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Maeve Plouffe sprints to the win on stage 2 of Santos Festival of Cycling

ECHUNGA AUSTRALIA JANUARY 24 Maeve Plouffe of Australia and Team Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast celebrates winning ahead of Ruby RosemanGannon of Australia and Team BikeExchangeJayco Blue Santos Leaders Jersey during the 2nd Santos Festival Of Cycling 2022 Womens Elite Stage 2 a 857km stage from McLaren Vale to Echunga TourDownUnder on January 24 2022 in Echunga Australia Photo by Daniel KaliszGetty Images
Maeve Plouffe (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) wins stage 2 of the Santos Festival of Cycling in the sprint (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Maeve Plouffe (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) was triumphant in the second day of women's racing at the Santos Festival of Cycling. With the late attacks pulled back the South Australian used her track speed and powerful sprint to capture victory.

The next two steps of the podium were a repeat of stage 1 with overall leader Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco) coming second – after also battling with Plouffe through the intermediate sprints of the day – while Australian champion Nicole Frain (Roxsolt Liv SRAM) came third.

The victory for Plouffe, who represented Australia on the track at the Tokyo Olympic Games, came after a childhood spent watching her local race from the side of the road before first joining the peloton of it in 2017.

“To then come out and win a stage today, I’ve been dreaming of this for years," Plouffe said after the stage. "I rode my first Tour when I was 18, I think I was the youngest person in it, and so to finally win this many years later is so exciting.”

The rider, who carefully picked her moves and stayed out of the wind through a spate of attacks in the final ten kilometres, said the victory also helped sate the disappointment of a Road Nationals that didn't live up to expectations after she faced a difficult run-in, suffering with COVID-19.

"But then to come out here and execute a good solid team race ... is so satisfying and so exciting,” said Plouffe.

How it unfolded

The stage, the second of four days of racing in South Australia, started at the Penny Hill winery in McLaren Vale before winding its way through 87.5 kilometres, nearly three of those on gravel, to Echunga.

The early spots of rain that fell through sign-on quickly cleared and heat started to build, both in and out of the racing. The stage route unfolded with plenty of obstacles to help form the splits and plenty of teams wanting to capitalise on them in a bid to snatch the overall lead from Roseman-Gannon or make a mark with a stage victory. 

Ultimately, however, the breaks were absorbed back into the bunch and the BikeExchange-Jayco rider not only held her lead but extended it. Roseman-Gannon, who started the stage two seconds up on Emily Watts (Knights of Suburbia), finished the day eight seconds ahead of nearest overall rival Plouffe, and 13 seconds up on Watts.

“We had to watch out for those dangerous moves, especially through the climb and the gravel and also avoiding crashes, so I just went with anything that I thought was dangerous and my teammates covered the last 10km," Roseman-Gannon said.

"Other teams really put it up to us and really sent riders up the road so we really had to use up a lot of energy before we even got to the sprint which made for some really good racing. Ultimately Maeve got me at the end but I’m pretty excited to hold onto the jersey and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got tomorrow to hopefully come up for the win.”

The dangerous moves Roseman-Gannon talked of included one with Matilda Raynolds (InForm TMX Make) and Samara Shepherd (Team Westpac) right before the sometimes loose and potholed gravel section 40km into the racing. As the field split to pieces over the uneven surface the duo then evolved into a group of six, including Roseman-Gannon, Grace Brown (Team Garmin Australia), Ruth Corset (VA Pro Racing) and Frain.

Then later after the Queen of the Mountain points – and the jersey – were swept up by Corset and the field had come back together, Megan Armitage attacked. The Team Westpac rider stretched out the gap far enough to bring Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco) to the front to chase and also captured the most competitive rider jersey.

Into the final ten kilometres Corset went again, pulling a group with her, and Brown went solo with five kilometres to go. When the Australian time trial champion was caught – largely due to the efforts of the second-placed time trial rider Amber Pate (BikeExchange-Jayco) – there was a counter attack. This time it came from Brown’s teammate Alyssa Polites, who holds the U23 road race Australian title.

The list of attacks throughout the racing seemed to keep growing ever longer, but ultimately none stuck through to the end and it became a second day where the race was decided by a sprint. 

The stage ahead, too, could be another day of splits, with the final day out on the road, before the criterium, taking in two unpaved sections and a climb just two kilometres from the finish line.

Results - stage 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maeve Plouffe (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 2:23:42
2Ruby Roseman-gannon (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
3Nicole Frain (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
4Hayley Jones (Aus) Giant Racing Team
5Sophie Edwards (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
6Josie Talbot (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
7Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Inform TMX Make
8Danielle de Francesco (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
9Georgie Howe (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
10Matilda Field (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
11Emily Watts (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
12Jessica Pratt (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
13Ruth Corset (Aus) VA Pro Racing
14Katie Banerjee (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
15Georgia Whitehouse (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
16Mia Hayden (Aus) Women's Racing Project
17Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
18Sophie Malowiecki (Aus) Giant Racing Team
19Sharni Morley (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
20Alexandra Manly (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
21Jessa Francis (Aus) Women's Racing Project
22Isabelle Carres (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
23Lucie Fityus (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
24Georgia Baker (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
25Alisha Wells (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
26Kathryn Mcinerney (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
27Lauren Thomas (Aus) Giant Racing Team
28Darcie Richards (Aus) VA Pro Racing
29Gina Ricardo (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
30Nicole Wilson (Aus) VA Pro Racing
31Alyssa Polites (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
32Hannah Seeliger (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
33Rose Vassel (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
34Courtney Sherwell (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
35Grace Brown (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
36Elizabeth Young (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team
37Amelia Watkinson (Aus) Individual Riders
38Megan Armitage (Irl) Team Westpac
39Jennifer Darmody (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
40Ella Bloor (Aus) Inform TMX Make
41Nicole Mitsigeorgis (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
42Kerry Jonker (RSA) Team Westpac
43Amber Pate (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
44Carlee Taylor (Aus) Inform TMX Make
45Rachel Wales (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
46Alli Anderson (Aus) South Australian Sports Institute
47Loretta Hanson (Aus) Team Westpac
48Sophie Marr (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
49Holly Lubcke (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
50Emma Pratt (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
51Samara Sheppard (NZl) Team Westpac
52Maddison Taylor (Aus) Giant Racing Team
53Justine Barrow (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
54Ella Simpson (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team 0:00:07
55Anya Louw (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:01:32
56Amanda Spratt (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
57Bree Playel (Aus) VA Pro Racing 0:03:16
58Phillipa Ash (Aus) Individual Riders 0:07:52
59Belinda Bailey (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
60Imogen Alton (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
61Celia Cowan (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team
62Chelsea Holmes (Aus) Inform TMX Make
63Alana Forster (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team
64Nicole Oh (Aus) Individual Riders
65Brittany Petersen (Aus) Team Westpac
66Julia Atkins (Aus) Women's Racing Project
67Haylee Fuller (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
68Lucinda Stewart (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
69Claire Battle (Aus) Giant Racing Team
70Nicola Macdonald (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM 0:07:55
71Alexandra Martin-wallace (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
72Emma Viotto (Aus) Giant Racing Team
73Shannon Mccurley (Irl) Knights of Suburbia Racing 0:13:24
74Rachel Hore (Aus) Individual Riders 0:14:30
75Eloise Sandow (Aus) Inform TMX Make 0:16:32
76Laura Chancellor (Aus) Women's Racing Project 0:19:01
77Mackenzie Coupland (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation 0:19:07
DNFHolly Chance (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team
DNFElizabeth Nuspan (Aus) Inform TMX Make
DNFDharlia Haines (Aus) South Australian Sports Institute
DNSLisa Jacob (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing

General classification after stage 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ruby Roseman-gannon (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco 4:36:44
2Maeve Plouffe (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:00:08
3Emily Watts (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing 0:00:13
4Nicole Frain (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM 0:00:15
5Georgia Baker (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco 0:00:17
6Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Inform TMX Make 0:00:23
7Matilda Field (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
8Ruth Corset (Aus) VA Pro Racing
9Danielle de Francesco (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
10Georgia Whitehouse (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
11Katie Banerjee (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
12Georgie Howe (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
13Sophie Malowiecki (Aus) Giant Racing Team
14Gina Ricardo (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
15Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
16Mia Hayden (Aus) Women's Racing Project
17Alexandra Manly (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
18Grace Brown (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
19Amelia Watkinson (Aus) Individual Riders
20Courtney Sherwell (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
21Carlee Taylor (Aus) Inform TMX Make
22Samara Sheppard (NZl) Team Westpac
23Justine Barrow (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM
24Amber Pate (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco 0:00:40
25Josie Talbot (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's 0:00:51
26Jessica Pratt (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's 0:00:52
27Isabelle Carres (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
28Sharni Morley (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
29Alisha Wells (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
30Jessa Francis (Aus) Women's Racing Project
31Nicole Wilson (Aus) VA Pro Racing
32Alyssa Polites (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
33Megan Armitage (Irl) Team Westpac
34Lauren Thomas (Aus) Giant Racing Team
35Rose Vassel (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom
36Lucie Fityus (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
37Elizabeth Young (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team
38Darcie Richards (Aus) VA Pro Racing
39Hannah Seeliger (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
40Sophie Marr (Aus) Knights of Suburbia Racing
41Jennifer Darmody (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's
42Emma Pratt (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation
43Maddison Taylor (Aus) Giant Racing Team
44Ella Simpson (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team 0:00:59
45Kathryn Mcinerney (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom 0:01:20
46Rachel Wales (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
47Loretta Hanson (Aus) Team Westpac
48Hayley Jones (Aus) Giant Racing Team 0:01:22
49Kerry Jonker (RSA) Team Westpac 0:01:51
50Ella Bloor (Aus) Inform TMX Make
51Holly Lubcke (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
52Anya Louw (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:01:55
53Bree Playel (Aus) VA Pro Racing 0:04:36
54Sophie Edwards (Aus) Team Garmin Australia 0:04:56
55Amanda Spratt (Aus) Team BikeExchange-Jayco 0:06:28
56Belinda Bailey (Aus) Stepfwd Soomom 0:08:44
57Chelsea Holmes (Aus) Inform TMX Make
58Emma Viotto (Aus) Giant Racing Team 0:08:47
59Phillipa Ash (Aus) Individual Riders 0:09:12
60Claire Battle (Aus) Giant Racing Team 0:09:15
61Imogen Alton (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade Women's 0:09:43
62Nicole Oh (Aus) Individual Riders
63Brittany Petersen (Aus) Team Westpac
64Nicola Macdonald (Aus) Roxsolt Liv SRAM 0:09:57
65Alli Anderson (Aus) South Australian Sports Institute 0:11:16
66Haylee Fuller (Aus) Team Garmin Australia 0:12:48
67Shannon Mccurley (Irl) Knights of Suburbia Racing 0:15:15
68Nicole Mitsigeorgis (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation 0:15:16
69Rachel Hore (Aus) Individual Riders 0:16:21
70Alana Forster (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team 0:19:08
71Julia Atkins (Aus) Women's Racing Project
72Lucinda Stewart (Aus) Team Garmin Australia
73Laura Chancellor (Aus) Women's Racing Project 0:20:52
74Celia Cowan (Aus) Butterfields Racing Team 0:23:08
75Alexandra Martin-Wallace (Aus) Ara Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:23:11
76Mackenzie Coupland (Aus) Cycling Development Foundation 0:30:23
77Eloise Sandow (Aus) Inform TMX Make 0:31:48

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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.

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