Race 3 - Geelong - 45 minutes
In his pre-race interview for the elite men's race, David McKenzie said that the weather was 'more like the Bay Series as we know it'. Indeed it was, sunshine at last! The thermometer reached the low-to-mid 20's today, although there was still a headwind up the back straight to contend with on this 350 metre straights course. There was no respite for the riders on what was being called a "hot dog" - due to its shape. 350m straight, brake, dead-turn, sprint back to speed, 350m straight, brake, dead-turn.... and so on.
One rider was lucky to make it to the start - Jessica Tanner was warming up on the rollers, using a cafe-style barrier to steady her balance when a gust of wind picked up the barrier, blew it into her rear wheel and knocked her bike of the rollers. Somehow she stayed upright and there seemed to be little or no damage to her wheel. Things could have been very different!
Once the racing started, a crash in Lap 1 took down 3 riders and Kate Bates, the sprint leader, also suffered a mechanical which required a lap out. However, it affected her little, as she managed to take second in the first sprint at 15 minutes. The result of sprint 1 was : Olivia Gollan, Kate Bates, Oenone Wood.
Between the sprints, Jenny McPherson tried to get away, but the space between her and the bunch only lasted one lap. She was reeled back in. The second sprint went to Bates, followed by Gollan and Wright.
As the race neared 45 minutes, things got a little tense. Riders tried to get off the front, but failed. With 10 laps to go, Natalie Peterson went away, the gap lengthened with 9 then 8 to go, but Gollan realised the danger and brought her back into the bunch. With 6 laps to go, everyone was together again.
With 4 to go, Helen Kelly jumped just as the bunch approached the line. Great Britain's Frances Newstead went with her, but within 100m (and one dead-turn), they were brought back. 3 laps to go saw Naomi Williams try her luck and then Emma James. This turned out to be the winning move. James went away and then extended her lead. The bunch were unable to catch her and she crossed the line with time for a victory salute. The sprint for second easily went to Rochelle Gilmore, followed by Elizabeth Williams and Oenone Wood and then Hayley Rutherford.
This result means that series leader Rutherford maintains the "retro" pink jersey for Race 4. She leads Wood by just 1 point. James moves into third position overall thanks to her effort today.
Before the start, Bates was predicting a NSW win, she was correct. After the race, James was predicting a NSW win for Race 4 - it might just be worth turning up to see if she's right too!
Race 4 is at Geelong, Botanic Gardens
Race time : 5pm
RESULTS - Race 3
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