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MacLean earns early lead in NSW GP series with wily win in Wollongong

Jessie MacLean of the Jayco-AIS team took a surprise victory in the Wollongong round of the NSW Grand Prix Series, going from a long way out in the sprint to hold off a charging Kristy Broun (BikeExchange Dream Team).

Though heavy rain overnight threatened to mar the racing in Wollongong, the sun did finally appear, and by the time the women rolled out, the roads were dry, promising fast and exciting criterium racing.

A headwind on the climb gave the possibility of the stronger riders in the women’s peloton forcing a selection, and after a number of unsuccessful attempts a group of five riders detached themselves from the field with around 18 laps to go, and the quintet would never be seen again.

Kirsty Broun (BikeExchange Dream Team), Jessie MacLean (Jayco-AIS), Alison Rice (Suzuki-Trek), Trudy Van Straaten (Specialized Women SA) and Russian rider Evgena Romanyuta (RusVelo) worked well together, and with 10 laps of the 660 metre course to go, the break had a healthy gap of 30 seconds over the main field.

The jockeying started in the final five laps, with Rice and Van Straaten launching half-hearted moves to get away with the sprint looming. Broun, a former winner in the NSW Grand Prix Series looked set to take out the win as the break’s most well recognized sprinter.

But there was drama to come. As the bell sounded for the final lap Rice overcooked a turn, tried to correct her line and her back wheel slipped out. Behind her Van Straaten managed to avoid falling but was forced to a stand-still. Broun was also affected but was able to quickly chase back on.

The trio of MacLean, Broun and Romanyuta gapped Van Straaten who was never able to come back into contention after the crash, making it a race of three as the metres counted down. Maclean launched her sprint from the front, and though Broun was closing, the Queenslander wasn't quite up to it and she was forced to settle for second. Romanyuta rolled over for third.

“We had a good combination of teams in the break so the bunch was happy to let us get up the road,” said Maclean.

“The plan was to animate things with myself Shara [Gillow] and Amanda [Spratt] late in the race. But the break settled early, we worked together well and to win was fantastic.”

MacLean will wear the blue leader’s jersey tomorrow in Cronulla as the series leader.

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessie MacLean (Jayco-AIS)20pts
2Kirsty Broun (BikeExchange Dream Team)18
3Evgena Romanyuta (RusVelo)16
4Trudy van der Straaten (Specialized Women SA)15
5Allison Rice (Suzuki-Trek)14
6Peta Mullens (BikeExchange Dream Team)13
7Skye Lee Armstrong (RBK Cycling)12
8Kimberley Wells (Suzuki-Trek)11

Series leader
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessie MacLean (Jayco-AIS)20pts

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Alex Hinds, Production Editor

Sydney, Australia

Follow @al_hinds

Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.

If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.

Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.

When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.

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