Kimberley Wells is the newest Australian criterium champion having conquered the field in downtown Ballarat. A photo finish decided the winner of the day with Lauren Rowney taking the silver medal and Gracie Elvin picking up third.
Wells was clearly exhausted after racing aggressively throughout the 30-lap race. The Specialized-Securitor rider unleashed a long sprint that left her and eventual second-place Rowney in a drag-race to the line.
"I'm absolutely stoked, I'm lost for words," said Wells. "I'm over the moon with excitement. This is the kind of thing you dream about, for it to actually happen and by the skin of my teeth I'm really happy.
"This is the kind of race that often comes down to a breakaway, I used a fair bit of energy but I know I can back myself. It worked out today."
Second-place Rowney was happy for the day's winner Wells after noting that she wouldn't get many chances to wear the national jersey over in Europe. Racing for the Specialized Lululemon team, Rowney wasn't overly disappointed.
"It would be really awesome to be crit champion but I'm really happy for Kimberley," said Rowney. "She'll be able to wear that jersey with pride in Australia.
"I'll be having a real crack in the road race and it would be amazing to wear the green and gold throughout the year."
The women took a more relaxed approach to the start of the 30-lap race. Grace Sulzberge, second in the prior day's time trial was one of the first riders to make a significant move off the front.
Grace Elvin took out the intermediate sprint and continued her effort to try and breakaway from the main group. Her acceleration formed a four-person group that gained a small advantage from the peloton.
While a number of small skirmishes occurred it was Sarah Roy (NSW) who got the first serious gap over the field. With 10-laps to go there was still plenty of fresh legs in the race and Roy was back in the main field. Roy's effort wasn't for nothing as she also picked up the intermediate sprint along the way.
With the final intermediate still to come the group remained more or less intact. Kate Finegan (VIC) and Taryn Heather (VIC) took off with Finegan getting the last of the sprint points.
The Specialized-Securitor team had two riders in the main field and took matters into their own hands to bring the leaders back into the bunch. Kimberley Wells (ACT) was the one of the big favourites for a bunch sprint and her team were trying to ensure a group contested the final dash to the line.
The final laps had Wells never far from the front and could be seen chasing moves in the late part of the race. With two laps remaining, a bunch sprint looked highly likely as around 20 riders battled for position. The green and gold jersey cam down to a drag race between Wells and Rowney. The photo finish showed Wells just in front, relegating Rowney to the second spot on the podium with Elvin in third.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kimberley Wells (ACT)||0:52:29|
|2||Loren Rowney (QLD)||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Gracie Elvin (ACT)||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Peta Mullens (VIC)||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Leonie Burford (WA)||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Lauren Kitchen (NSW)||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Sarah Roy (NSW)||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Nicole Whitburn (VIC)||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Emily Roper (QLD)||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Naomi Williams (VIC)||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Amy Bradley (VIC)||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Melina Bernecker (VIC)||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Jessica Mundy (SA)||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Brittany Lindores (QLD)||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Kate Finegan (VIC)||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Samantha De Riter (VIC)||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Grace Sulzberger (Tas)||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Taryn Heather (VIC)||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Jenelle Crooks (QLD)||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Judith Louise Betts (QLD)||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Joanne Hogan (VIC)||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Rebecca Werner (SA)||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Tegan Elferkh (ACT)||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kristy Glover (VIC)||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Lisa Hanley (VIC)||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Emma Mackie (NSW)||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Chloe Mcintosh (VIC)||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jessica Allen (VIC)||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Hannah Geelan (SA)||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kendelle Hodges (VIC)||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kayla Salopek (NSW)||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Amanda Spratt (NSW)||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Shara Gillow (QLD)||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Rochelle Gilmore (NSW)||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Chloe Mcconville (VIC)||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Jessie Maclean (ACT)||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Carley Mckay (VIC)||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Nikolina Orlic (QLD)||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|DNS||Katherine O'shea (VIC)||Row 38 - Cell 2|
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