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Wells conquers Ballarat circuit to become Australian criterium champion

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Kimberley Wells wins the Australian Criterium Championships in a photo-finish sprint to the line

Kimberley Wells wins the Australian Criterium Championships in a photo-finish sprint to the line (Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Emily Roper (QLD) leads the bunch - she won the Under 23 title

Emily Roper (QLD) leads the bunch - she won the Under 23 title (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) sits in the bunch

Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) sits in the bunch (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Taryn Heather (Team Jayco-VIS) tried her luck

Taryn Heather (Team Jayco-VIS) tried her luck (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The bunch riders were watching each other with a couple of laps to go

The bunch riders were watching each other with a couple of laps to go (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Jo Hogan (Team Jayco-VIS) leads the bunch with a lap to go

Jo Hogan (Team Jayco-VIS) leads the bunch with a lap to go (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Jo Hogan (Team Jayco-VIS) leads the bunch with a lap to go

Jo Hogan (Team Jayco-VIS) leads the bunch with a lap to go (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The sprint was a long drawn-out affair

The sprint was a long drawn-out affair (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) and Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) go head-to-head

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) and Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) go head-to-head (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) and Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) go head-to-head

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) and Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) go head-to-head (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) takes the title from Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon)

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) takes the title from Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon) (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) took a moment to realise she had won

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) took a moment to realise she had won (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The Wells victory salute was delayed until the end of her victory lap

The Wells victory salute was delayed until the end of her victory lap (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Rebecca Werner congratulates team-mate, Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor)

Rebecca Werner congratulates team-mate, Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The under 23 podium - Jessica Mundy (SA), Emily Roper (QLD) and Jenelle Crooks (QLD)

The under 23 podium - Jessica Mundy (SA), Emily Roper (QLD) and Jenelle Crooks (QLD) (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) celebrated when she was announced Champion on the podium

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) celebrated when she was announced Champion on the podium (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon), Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) on the podium

Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon), Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) on the podium (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Sarah Roy (Specialized - Securitor) made a late-race breakaway

Sarah Roy (Specialized - Securitor) made a late-race breakaway (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Spectators enjoyed the good weather in Ballarat and watched the races from the median strip in the centre of Sturt Street

Spectators enjoyed the good weather in Ballarat and watched the races from the median strip in the centre of Sturt Street (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) shows off her medal

Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) shows off her medal (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Soon-to-be National Champion, Kimberley Wells lines up with her Specialized - Securitor team-mates

Soon-to-be National Champion, Kimberley Wells lines up with her Specialized - Securitor team-mates (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Emma Mackie (Crino Cycles / Casa & Boggeta) on the start line

Emma Mackie (Crino Cycles / Casa & Boggeta) on the start line (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The women on the start line

The women on the start line (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Rebecca Werner (Specialized - Securitor) leads the bunch

Rebecca Werner (Specialized - Securitor) leads the bunch (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The peloton on Sturt Street in Ballarat

The peloton on Sturt Street in Ballarat (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Naomi Williams (LIV Giant) leads the bunch up Sturt Street

Naomi Williams (LIV Giant) leads the bunch up Sturt Street (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Rebecca Werner (Specialized - Securitor) tries her luck at the front

Rebecca Werner (Specialized - Securitor) tries her luck at the front (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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The peloton races down Sturt Street

The peloton races down Sturt Street (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Watched by the rest of the bunch, Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) leads the race

Watched by the rest of the bunch, Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) leads the race (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) finished in the bunch

Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) finished in the bunch (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Jenelle Crooks (QLD) takes the top corner in the bunch

Jenelle Crooks (QLD) takes the top corner in the bunch (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Jessica Allen (Vienne Futuroscope) in her new colours

Jessica Allen (Vienne Futuroscope) in her new colours (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) took bronze

Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) took bronze (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon), Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) on the podium

Loren Rowney (Specialized - lululemon), Kimberley Wells (Specialized - Securitor) Gracie Elvin (Orica - AIS) on the podium (Image credit: CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net)
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A pair of Bouwmeester Stuart O'Grady Limited Edition wheels were fitted to Wells' Specialized SL4

A pair of Bouwmeester Stuart O'Grady Limited Edition wheels were fitted to Wells' Specialized SL4 (Image credit: Alex Malone)
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Kimberley Wells' race winning Specialized SL4 is the same one used by her entire Specialized-Securitor team

Kimberley Wells' race winning Specialized SL4 is the same one used by her entire Specialized-Securitor team (Image credit: Alex Malone)

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

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

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