Geelong Women's Tour
February 22 - 24, 2005
Once the race starts, you will be able to click below to go to Stage results >
Stage 3 Review
It was hot at the coast today. Thirteenth Mile Beach at Barwon Heads was warming up throughout the morning as the riders competed over the 72km course, which was 5 laps of a large circuit, approximately 15km long. With intermediate sprints on each of the first 4 laps and time bonuses available on the final lap, the pace was hot too. Despite the temperature and the stiff headwind up the finishing straight, the stage was completed in just over 2 hours.
Each sprint saw Kate Bates and Oenone Wood in battle for the time bonuses, given that they were only 1 second apart at the start of the day. They were also competing for the red sprinter's jersey as a result. Other riders active in the sprints were New Zealand National team Melissa Holt and Indonesian Santia Tri Kusuma, who was the only Indonesian left in the race after her team-mates did not finish Stage 2. The first sprint went to Bates, giving her the on-the-road race lead, but Wood came back and took the second sprint. Several riders tried to go off the front of the bunch at the back of the circuit, including Kathy Watt, but all were brought back by the ever- attentive Nürnberger team.
A crash involving 14 riders during the 4th lap delayed Bates and Wood, meaning that they did not contest the sprint, leaving it to Kate Nichols, Tri Kusuma and Tina Mayola Pic. Pic, it turns out was just warming up her legs for the stage finish, where she would be at the front of the sprint again. Once more, the Nürnberger team were active and towed their team leader back into the main bunch to set her up for the race finish.
The Lloyd Morgan team started working hard on a lead-out at the front of the race with 5km to go, according to Tina Mayola-Pic. She was protected all the way to the finish, where she unleashed a sprint which surprised the spectators and competitors alike. All were expecting action from Bates and Wood, but it was the blue and white of Mayola Pic which burst out of the front of the pack in the middle of the road. She finished a couple of lengths clear of NSWIS rider, Rochelle Gilmore and third was Oenone Wood. In-form Jenny Macpherson was 4th and Tanja Hennes-Schmidt 5th. Kate Bates crossed the line in the bunch, 51st. Gilmore's second was a one-place improvement on her 2004 position of third, when she finished with one foot unclipped - the result of a mechanical problem relating to a new pedal system.
Third was enough to keep Wood in yellow - and red. The young rider jersey was passed from Alexis Rhodes to Michelle Hyland. Rhodes did not start Stage 3, so the jersey was up for grabs. Nonetheless, Hyland was pleased to have taken over the blue jersey, leading Kate Nichols by 12 seconds. Hyland is a relative newcomer to cycling - she has been competing for about 18 months, having arrived from triathlon and considers her cycling career highlight so far to be competing for New Zealand in the Olympics. Taking the young rider jersey is as close as she has got so far to a win in cycling - not bad!
With the race still tight at the top - the General Classification has Wood leading the Bates sisters in second and third. Kate is 6 seconds back and Natalie, 14 seconds down. Both Bates and Wood agree that the key to the race victory will be Mount Wallace on Stage 4. The short, steep climb is feared by many and has been a race-making feature of the race in previous editions of the Geelong Tour. Bates feels that the nature of Mount Wallace suits her riding style - she is a trackie with a strong sprint. Indeed, she commented that "I'm sprinting really well at the moment and I ran out of puff at the end, my track legs let me do it a couple of times, but not 5 times. I just couldn't match Oenone." "I think tomorrow will be a biog day and it will be make or break. I've just got to try and recover well for tomorrow, because with that hill in it, 10 seconds (for the intermediate sprint) may not mean anything when someone's a minute up the road." And about Mount Wallace - "It suits me, its not long and its steep so its more suited to power riders like myself, we'll just pop over it." About tactics for Stage 4, Bates gave an insight into her feelings for racing - "I'm not in the Leader's jersey, I've got nothing to lose. I'd rather come 50th because I tried to get the jersey than just roll in for second - its not my style."
Oenone Wood also felt the pace - the sprints every lap were crucial and tiring - "Kate Bates really gave me a run for my money and put the pressure on early because she was sprinting really well, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow." Although defending the yellow jersey on Stage 3 had meant competing in the intermediate sprints, Wood is aware that the focus may change on Stage 4 - Mount Wallace may nullify any sprint time bonuses gained if a rider or group of riders get away and stay away.
Tina Mayola Pic is competing in her second Geelong Tour. The American had clearly enjoyed herself and her win. "It was awesome, really fun, pretty fast at the end and I got a great lead-out from my team-mates in the Lloyd Morgan team." " I got caught behind the crash, but I think Oenone got caught behind it too, so Nürnberger paced us all back into the bunch." Of her team-mates, she had nothing but praise, "they were incredible, it was from about 5km out, they were swapping-off and taking turns and they were awesome".