding smoothly. She's in the zone.

  56. 16:12:18 AEDT

    • Dropped

    Lauren Kitchen and Chloe Hosking just came through. Off the pace today.

  57. 3km remaining from 102km

    16:13:41 AEDT

    Crowd building here in Buninyong for the finish.

  58. 2km remaining from 102km

    16:17:51 AEDT

    This is it. Spratt is going to have plenty of time to celebrate this one.

  59. 16:19:01 AEDT

    Big thanks to Rebecca McConnell for joining us today.

  60. 2km remaining from 102km

    16:19:22 AEDT

    Real battle will be for second and third now. Who's your tip?

  61. 16:20:22 AEDT

    Amanda Spratt just passed the three kilometres to go mark.

  62. 1km remaining from 102km

    16:22:10 AEDT

    She's just appeared on the final stretch.

  63. 0.5km remaining from 102km

    16:22:41 AEDT

    You can see the pain on her face! Come on Spratty!

  64. 0km remaining from 102km

    16:23:16 AEDT

    Amanda Spratt is the elite women's national champion!

  65. 16:23:52 AEDT

    Hands in the air from Amanda Spratt as she crossed the line. A very happy girl!

  66. 16:24:43 AEDT

    Tiffany Cromwell makes it a GreenEdge 1-2. Rachel Neylan gets bronze.

  67. 16:26:16 AEDT

    Thanks for joining us today, it's been a pleasure covering both women's and under 23 men's events!

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