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Palmer takes out final round of NSW Grand Prix

By:
Alex Malone

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

Thomas Palmer (Drapac Professional Cycling) takes out the win in NSW Grand Prix - Wollongon

Thomas Palmer (Drapac Professional Cycling) takes out the win in NSW Grand Prix - Wollongon

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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.

 

Results

Elite Men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 20  pts
2 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 18  
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 16  
4 Jack Edwards (Aus) NSWIS 15  
5 Aaron Gate (NZl) L and M Group Racing NZ 14  
6 Marc Williams (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts 13  
7 Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge 12  
8 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 11  
Elite Women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus) Jayco-AIS 20  pts
2 Gracie Elvin (Aus) Gracie Elvin (Aus) Jayco AIS 18  
3 Sophie Williamson (NZl) Bates Bikes 16  
4 Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) Suzuki-Trek 15  
5 Emily Collins (Aus) Dream Team 14  
6 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Dream Team 13  
7 Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-AIS 12  
8 Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Orica-AIS 11  
Men's final standings NSW Grand Prix
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 36  pts
2 Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 35  
3 Aaron Gate (NZl) L and M Group Racing NZ 32  
4 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 28  
5 Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge 28  
6 Jack Edwards (Aus) NSWIS 28  
7 Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky 24  
8 Marc Williams (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts 23  
9 Joseph Lewis (Aus) GPM-Wilson Racing 22  
10 Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen- Mercator 21  
11 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 21  
Women's final standings NSW Grand Prix
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Sophie Williamson (NZl) Wakatipu 31  pts
2 Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Dream Team 31  
3 Ashlee Ankudinoff (AUS) AIS 30  
4 Emily Collins (Aus) Dream Team 30  
5 Kimberley Wells (Aus) Specialized-Securitor 30  
6 Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) Suzuki-Trek 28  
7 Sarah Roy (Aus) St George 24  
8 Brittany Lindores (Aus) Team Boss Constructions 22