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Spratt solos to maiden senior national title

GreenEdge-AIS has claimed the ultimate prize for Australian women's cycling, taking out the top two steps of the podium in Buninyong, Amanda Spratt and Tiffany Cromwell winning gold and silver in the women's road race. Rachel Neylan claimed the bronze medal, following a duel with Cromwell to the finish line with the pair 45 seconds back from Spratt.

"I knew I had good form coming in, but this is the sort of race you need luck on your side as well and I had that today," Spratt said following her win. "I also had a great team in the GreenEdge-AIS team – the four of us could have been on the top step of the podium but today was my day. I think that's the great thing about this team as well, everyone just backs each other up and that's what you saw today."

Saturday's win makes it two out of two for the new professional team, after Alexis Rhodes won her fourth Australian Criterium Championship on Thursday evening.

Spratt escaped for a leading bunch of 18 riders on the third-last climb of Mount Buninyong. A crash involving Gracie Elvin (Jayco-AIS) and Sue Forsyth helped Spratt's cause, and she was able to get away while her teammates controlled the front of the bunch. Spratt never looked back, with a maximum gain of 1:40 to the chase group.

Jayco-AIS' Sinead Noonan took out the under 23 category, bettering her result from 2011 when she finished as runner-up.

"Last year I finished in one of the chasing bunches so to finish in the main race today was really exciting."

Rebecca Werner (Specialized Women SA) claimed silver, and the ACT's Rebecca Henderson the bronze medal.

How it unfolded:

GreenEdge-AIS were the dominant talking point when it came to pre-race favourites with the majority of eyes on Oceania road champion, Shara Gillow. Defending champion, Alexis Rhodes was also considered a serious threat.

The opening lap saw the retirement of Rochelle Gilmore, the Commonwealth Road Champion later tweeting that it was "1 lap too many" while several others were off the back of the main bunch the first time over Mount Buninyong.

An in-form Jessie Maclean (GreenEdge-AIS) staked her claim on the sprint competition, taking the early points on offer while her teammates assumed their position at the head of the bunch. Jayco Bay Cycling Classic winner, Melissa Hoskins buried herself for the GreenEdge-AIS team, as did Rowena Fry with the aim of setting up Spratt, Rhodes or Gillow for the win.

The bunch stayed together for the first half of the race, with Elvin attempting the odd move off the front just after the halfway mark however, was closely marked by Cromwell.

With three laps to go in the 10-lap race, Spratt made her move, at first taking 40 seconds before moving out of sight. The battle of 18 turned into a battle between 12 with Taryn Heather (Jayco-AIS), Carlee Taylor (Jayco-AIS), Cromwell, Carla Ryan, Neylan, Rhodes, Gillow, Miranda Griffiths, Loren Rowney (Specialized – lululemon), Jo Hogan (VIS) and Elvin left to fight it out for the minor medals.

Neylan was the first to jump in pursuit of Spratt on the last climb of the day with Cromwell hot on her heels.

"We decided that she [Spratt] was far enough away so we would work together and then coming into the last kilometre I made Rachel sit on the front," Cromwell told Cyclingnews.

Neylan, who had made it a priority to "look after herself and stay fresh" knew that a serious effort was going to be required as the finish line approached, and was the first to launch the sprint for the minor placings several hundred metres from the tape.

"That was a pretty big effort because Tiff sat on my wheel up there and she had some speed coming off Bay Crits," a relieved Neylan told Cyclingnews. "She [Cromwell] played it tactically better than me. I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't get the silver but I'm happy with bronze."

Rhodes crossed the line in fourth position while Elvin rounded out the top five. Gillow was seventh, the fourth GreenEdge-AIS rider to finish in the top 10, Maclean was next best in 21st place.

Asked if the result put the pressure on the men to do the same, Spratt and Cromwell were adamant – "Absolutely" they replied in unison.

Cromwell, who joined the Hitek Products-UCK outfit mid-season after severing ties with Lotto-Honda, said that the result was especially exciting because of her frustrating previous 12 months.

"It just gives me confidence," she explained. "I've done a really good training block this off-season because this is an important year, an Olympic year and after last year's trouble I just wanted to show people that I'm back and have not gone anywhere."




Full results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Amanda Spratt (NSW)2:55:22
2Tiffany Cromwell (SA)0:00:45
3Rachel Neylan (SA)
4Alexis Rhodes (SA)0:01:30
5Gracie Elvin (ACT)
6Carla Ryan (Vic)
7Shara Gillow (QLD)
8Joanne Hogan (Vic)
9Grace Sulzberger (Tas)
10Taryn Heather (Vic)
11Stephanie Ives (Vic)
12Sinead Noonan (SA) U23
13Miranda Griffiths (Vic)
14Carlee Taylor (SA)
15Lucy Coldwell (Vic)0:04:41
16Peta Mullens (Vic)
17Loren Rowney (QLD)
18Rebecca Werner (SA) U230:06:35
19Rebecca Henderson (A.C.T) U23
20Chloe Mcconville (Vic)
21Jessie Maclean (ACT)
22Katrin Garfoot (QLD)
23India Faehndrich (NSW)
24Lisa Barry (NSW)
25Laura Meadley (ACT)
26Cait Fraser Jones (Vic)
27Chloe Hosking (ACT) U230:08:09
28Lauren Kitchen (NSW) U23
29Lisa Jacobs (Vic)0:08:37
30Jessica Allen (Wa) U230:10:32
31Kate Finegan (Vic)0:12:00
32Jenni King (Vic)
33Therese Rhodes (SA)0:12:17
34Nicole Moerig (QLD)0:13:51
35Sue Forsyth (NSW)0:14:12
36Melina Bernecker (Vic)0:15:03
37Amy Bradley (Vic)
38Heidi Buntrock (Vic)0:20:10
DNFBridie O'Donnell (Vic)
DNFRebecca Wiasak (ACT)
DNFRowena Fry (Tas)
DNFNicole Whitburn (Vic)
DNFKellie Mathers (Vic)
DNFElizabeth Hall (Vic)
DNFMegan Bagworth (ACT)
DNFDelphine Astier (Vic)
DNFCarley Mckay (Vic)
DNFKimberley Wells (ACT)
DNFEmma Mackie (NSW)
DNFMadeleine Pape (Vic)
DNFBelinda Goss (Vic)
DNFManuela Tzvetanova (QLD)
DNFVictoria Luxton-Bain (Vic)
DNFNicole Mcnamara (Vic)
DNFEmma Viotto (ACT)
DNFRochelle Gilmore (NSW)
DNFMarianne Westacott-Clermonts (QLD)
DNFElizabeth Phillipou (SA)
DNFAlexis Barnes (QLD)
DNFSarah Riley (Vic)
DNFRebecca Locke (Vic)
DNFKatherine O'shea (Vic)
DNFKelly Bartlett (Vic)
DNFNatalie Langer (QLD)
DNFCarly Williams (Vic)
DNFJustyna Lubkowski (Vic)
DNFKirsty Broun (QLD)
DNFAlexandra Carle (ACT) U23
DNFAilie Mcdonald (ACT) U23
DNFAlice Wallett (ACT) U23
DNFMelissa Hoskins (Wa) U23
DNFJasmin Hurikino (QLD) U23
DNFAngela Mcclure (SA) U23
DNFEmma Lawson (Tas) U23
DNFChloe Mcintosh (Vic) U23
DNFAshlee Ankudinoff (NSW) U23
DNFMyfanwy Galloway (ACT) U23
DNFKristy Glover (Vic) U23
DNSTrudy Van Der Straaten (NSW)
DNSKendelle Hodges (Vic) U23

Sprint Competition
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessie Maclean (ACT)13pts
2Amanda Spratt (NSW)6
3Miranda Griffiths (Vic)5
4Cait Fraser Jones (Vic)3
5Taryn Heather (Vic)3
6Joanne Hogan (Vic)2
7Katrin Garfoot (QLD)2
8Tiffany Cromwell (SA)1
9Carla Ryan (Vic)1
DNFNicole Whitburn (Vic)7
DNFRebecca Wiasak (ACT)5

Hill Climb Competition
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Carlee Taylor (SA)10pts
2Cait Fraser Jones (Vic)9
3Katrin Garfoot (QLD)5
4Tiffany Cromwell (SA)4
5India Faehndrich (NSW)4
6Taryn Heather (Vic)4
7Amanda Spratt (NSW)3
8Gracie Elvin (ACT)3
9Carla Ryan (Vic)2
10Laura Meadley (ACT)2
11Rachel Neylan (SA)1
DNFEmma Mackie (NSW)1


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