Geelong Women's Tour
Stage 1 Results
Late news - results error - the Officials at the Geelong Women's Tour have reviewed the results from the first stage time trial and Kate Bates' time adjusted by 14 seconds. This puts Kate Mactier into the leader's blue jersey for the criterium at Geelong's Botanical Gardens on Monday. Kate Bates, originally awarded the win is now in 4th place, 10 seconds down on Mactier.
a warm-ish evening, with a cross-tailwind on the outward leg of this out and
back course, the later starters had a definite advantage. The wind died off
dramatically over the 2 hour period that there were competitors out on the
rider off in the 4 day tour was Emi Onoyama, the Japanese rider in the World
team. She was not, however first back; that honour went to Narelle Peterson
of the Body Torque team, who finished in 11:35:60. Onoyama's time was
12:56:90, slowest of the day.
course, along the Esplanade in Portarlington, had a downhill start, which
was obviously a tough drag for the riders to overcome on their way back over the
final few metres to the finish banner.
Early times were posted at around 11minues, first to break the 11 minute barrier was seventh to start, the tall T-Mobile rider, Stacey Peters with 10:58:37. This was enough to give her 20th. New Zealand rider, Johanna Buick rode stylishly, she was the first on the road with an aero helmet and her 8km were ridden with hands close in to the stem in an attempt to gain an aerodynamic position. Race rules explicitly stated that road bikes (not TT) should be ridden - no tri bars or disc wheels allowed. Buick achieved 11:15:04 - enough for 37th and 54 seconds down on the winner, Mactier.
Peters' sub-11 minute time stood until almost half way through the field, when Emma Davies (Great Britain) shaved a second off to set 10:57:79. This didn't last for long, however, Louise Yaxley (Jayco) followed in soon afterwards and set the leader board alight with 10:27:63. Her 30 seconds advantage was safe until much later in the race, although several riders finished in or around 10 minutes 45 seconds. Riders such as Bradshaw, Barry and Armstrong.
It seemed that Yaxley's ride would be good enough for a top three finish until the seeded riders took to the course. With the wind dropping and team-mates giving feedback on the conditions, their advantage was not just physical. In addition, the Australian riders have a month of competition in their legs, so it was no surprise that the race got more exciting as the seeded rider's times were announced.
Kate Mactier, riding for the Jayco team and now a specialist in the pursuit on the track, showed her class at shorter individual events by recording 10:21:57. Kathy Watt (past Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champion) started a minute after Mactier and the difference was almost the same when she got back - Watt's time was 10:24:32 - which would be good enough for third at the end of the evening.
Double Australian Champion, on-form Oenone Wood, resplendent in her white jersey with the green and gold bands caught her minute-rider Jennifer Finlay just before the line, to finish in 10:32:40, as the fifth fastest overall.
There were no real incidents in this race, the marshalling being assisted by Victoria Police Force members. Although Tetyana Stiajkina's (Ukraine) heart no doubt missed a beat when she managed to pull her foot about 10 metres into her ride.
Mactier did not have long to wait to see if her time would hold, she had started in the last part of the field, but there was a palpable tension amongst those watching and waiting for the seeded riders at the end of the startsheet to come back in. Big things were expected of Margaret Hemsley (Nurnberger), Sara Carrigan (Queensland Academy of Sport) and last year's winner, Olivia Gollan. They did not disappoint. All three managed to get into the top twenty.
So, with 9 riders in the top 10, there must be something in the fact that the Southern Hemisphere riders have an added advantage in this first major event of the year. They have had the opportunity to prepare in the warm summer, with most already having a month of competition in their legs whilst the Northern Hemisphere riders have typically just landed in from cold and wet climate. Indeed, Miriam Melchers and other members of the World team have only been in Australia for 2 days - she admitted to feeling jet-lagged.
The jersey presentation took Alexis Rhodes by surprise. She was presented with the Under 23 competition leader's yellow jersey, having come in 24th with a time of 11:02:37. Given that Bates was presented as race leader and was also the first under 23 rider, the next fastest younger rider is given the jersey for the next day's start. However, now that the result has been amended, Bates will wear the yellow jersey - a consolation, perhaps?
Post race, Bates had been clearly pleased with her ride, she didn't cite any specific preparation for this event, but pointed out that Australian track Olympic hopefuls have been posting qualifying time rides in the past month, thus giving some speed to their legs. 8km, is a good distance for trackies to cross over onto the road. Although, Bates is well aware that track riders also need to be able to do well on the road. She is hoping to take her form through the week and further into the season, looking for world ranking points in the build-up to Athens.
Commenting on the quality of the field, Bates was impressed, with Miriam Melchers (World number 2 in 2003) and at least five of the top ten for 2003 here this week. Of course, such quality means that each team will have riders with aspirations to win the Geelong Women's Tour. The quality of the field, along with the size could mean a hectic criterium for the riders at Geelong's Botanic Gardens tomorrow.