Palmer takes out final round of NSW Grand Prix

Ankudinoff hits back in the women's race with a win in Wollongong

Thomas Palmer (Drapac) showed that he has fully recovered from his injuries that hampered most of his season by taking out the Wollongong round of the NSW Grand Prix. Palmer won the sprint from a select group including the GP’s overall winner Michael Matthews (Rabobank). Matthews was aggressive throughout the 50-lap race and while he could not follow-up from his win yesterday, he did enough to capture the overall title.

In the women’s event it was yesterday’s real winner Ashlee Ankudinoff (Jayco-AIS) who took out the race after a dominant display with her teammate Gracie Elvin. The duo took off in the closing moments of the women’s and kept their gap over a very small field all the way to the finish.

Kimberley Wells (Specialized Securitor) started the day in the race leader’s jersey - Ankudinoff was relegated from her first-place in Cronulla after receiving incorrect information from a race official regarding a late-race crash. Wells however, was isolated in the leading group and lost contact in the final laps of the race.

Elite Men

The men started the 50-lap race under strong winds that disintegrated the field in the opening five laps. It became clear who the strongest riders were as a leading group amassed off the front after around 30-minutes and went about establishing the race-winning group.

Race leader Matthews was part of the breakaway and he was joined by Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEdge), Palmer, Marc Williams (Team Budget Forklifts), Aaron Gate (L and M Group Racing) and Jack Edwards (NSWIS) who jumped from the chasing group and made a valiant effort on his own to join the group.

At the finish Palmer’s speed was too much for his breakaway companions as he took the win with over a bike length to second-place.

"I’m really happy to have my health back and really feel my legs under me," race winner Palmer told Cyclingnews. "I love this sort of format of race and it’s a really great race to come back and get a little bit of confidence. [I’m] really happy to get a result."

"The goal today was just to keep the jersey and get the overall win," Matthews told Cyclingnews. "I knew Tommie [Thomas] was in the bunch so I tried to hold his wheel but he was just a little bit stronger than me. It’s awesome for another Canberra guy to get up for the win," said Matthews in regard to Palmer who also hails from the country’s capital city.

Elite Women

The women’s race gave an indication of how the men’s race, which ran immediately following, would unfold. The brutal winds tore apart the women’s field in the opening laps before a front group of around 20 riders remained.

Race leader Wells found herself isolated toward the end of the race and after a number of attacks she was left scrambling to maintain her position. She was unable to catch back on as the lead group, which dwindled to around 10, was set to sprint out the finish.

Coming into the final laps it was the Jayco-AIS duo of Ankudinoff and Elvin who proved too good for the remaining chasers. The two worked perfectly together with Ankudinoff getting her second win of the weekend. This time however, there was no chance of the victory being taken away.

New Zealand’s Sophie Williamson, riding for Bates Bikes, did enough to capture the overall title with Lauren Kitchen (Dream Team) in second and the day’s winner Ankudinoff in third.

"It was good win yesterday but I got the win taken off me," Ankudinoff told Cyclingnews. I just wanted to come out here and do it again, and actually win the race this time."

"My chain dropped [yesterday] so I had to stop. I asked the commissare if I should stay here or go across the road where we were supposed to rejoin but he told me to go across the road. If I joined where I stopped it would have been four laps but it wasn’t to be but I rejoined with about three and a half laps to go. It happens," she said.



Elite Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling20 pts
2Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge18 
3Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank16 
4Jack Edwards (Aus) NSWIS15 
5Aaron Gate (NZl) L and M Group Racing NZ14 
6Marc Williams (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts13 
7Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge12 
8Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge11 
Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus) Jayco-AIS20 pts
2Gracie Elvin (Aus) Gracie Elvin (Aus) Jayco AIS18 
3Sophie Williamson (NZl) Bates Bikes16 
4Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) Suzuki-Trek15 
5Emily Collins (Aus) Dream Team14 
6Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Dream Team13 
7Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-AIS12 
8Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS11 
Men's final standings NSW Grand Prix
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank36 pts
2Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling35 
3Aaron Gate (NZl) L and M Group Racing NZ32 
4Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge28 
5Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge28 
6Jack Edwards (Aus) NSWIS28 
7Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky24 
8Marc Williams (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts23 
9Joseph Lewis (Aus) GPM-Wilson Racing22 
10Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen- Mercator21 
11Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge21 
Women's final standings NSW Grand Prix
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sophie Williamson (NZl) Wakatipu31 pts
2Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Dream Team31 
3Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) AIS30 
4Emily Collins (Aus) Dream Team30 
5Kimberley Wells (Aus) Specialized-Securitor30 
6Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) Suzuki-Trek28 
7Sarah Roy (Aus) St George24 
8Brittany Lindores (Aus) Team Boss Constructions22 

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