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Sophie Mackay springs upset to claim women's criterium title

Unheralded and largely unknown Sophie Mackay staged the first upset of the Australian national championships outfoxing and and out sprinting Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS) and Lauren Kitchen (Hitec). Orica-AIS had ridden the 30 lap circuit of Sturt St aggressively from the gun, sending riders up the road after Rachel Neylan's early solo attack. In the final laps Orica-AIS had four riders in the nine-rider breakaway, with defending champion Kimberley Wells missing the move, and looked like taking home the title via 2014 champion Sarah Roy, but it was 30-year-old Mackay taking the first win of her career.

"When I realised I had won, it was more disbelief to tell you the truth," said Mackay. "Being able to wear the national champions jersey is an amazing feeling. Now I guess I will have a name to live up to so I better lift my game."

With only a state title victory to her name, Mackay was a surprise winner leaving many in the crowd asking who had taken out the title. With no previous podiums to speak of, Mackey was the least fancied of the breakaway riders but with Roy having worked hard to join the leaders, she held on coming up the long drag to the finish with exhaustion getting the better of a victory salute although the elation was evident from her face wide smile.

"It is a long sprint, uphill is tough. Felt like I had to hang in there, tried to have a good position heading into the last corner, and I think I was third or second last which wasn't ideal," said Mackay. "But I just tapped onto someone’s wheel and from 250m to go, I could see Lizzie and Sarah in front and I was thinking hunt them down, hunt them down. I was just hoping really."

Two-time champion Wells was debuting the colours of her new Colavita team and looking to be well positioned early in the race but once became apparent the break was going to stick her chances were over. Orica-AIS had bossed the race from lap one with Neylan, Williams, Amanda Spratt and Chloe McConville also attacking the peloton. Kitchen and Peta Mullens (Wiggle High5) were chasing down attacks from the bunch but it was strength in numbers for Orica-AIS which made the winning move only for Mackay to spoil the show and leave sports director Gene Bates with several questions ahead of Sunday's road race

For the first time in the championship's history the winner of the U23 women's race was awarded a green and gold jersey with Jess Mundy taking home the honours having finished in tenth place.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sophie Mackay (Nsw)0:51:49
2Lizzie Williams (Vic)
3Lauren Kitchen (Nsw)
4Ruth Corset (Qld)0:00:02
5Sarah Roy (Nsw)0:00:06
6Miranda Griffiths (Vic)
7Minda Murray (Vic)0:00:11
8Amanda Spratt (Nsw)0:00:17
9Chloe McConville (Vic)0:00:24
10Jessica Mundy (Sa)0:00:32
11Shannon Malseed (Vic)
12Tayla Evans (Vic)
13Josie Talbot (Nsw)
14Rebecca Locke (Vic)
15Lauretta Hanson (Vic)
16Joanne Hogan (Nsw)
17Kimberley Wells (Act)
18Naomi Williams (Vic)0:00:44
19Rachel Neylan (Nsw)0:00:47
20Peta Mullens (Vic)0:00:50
21Julia Kalotas (Wa)0:01:14
DNFKristy Glover (Vic)
DNFElizabeth Doueal (Vic)
DNFEmma Viotto (Act)
DNFJessica Lane (Vic)
DNFAnna Booth (Vic)
DNFEsther Borg (Vic)
DNFChloe McIntosh (Vic)
DNFPrudence Rothwell (Vic)
DNFMadeleine Steele (Sa)
DNFKirsty Deacon (Vic)
DNFJade Colligan (Nsw)
DNFErin Mitchell (Vic)
DNSSamantha De Riter (Vic)
DNSLoren Rowney (Qld)
DNSJessica Allen (Wa)
DNSCarina Newman (Vic)


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Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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