North Sydney's Sue Forsyth (Team SiS-NSW) upstaged her breakaway rivals to take out race two of the NSW Grand Prix Series at Cronulla on Sunday afternoon.
Forsyth, who last month won the opening stage of the Honda Hybrid Women's Tour, found herself in the good company of the main breakaway of the day with Chloe Hosking (Specialized Women SA), Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-Focus), Peta Mullens (BikeExchange Dream Team) and Shara Gillow (Jayco-AIS). The 27-year-old attacked with three laps remaining and took the win comfortably from Hosking and Mullens – a solid result given she had finished fourth at the Cronulla event the last two years running.
Meantime, former national champion Kirsty Broun while not a major player in the day's proceedings did enough to secure the overall victory following her second placing in Wollongong on Saturday.
In a remarkable turn of events, the Series marked Forsyth's first major race since returning from AIS selection camp for the 2012 road team from which she returned early and disappointed. At the camp, Forsyth had received some advice from head coach, Martin Barras to attack more.
"It was a massive eye-opener, huge learning curve," she said at the finish. " One of the things I need to work on is to be more aggressive and attack – part of that's just having confidence and just by having someone like Marv say that to me, I thought today well, prove him wrong and show that you can do it."
Forsyth, who's also spent 2011 working with former Commonwealth road champion Natalie Bates explained that riding solo meant she limited in her tactical options.
"I wanted to go earlier," she confirmed. " I really wanted to win this race hard and if I could do that in the first lap or two then fantastic. There's so many good teams here and I didn't have a team so I had to put it on the line."
For Broun, the overall win was a bonus considering she has spent the last nine months working as a criminal solicitor in Brisbane and only trained herself back into form for the Series. The BikeExchange Dream Team were almost given underdog status for the events with Rochelle Gilmore a late scratching through injury, altering team tactics and bumping Broun up the order.
"I was actually hoping that Peta would have won it because she deserves it so much more sometimes," Broun explained. " She's such a good worker with the team and she's been a long-standing member so it would have been fantastic for her to win and me to take second spot. As long as the BikeExchange Dream Team has got the overall then that's a fantastic result for us.
"I've come into the series as fresh as I possibly could be leading up to it so there was no pressure. I was just doing my own thing in Brisbane, trying to keep a low profile so to come away with the win, I'm ecstatic about it all. It's been a very good weekend."
How it unfolded:
Racing got underway in hot and blustery conditions next to Elouera Surf Club, with the sapphire waters no doubt looking an entertaining prospect.
Some of the strongest women in the peloton were keen to show themselves early with Rebecca Werner (Specialized Women SA), Skye Lee Armstrong (RBK Cycling) and Hosking all taking turns in leading the bunch through the start-finish line before the select group of five riders eventually worked their way to a seven second gap on lap five of 18.
On the other side, Broun and her plucky teammate Myfanwy Galloway hit the ground following the u-turn bend and took a lap out to recover with the latter suffering a gash to her right arm.
Heading into lap seven, Forsyth showed her initiative in a bid to test her rivals and gained a brief three second gap before sharing duties on the front with Hosking.
Given the line-up of the breakaway, it was going to be hard to find willing participants to a chase and the five's advantage was soon out to as much as 22 seconds, with Specialized Women SA and Jayco-AIS maintaining a strong presence at the front of the main bunch.
With 15 laps down, Forsyth made her move and never looked back.
"The girls in the break didn't need to work and that's racing so I really had to just do it myself," she surmised.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sue Forsyth (Team SiS-NSW)||20||pts|
|2||Chloe Hoskins (Specialized Women SA)||18|
|3||Peta Mullens (BikeExchange Dream Team)||16|
|4||Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-Focus)||15|
|5||Shara Gillow (Jayco-AIS)||14|
|6||Kate Bates (Specialized Women)||13|
|7||Kirsty Broun (BikeExchange Dream Team)||12|
|8||Megan Bagworth (Suzuki Trek)||11|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kirsty Broun (BikeExchange Dream Team)||30||pts|
|2||Jessie MacLean (Jayco-AIS)||30|
|3||Peta Mullens (BikeExchange Dream Team)||29|
|4||Evgena Romanyuta (RusVelo)||26|
|5||Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-Focus)||25|
|6||Trudy van der Straaten (Specialized Women SA)||25|
|7||Shara Gillow (Jayco-AIS)||24|
|8||Allison Rice (Suzuki Trek)||24|