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Race Review - Round 2 - Wellington

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102 riders lined up to start the 2nd round of the Women’s World Cup event in Wellington, New Zealand. In what was predicted by the race organizer Jorge Sandoval, to be ‘a race of attrition due to the tough leg sapping circuit round the Wellington city centre’, this included two steep climbs that the riders would have to climb twenty times each during the race.

The field included many of the top riders in the world; many local riders from Wellington and Nelson were given the opportunity to race in this top class field. Most of the international riders had a tough run up to this event having competed in the Tour of Geelong, the first round of the World Cup in Geelong (Australia) and the Women's Tour of New Zealand before coming to this race. The race picked up pace right from the start, within the first 2 km two riders Johanna Buick (MIZONE NZ “B”) and Katie Brown (AIS) managed to get a 6 sec gap. Five riders reacted to close the break: Michelle Hyland (Trust House NZ), Silvia Valsecchi (Nobili Rubinetterie-Menikini Cogeas), Kele Hulser (Western Australia), Miho Oki (Japan) and Tanja Hennes (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) they bridged the gap and by the time the riders reached the start/finish line for the first time, these seven riders had pushed the gap to 26 seconds.   

The breakaway worked hard with what seemed to be constant encouragement from Tanja Hennes (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint), early on, as they managed to increase their lead to 1.35 sec by the 3rd lap. As the bunch approached the bottom of the climb at Boulcott St, Emma Rickards (QAS) attempted to cross the gap to the break unfortunately she did not make it. By the 5th lap the leading group was working well together had created a 1minute50sec gap on the peleton. Despite the strength of teams in the peleton, they seemed comfortable to let the break get away without too many attempts to bring it back in. Rochelle Gilmore (AIS), current holder of the World Cup leader’s jersey, maintained her position in the top third of the bunch watching the action of the race looking ready to cover any big move if she could. 

On the decent of Hill St, during the latter sections of lap 7, Michelle Hyland (Trust House NZ) broke away from the leading group and managed to get a 6 sec gap. The chasers reacted to close the gap, which resulted in them increasing their lead to 2minute15 sec. At the front of the bunch, team tactics came into play as the AIS team and NZ teams sat on the front,  holding the pace and controlling any attempts to bridge the gap. The bunch however seemed content to allow the gap to the leaders to increase.

By lap 10 the gap to the leaders had increased to 3minute50 sec, however by the time the leaders reached the start/finish line for the 11th time, the front of the peleton had reacted, the Australian Bates sisters Natalie and Kate (Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink)  were driving the front of the peleton. Within two laps the gap had come down to 2minutes36sec. The peleton were strung out on the decent on Hill St, and at the right hand turn into Mulgrave St, two riders crashed, having slipped on some water, probably caused by a burst pipe. Queensland rider Candice Sullivan and Carissa Wilkes of New Zealand were treated by the ambulance staff and were forced to retire from the race.

Meredith Miller of the USA, riding for Avery Ford, managed to break away from the peleton on the ascent of Boulcott St and managing to get a 30 sec gap. By lap 15, the attrition really started; Kele Hulser (Western Australia) pulled out of the leading group and many riders were lapped by the bunch as the pace increased. At the other end,Caroline Jackson (European Combined) attempted to get off the front, gaining a 200m gap before being pulled back by the Anke Wichmann (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung).

While the riders were at the back end of the course, the organisers had a major crisis in the start/finish area. An enormous gust of wind lifted the start/finish scaffold into the crowd, hitting a couple of spectators but thankfully not causing any injury. By the time the leading group approached the start/finish area, the hoards of spectators assisted by holding up the scaffold and allowing the race to pass underneath. Unfortunately for the organisers, the peleton had increased the pace and closed the gap to the leaders to 1minute53 sec, forcing them to remain holding the scaffold until the whole race and convoy had passed through, about 2minutes later.

By lap 16 the gap had decreased to 44 sec, the current World Champion Judith Arndt (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung) headed the chase to the leaders. By the time the leaders started lap 17,  the gap had reduced to 22 sec. Olivia Gollan (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung) followed by Natalie Bates (Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink), Susanne Ljungskog (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) and Melissa Holt strung out the whole of the peleton and rapidly pulled back the leaders. Halfway up the climb on Boulcott St, they caught the break. Olympic champion Sara Carrigan (Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink) moved to the front of the bunch and kept going through the caught riders and into the lead, she quickly opened a gap of her own. Judith Arndt (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung) reacted to chase Carrigan back.

At start of the bell lap Arndt, Ljungskog; Oenone Wood (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung) and Melissa Holt (Trust House NZ) attempted to break away, but were quickly covered by the 20 or so riders left in the main peleton. At the right hand turn into Boulcott Street, two riders: Suzanne De Goede (Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink) and Linda Serup (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) managed to jump away from the peleton and quickly gained a 13 sec gap. By the time the riders reached the 1 km sign the pair had gained a clear advantage over the chasing peleton. At 500m De Goede kicked and left Serup to finish several lengths ahead.

In the chase for third place, Tina Pic from the USA, (Avery Ford) kicked hard to beat the current 2004 World Cup holder Oenone Wood (Equip Nürnberger Versicherung) on the line and into 4th.

Race Reactions

An excited Suzanne De Goede showed her elation and excitement at wining the race, she seemed overjoyed when she spoke to Women’s Cycling “it’s great I can’t believe it, I don’t know what to say. The two of us worked together, it was difficult because there was a lot of wind. I felt good all day today, when the peleton caught the break, I thought it was a good time to get away, I spoke to Linda and she said she was ok to go for it. I am really lucky that we stayed away, I am really happy. My team worked hard to keep the speed out of the peleton to allow us to stay away “.  

The whole Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink team can take credit for the win, they worked hard throughout the race, despite their small team, and Kate Bates was pleased with her performance. “That was unreal, we won the bike race, no-one on the team was going for the overall so we just wanted to win, it didn’t matter who it was. We were pretty aggressive during the latter stages of the race, Natalie and Sara and I were in a few break attempts but Suzie managed to get the one that lasted, this is great for the team and for Suzanne”. When asked what their team strategy had been for this race, sister Natalie added “ we thought it would be a pretty tough race and break up a lot earlier but we only had four of us, we had Kate who came third after last week so we just had to be conservative. In the end we started to mix things up, we went with everything, I think we were the ones that stirred the race up, it was great that Suzanne got away in the end to get the win, the rest of us were right up there at the finish, we had a great race”. Finally the last member of the team to speak, Olympic champion Sara Carrigan, told Womens Cycling:  “it was a tough course of attrition, when the break went out to nearly four minutes we thought that was the end of the race, but the pace really started and there were a lot of attacks from us and other riders. We got one of us away; it was perfect”.  

The team will be split up for a while, Kate Bates heads to Los Angeles for the  World Track Championships, Sara and Natalie are heading home to Australia for a while before heading up to Europe, the team get back together at the end of March.  

Women’s Cycling caught up with 2nd place Linda Serup;  “I feel very good, I was looking back when we got the break and no one was there, I thought to myself we can do this. I had worked hard for the rest of my team during the race, I felt really good but I felt unprepared for the sprint, I could not respond, second is good though. I have had a couple of good results in stage races but nothing like this”. 

Tina Pic is flying at the moment, coming out of the last two weeks with a stage win in each of the Geelong Tour and the NZ tour, she was pleased to out-sprint Oenone Wood to take 3rd place. Tina commented “I did better than I thought I would, the bunch did not go for so long, we were all getting really edgy because there was a big group out. It got pretty rough during the last four laps, the pace increased and many riders struggled to hang on, the Ford Avery team was awesome, they worked so hard they were amazing out there. The whole team is a composite only coming together for this race”.  Meredith Miller, Pic's team-mate had tried hard to make a break to the race leaders during the middle laps, she told Women’s Cycling.net  “nobody was trying to bring the break back, the gap was getting bigger and we kept going to the front but nobody else wanted to pull through so I thought, forget this and I went at the turn after the second climb. I had attacked there once before so I went for it again, I hung in there for a while. I figured I would not be able to stay out there but I was hoping the peleton would respond and catch the lead bunch. If it did manage it, (the catch) I knew Tina would be there. It’s a great achievement for a composite team, it’s a shame we can’t ride together all year’.

The new leader of the World Cup Jersey, Oenone Wood, seemed disappointed with the outcome of the race. During the interviews with Equip Nürnberger Versicherung the day before the race, it was obvious that they had set their goal to win the race. After the race, Oenone commented  “I am a little bit disappointed with the result, we were obviously going for the win but I think we rode well. We rode it tactically, we were not involved in the initial break, and we let them stay out until they got really tired. We worked hard to get the break back with five laps to go, my team mates kept attacking to liven up the pace but did not manage to get away to take the win, the two riders capitalised on that and managed to get away for the finish” When asked if she thought her team would bring it back in the last couple of laps she added “Suzanne and Linda rode a good race, a fantastic race and they managed to stay away to take the win. I sat in during the race hoping to save my strength for the finish, to take the sprint but it wasn’t to happen today. I did not think the course was too hard, I had not had a chance to ride round it before today, the climbs were hard but the wind played the biggest part in the race, it was really hard.    

The Buitenpoort-Flexpoint team new for 2005 seemed please with their performance. They are staying in New Zealand for the next week to get some more warm weather training before heading back to Europe to ride the next World Cup race. Mirjam Melchers Van Poppel chatted to Women’s Cycling after the race, she said “I am disappointed with my own performance, I knew a couple of days ago that I was going down with a cold, I knew I would love this circuit but I think I will have to wait until next year. I am pleased with the team performance though, we spent more than half the race in the front which was good for us”.


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** Denotes under 23 rider

Rank First Name LastName Team Code Event Team Time/Gap
1 Suzanne DE GOEDE ** BAA Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink 03:38:16


2 Linda Melanie SERUP ** BFL Buitenpoort-Flexpoint @00:01
3 Tina MAYOLA PIC AVF Avery Ford @00:10
4 Oenone WOOD NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung @00:10
5 Jenny MacPHERSON QAS Queensland Academy of Sport @00:10
6 Melissa HOLT NZL New Zealand National  @00:10
7 Susanne LJUNGSKOG BFL Buitenpoort-Flexpoint @00:10
8 Joanne KIESANOWSKI NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @00:10
9 Miho OKI JPN Japanese National  @00:10
10 Katherine BATES BAA Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink @00:14
11 Madeleine SANDIG ** GER German National  @00:14
12 Sara CARRIGAN BAA Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink @00:14
13 Tamara BOYD THB Trust House New Zealand B @00:14
14 Sigrid CORNEO NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @00:14
15 Edwig PITEL EUR European Combined @00:24
16 Trixi WORRACK NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung @00:24
17 Natalie BATES BAA Ton van Bemmelen AA Drink @00:27
18 Judith ARNDT NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung @00:47
19 Katie BROWN ** AUS Australian National Team @01:23
20 Helen KELLY AVF Avery Ford @01:23
21 Susie WOOD NZL New Zealand National  @01:26
22 Amy GILLETT AUS Australian National Team @01:46
23 Toni BRADSHAW NZL New Zealand National  @01:46
24 Emma RICKARDS QAS Queensland Academy of Sport @02:44
25 Sarah DUSTER GER German National  @02:46
26 Diana RAST EUR European Combined @02:54
27 Olga SLYUSAREVA NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @03:04
28 Claire BAXTOR SAM Team Samsung @03:11
29 Lynn GAGGIOLI AVF Avery Ford @03:13
30 Alexis RHODES ** AUS Australian National Team @03:33
31 Rochelle GILMORE AUS Australian National Team @03:46
32 Katie NICHOLS ** AUS Australian National Team @03:46
33 Michelle HYLAND ** NZL New Zealand National  @03:51
34 Jo RYDER SAM Team Samsung @04:26
35 Modesta VZESNIAUSKAITE ** NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @04:51
36 Nadene BOYLE THB Trust House New Zealand B @04:51
37 Bianca KNOPFLE ** GER German National  @04:52
38 Emma JAMES AVF Avery Ford @04:53
39 Robyn WONG MNZ Mizone New Zealand @04:53
40 Johanna BUICK THB Trust House New Zealand B @04:53
41 Caroline JACKSON EUR European Combined @04:53
42 Catherine SELL ** NZL New Zealand National  @04:53
43 Meredith MILLER AVF Avery Ford @04:53
44 Miyoko KARAMI JPN Japanese National  @05:15
45 Akemi MORIMOTO JPN Japanese National  @06:14
46 Brei GUDSELL THB Trust House New Zealand B @07:30
47 Silvia VALSECCHI NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @07:30
48 Carly HIBBERD ** QAS Queensland Academy of Sport @08:27
49 Serena SHERIDAN STG Star & Garter Wheelers @08:27
50 Emma MACKIE ** SAM Team Samsung @08:27
51 Frith BROWN STG Star & Garter Wheelers @08:27
52 Georgina WAIBL TAI Tait Communications Team @08:27
53 Claudia HECHT ** GER German National @08:29
54 Bernadette SCHOBER ** EUR European Combined @08:30
55 Daniela FUSAR POLI ** NMC SC Nobili Rubinetterie - Menikini Cogeas @08:30
56 Verena JOOS GER German National  @08:30
57 Tri Kusuma SANTIA INA Indonesian National  @10:02
58 Vickie BURR MNZ Mizone New Zealand @10:04
59 Keren VAN DER BOOM TAI Tait Communications Team @10:05
60 Nathalie LAURENDEAU WAU Western Australia @10:40
61 Priska DOPPMANN EUR European Combined AB
62 Mirjam MELCHERS-VAN POPPEL BFL Buitenpoort-Flexpoint AB
63 Michelle KIESANOWSKI NZL New Zealand National  AB
64 Karen FULTON MNZ Mizone New Zealand AB
65 Bernadette SCHOBER ** EUR European Combined AB
66 Carolyn JENKINS STG Star & Garter Wheelers AB
67 Richelle MARSHALL STG Star & Garter Wheelers AB
68 Kelly HULSER WAU Western Australia AB
69 Stacy SIMS STG Star & Garter Wheelers AB
70 Olivia GOLLAN NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung AB
71 Tanja HENNES BFL Buitenpoort-Flexpoint AB
72 Kirsty BORTOLIN SAM Team Samsung AB
73 Anke WICHMANN NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung AB
74 Madeleine LINDBERG NUR Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung AB
75 Candice SULLIVAN ** QAS Queensland Academy of Sport AB
76 Carissa WILKES ** MNZ Mizone New Zealand AB
77 Louise YAXLEY AUS Australian National Team AB
78 Hannah BANKS ** QAS Queensland Academy of Sport AB
79 Jane WILLIAMS AVF Avery Ford AB
80 Sandy KUNZ STG Star & Garter Wheelers AB
81 Judith MAY SAM Team Samsung AB
82 Rosyida DAHLINA ** INA Indonesian National  AB
83 Anna MIYAZAKI ** JPN Japanese National  AB
84 Nicola JOHNSON TAI Tait Communications Team AB
85 Nichola WILSON TAI Tait Communications Team AB
86 Muzizah UYUN INA Indonesian National  AB
87 Lauren ROSBOROUGH TAI Tait Communications Team AB
88 Sri SUYAMTI INA Indonesian National  AB
89 Hedi-Jane HUMPHRIES TAI Tait Communications Team AB
90 Kerry COHEN WAU Western Australia AB
91 Charlotte BECKER ** GER German National  AB
92 Kerryn CHARMAN WAU Western Australia AB
93 Nicole FREEMAN WAU Western Australia AB
94 Christiane SOEDER EUR European Combined DNS
95 Melissa PILLA THB Trust House New Zealand B DNS
96 Sally COWMAN ** QAS Queensland Academy of Sport DNS


** Denotes under 23 rider




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