Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
On what has been the hottest day recorded in Melbourne this summer, the women's race was certainly an event which tested the lungs, legs and speed of the competitors. 25 women lined up for the race, which was sponsored by Jaivi (individual handbags and purses), Capital Choice and Red Bull. The course was a "hot dog" up and down St Kilda's Fitzroy Street. There was little shade and the dead turns at each end of the 150 metre straights made this a hard, fast event from the start. The thermometer topped at 26'C locally during the event, although the day's high was 39.7'C in Melbourne. The Festival is an annual 4 day event attended by several hundred thousand people and the cyclists were supported by two or three hundred people, including many who had never seen a bike race before.
The bunch stayed together for only the first few minutes, before the pace began to tell for some towards the back. However, with riders like Belinda Goss (Tasmanian Institute of Sport), Jenny Macpherson (Carnegie) and Kirsty Bortolin (Blackburn), amongst others, this was never going to be a procession.
It wasn't until mid-race that anyone gained any real advantage. Priska Doppermann (Sui) went off the front in a move which was pre-meditated with her team-mate Bettina Kahn, who was to block any chasers. Doppermann opened a gap very quickly - from a couple of lengths to 10 seconds within 5 or so laps. The move was enough to shatter the race - a chasing group formed, with the bunch behind that. The chasers weren't able to close the gap and the bunch disintegrated into ones and twos as the speed picked up. Kahn did a good job of cover, going with Goss when she chased and bringing the chasers back together.
By the end of the race, Doppermann was still increasing her advantage, to around 30seconds by the end of the race. Doppermann clearly had plenty of time to celebrate her win with a 2-handed salute, having seen Kahn go off the front of the chasers with 3 laps to go and giving her a shout of encouragement as they crossed 1/2 a lap apart. That meant that the race finished with a Swiss 1-2. The sprint for third was won by Kirsty Bortolin, in the chasing group, ahead of Goss.
Doppermann was grateful to her team-mate for the blocking role. She told WomensCycling.net that she and Kahn had planned to keep attacking, "one after the other so that one of us might succeed. I just went and I was the lucky one, I was able to stay away. If they'd caught me, it would have been (Bettina's) turn to go for it."
The pair arrived in Australia in late January and are staying until the end of the month - their target being the Geelong Tour and the UCI Geelong World Cup event on the 29th. They will spend the time until then training in and around Melbourne, identifying the Dandenongs as a venue for some sessions. Dopperman has made the January journey to Melbourne before and was pleased to be in winning form at the St Kilda Festival.
1st Priska Dopperman
2nd Bettina Kahn
3rd Kirsty Bortolin
4th Belinda Goss
Photos - Want to use these photos? High-resolution available upon request. Use or reproduction of any photo from this site is subject to full acknowledgement of the contributor - please email for clarification prior to use if you are in any doubt email - click here
|Latest Additions to the Site|
|Calendar of Events 2004|
|World & National Champions 2004|
|Products of the Year|
|New to Cycling?|
|Sponsorship by WomensCycling.net|
|The "Small Print" click here|