Wells conquers Ballarat circuit to become Australian criterium champion

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.

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kimberley Wells (ACT)0:52:29
2Loren Rowney (QLD)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Gracie Elvin (ACT)Row 2 - Cell 2
4Peta Mullens (VIC)Row 3 - Cell 2
5Leonie Burford (WA)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Lauren Kitchen (NSW)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Sarah Roy (NSW)Row 6 - Cell 2
8Nicole Whitburn (VIC)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Emily Roper (QLD)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Naomi Williams (VIC)Row 9 - Cell 2
11Amy Bradley (VIC)Row 10 - Cell 2
12Melina Bernecker (VIC)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Jessica Mundy (SA)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Brittany Lindores (QLD)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Kate Finegan (VIC)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Samantha De Riter (VIC)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Grace Sulzberger (Tas)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Taryn Heather (VIC)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Jenelle Crooks (QLD)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Judith Louise Betts (QLD)Row 19 - Cell 2
21Joanne Hogan (VIC)Row 20 - Cell 2
DNFRebecca Werner (SA)Row 21 - Cell 2
DNFTegan Elferkh (ACT)Row 22 - Cell 2
DNFKristy Glover (VIC)Row 23 - Cell 2
DNFLisa Hanley (VIC)Row 24 - Cell 2
DNFEmma Mackie (NSW)Row 25 - Cell 2
DNFChloe Mcintosh (VIC)Row 26 - Cell 2
DNFJessica Allen (VIC)Row 27 - Cell 2
DNFHannah Geelan (SA)Row 28 - Cell 2
DNFKendelle Hodges (VIC)Row 29 - Cell 2
DNFKayla Salopek (NSW)Row 30 - Cell 2
DNSAmanda Spratt (NSW)Row 31 - Cell 2
DNSShara Gillow (QLD)Row 32 - Cell 2
DNSRochelle Gilmore (NSW)Row 33 - Cell 2
DNSChloe Mcconville (VIC)Row 34 - Cell 2
DNSJessie Maclean (ACT)Row 35 - Cell 2
DNSCarley Mckay (VIC)Row 36 - Cell 2
DNSNikolina Orlic (QLD)Row 37 - Cell 2
DNSKatherine O'shea (VIC)Row 38 - Cell 2

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