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First elite national title for Jessica Allen

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Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) in the green and gold

Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) in the green and gold
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Nicola Macdonald is the 2017 under 23 Australian criterium champion

Nicola Macdonald is the 2017 under 23 Australian criterium champion
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Sophie Mackay (Specialized Women's Racing) goes deep

Sophie Mackay (Specialized Women's Racing) goes deep
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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There were several attacks

There were several attacks
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Orica-Scott controlled the peloton

Orica-Scott controlled the peloton
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Kendelle Hodges (Colavita/Bianchi) went on to win the bunch sprint for second place

Kendelle Hodges (Colavita/Bianchi) went on to win the bunch sprint for second place
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Orica-Scott was well-represented in the decisive attack

Orica-Scott was well-represented in the decisive attack
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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An attack splits the peloton

An attack splits the peloton
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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The elite and under 23 women roll out from the start

The elite and under 23 women roll out from the start
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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The sprint for second place behind Allen

The sprint for second place behind Allen
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Allen celebrates with her Orica-Scott team

Allen celebrates with her Orica-Scott team
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott)

Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott)
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott)

Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott)
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) shows off her trophy

Jessica Allen (Orica-Scott) shows off her trophy
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)
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Jessica Allen is sprayed with champagne

Jessica Allen is sprayed with champagne
(Image credit: John Veage / Cycling Australia)

Jessica Allen’s unrelenting aggression was handsomely rewarded at the Australian national criterium championships on Wednesday. Brimming with confidence following her victory on the final stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic on Tuesday, Allen launched repeated attacks to put herself in a winning position.

Allen’s last attack was enough to allow her to escape solo from a late race five-rider breakaway that included Orica-Scott teammate Jenelle Crooks, defending champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized Women’s Racing) and sprinters Emily Roper (High5 Dream Team) and Kendell Hodges (Colavita/Bianchi).

With five laps remaining from the 30-lap Sturt Street circuit race, Allen was alone and riding to victory. As the battle for silver intensified in her wake, Allen time trialed to the criterium title.

“I was pretty lost for words,” said Allen. “I couldn’t believe it in the last two laps. I was like: ‘Man, I’m going to win this.’ My salute yesterday was pretty rubbish. I had to top that one.”

Although Allen soloed across the line, the win was an obvious team effort. Having won two of three Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic races, including a clean sweep of the Portarlington podium, Orica-Scott has shown its on a mission and its riders have the form to back up their ambitions.

Verita Stewart (Specialized Women’s Racing) threw down the first attack of the day, launching through the finish area on lap two. Her escape was short-lived, and Crooks marked a counter-attack when Stewart was caught. The six-rider move lasted less than 10 minutes, and when the peloton reabsorbed the break, Allen jumped.

“Our main objective today was to be aggressive from about 10 minutes,” said Allen. “We did that perfectly.”

Allen’s attack inspired the formation of a five-rider move with Crooks and Specialized Women’s Racing Lucy Betchel, former two-time criterium champion Kimberley Wells (unaffiliated) and reigning Australian XCM MTB champion Peta Mullens (Hagens Berman Supermint). Unhappy with the composition of the group, Crooks attacked and slipped away with Mullens.

With the remnants of the breakaway within reach, the peloton launched a fresh wave of attacks. Australian national road champion Amanda Spratt marked a successful bridge attempt by Betchel. Midway through the race, the quartet had returned to the bunch, and Allen was on the attack again. Mackay played her first card, riding across to Allen. Roper, Crooks and Hodges followed.

It was this five-rider move from which Allen would emerge victorious. Crooks and Allen were unrelenting, repeatedly hitting Roper, Crooks and Hodges with accelerations.

“Jenelle and I aren’t sprinters and didn’t want to be in the breakaway with the likes of Kendelle Hodges, Emily Roper and former Australian champion Sophie Mackay,” explained Allen. “We knew we had to attack and that’s what we did. She attacked and I attacked and I knew one of us would get away. I was lucky enough for it to be me.”

Allen’s gap ballooned as the peloton took on the race for second, with several riders from the bunch mixing in with the remnants of the breakaway on the line. Forty-one seconds after an emotional Allen secured the title, Shannon Malseed (Holden Women’s Cycling) outsprinted Hodges for silver. First year senior Nicola MacDonald (NSWIS) won the U23 jersey with 11th place.

“You give up a lot to do this sport,” said Allen. “It’s a tough sport, and I love it. There’s a lot of hard work and training that goes into any result. You always dream of wearing the Aussie jersey. To put it on, you get tingles, and it makes all the work worthwhile.”

VIDEO Day 1 highlights the 2017 MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat #aussiecycling @visitballarat pic.twitter.com/fdHb31agH9

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Allen (Aus) Orica-Scott0:49:29
2Kendelle Hodges (Aus) Colavita/Bianchi0:00:41
3Shannon Malseed (Aus) Holden Women's Cycling Team
4Peta Mullens (Aus) Hbs
5Sophie Mackay (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
6Jenelle Crooks (Aus) Orica-Scott
7Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott0:00:43
8Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-Scott
9Lucy Bechtel (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:00:44
10Emily Roper (Aus)0:00:46
11Nicola Macdonald (Aus) NSWIS0:00:47
12Kimberley Wells (Aus)0:00:49
13Josie Talbot (Aus)
14Jessica Pratt (Aus)
15Brodie Chapman (Aus)0:00:50
16Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare
17Jessica Mundy (Aus)
18Minda Murray (Aus) Total Rush
19Emma Viotto (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
20Verita Stewart (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing
21Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-Scott
22Georgia Baker (Aus) Orica-Scott
23Abby Sneddon (Aus) Roxsolt
24Emily Parkes (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
25Rachel Ward (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
26Tayla Evans (Aus)
27Annette Edmondson (Aus) WiggleHigh5
DNFAlana Haansbergen (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
DNFLiz Leyden (Aus) Veris Racing Team
DNFChloe Mcintosh (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
DNFNatalie Redmond (Aus)
DNFRebecca Stephens (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
DNFEmma Roberts (Aus)
DNFMelissa Robinson (Aus) MVC
DNFMadeleine Steele (Aus) HBC
DNFKristina Clonan (Aus) QAS
DNFCharlotte Culver (Aus) Total Rush
DNFKirsty Deacon (Aus) Pitcher Partners/KCC
DNFJordyn Hassett (Aus)
DNFKerry Jonker (Aus)
DNFErin Mitchell (Aus)
DNFEloise Vaughan (Aus) CBR Women's Racing Team
DNSKatrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-Scott
DNSBrittany Lindores (Aus)
DNSChloe Moran (Aus) SASI
DNSLoren Rowney (Aus) Orica-Scott

 

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