Rochelle Gilmore (Honda Dream Team) finally claimed victory at the Cronulla Grand Prix, holding off Megan Dunn (Dubbo CC) in the final sprint along the Sutherland Shire’s picturesque beaches. Gilmore had finished runner-up in two of the previous three races on the 1.3 kilometre circuit.
The victory was made sweeter for Gilmore with her Honda Dream Team team-mate Chloe Hosking taking the final podium position.
“It’s about time,” Gilmore said. “Not winning here before meant that I was taking it a lot more serious this year. I’ve been down here every day this week to train on the course but we had a tailwind down the finishing straight all week and today the wind was coming from the opposite direction, so it made it totally different.
“I felt a lot of added pressure, we have put together the Honda Dream Team especially for the summer cycling season and I badly wanted to win for them also,” she added. “It went exactly to plan.”
The headwind aside, conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for today’s race as the 34-strong women’s field rolled away under clear blue skies. Making its debut at the race, the Honda Dream Team showed from the opening lap it was there to win, with all six of its riders situated at the forefront of the peloton.
A number of youngsters were active throughout the race, with riders like Ashlee Ankudinoff (St George CC) and Kirsty Mills (St George CC) trying to ignite a break away at various points throughout the race. All attempts looked in vein however, with the six-riders representing Honda Dream Team covering any move that eventuated.
Sue Forsyth (Northern Sydney CC) and Amy Cure (Mersey Valley Devonport) sprung into action as the first sprint approached, but it would be Tiffany Cromwell (Honda Dream Team), whose company Tiffany Jane was sponsoring the primes, who collected the win. When the next sprint arrived it was Amanda Spratt (Penrith Panthers CC), who is returning from injury, that claimed the prize over Hosking and Elizabeth Georgouras (Honda Dream Team).
Gilmore was being stalked throughout the race, which was shortened to 16 laps, by Dunn. Inside the final five laps Gilmore put one of her riders on Dunn’s wheel as a precautionary measure as the finished loomed closer
“Megan was always the main competition and it was our responsibility to cover all the moves,” said Gilmore. “All the girls did their job exactly as we wanted.”
The women’s sprint started before the peloton even reached the finishing straight on the final lap, with Dunn jumping early trying to surprise her powerful rivals. Despite a truly commendable ride, Dunn lacked the speed to hold off Gilmore in the final 100 metres, giving the much more experienced Gilmore her maiden victory at her home race.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Rochelle Gilmore (Honda Dream Team)|
|2||Megan Dunn (Dubbo CC)|
|3||Chloe Hosking (Honda Dream Team)|
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