Bec Werner (Specialized Women SA) has caused a major upset in the opening round of the Santos Women's Cup, taking Sunday's race with GreenEdge-AIS not represented on the podium. Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) finished second with Skye-Lee Armstrong (Sutherland Shire CC) flying solo in third.
The win was a great result for the Specialized Women SA team, on their home turf in Adelaide and also given the race receives the highest exposure of the three-race series, run in the lead up to the Down Under Classic.
The win marked Werner's first in the Specialized Women SA colours, and continued her impressive run of form having won silver in the under 23 women's road race at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships last weekend.
There appeared to be some confusion on the final lap, perhaps due to cowbells in the crowd with Werner allowed to continue almost uncontested to the finish line
"I was a bit confused because I wasn't meant to be our girl who was up there, it just kind of happened like that," Werner said of the finish sprint. "I think there was maybe a little bit of confusion in the bunch with whether it was the last lap or not. I heard them say it I was just trying to close the gap for our sprinter Chloe [Hosking] and she wasn't there so I kept going and thankfully it worked out for us."
GreenEdge-AIS had been on the offensive the majority of the race with the high-profile outfit's biggest names, including Judith Arndt, spending time either attacking off the front or driving the bunch. Prior to the start of the race, GreenEdge-AIS were overwhelming favourites given their run of hot form which began with the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic on January 1.
"The numbers were definitely against us with all of GreenEdge out with some of the international riders as well and then the Jayco girls," Werner admitted. "We talked last night about our race plan and we weren't going to be scared, we were going to attack them and put them on the back front. I think we did that really well."
Each of the 17 laps featured race a new leader in a highly attacking 40 minute event. Several breaks attempted to stay away but none were ultimately successful or able to get more than a six second advantage.
On the bell lap, Werner fought her way to a front group of six which included her teammate Loren Rowney, Sulzberger, Gracie Elvin (Jayco-AIS), Shara Gillow and Amanda Spratt. The group was caught on the bend heading into the finishing straight with Werner able to maintain her lead and will wear the overall blue jersey heading into race two in Prospect on Monday evening
Werner said that while she would "love to" maintain her overall lead, she instead pointed to her teammates as potential victors for the final two races.
"We've got Chloe who's one of the best sprinters," she explained. "Liz [Phillipou] our manager and Loren Rowney who's signed by Specilized-lululemon as well so we've got a strong group of riders so I think we can do anything."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Rebecca Werner (Specialized SA)|
|2||Grace Sulzberger (Jayco AIS)|
|3||Skye-Lee Armstrong (NSW)|
|4||Nicole Whitburn (Vic)|
|5||Jessie MacLean (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|6||Melissa Hoskins (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|7||Shara Gillow (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|8||Chloe Hosking (Specialized Women SA)|
|9||Jessica Mundy (SA)|
|10||Judith Arndt (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|11||Taryn Heather (SA)|
|12||Amanda Spratt (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|13||Loren Rowney (Specialized Women SA)|
|14||Amy Bradley (Vic)|
|15||Alexis Barnes (QLD)|
|16||Alexis Rhodes (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|17||Tanya Matthewson (Vic)|
|18||Tiffany Cromwell (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|19||Gracie Elvin (Jayco AIS)|
|20||Lauretta Hanson (Vic)|
|21||Chloe McIntosh (Vic)|
|22||Samantha Fromentin (SA)|
|23||Loes Gunewijk (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|24||Stephanie Ives (Vic)|
|25||Carly Williams (Vic)|
|26||Elizabeth Phillipou (Specialized SA)|
|27||Alexandra Carle (Jayco AIS)|
|28||Rowena Fry (GreenEdge-AIS)|
|31||Annette Edmondson (SA)|
|32||Eliza Bergin (Vic)|
|DNF||Carla Franson (SA)|
|DNF||Stacey Riedel (SA)|
|DNF||Madeleine Cardillo (Vic)|
|DNF||Kelly Gray (WA)|
|DNF||Anna Kauffmann (WA)|
|DNS||Sinead Noonan (Jayco AIS)|
|DNS||Rebecca Domange (Vic)|
|DNS||Nicole McNamara (Vic)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Rebecca Werner (Specialized SA)||10||pts|
|2||Grace Sulzberger (Jayco AIS)||9|
|3||Skye-Lee Armstrong (NSW)||8|
|4||Nicole Whitburn (Vic)||7|
|5||Jessie MacLean (GreenEdge-AIS)||6|
|6||Melissa Hoskins (GreenEdge-AIS)||5|
|7||Shara Gillow (GreenEdge-AIS)||4|
|8||Chloe Hosking (Specialized Women SA)||3|
|9||Jessica Mundy (SA)||2|
|10||Judith Arndt (GreenEdge-AIS)||1|
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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