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Sara Carrigan Too Strong on the Gold Coast

Review of the New Years Day Criterium in Queensland

The following article first appeared on www.CycleSportNews.com. Sara Carrigan has been riding strongly throughout all of January 2006, with a race win in the Jayco Bay Series and then silver medals in both the Australian National Road Race and Time Trial Championships.

To start her year, the 2004 Athens Olympic Champion rode the New Years Day criterium and took a win. She beat some local competition and also some AIS (2005) team members. Hannah Banks and Candice Sullivan both represented Australia in Europe in 2005.

WomensCycling.net is grateful to Peter Ford (CycleSportNews.com) for permission to reproduce this article and images.



The ladies were finally able to present a “show of force” on the Gold Coast this afternoon, when one of “the best fields assembled for ages” fronted up at the New Year’s Day Criterium.

Photo: Happy winners podium: Sullivan,Carrigan and Magner  © Peter Ford (Cycle Sport News)

The very strong line up included Olympic Gold medallist, Sara Carrigan, young QAS performer, Candice Sullivan, outstanding junior, Jessie Byrnes, University of Queensland rider, Kate Mercer and the ever-dangerous, Hannah Banks, who has recently returned from a stint of riding in Europe.

Added to this group was Erica Oldfield, a member of the 2005 Australian Mountain bike team which contested the World Championships at Livigno, Italy in August-September, and Bridget Evans, who won the 2005 edition of this race beating Candice Sullivan and Sally Cowman.

Photo: Foes can be mates
© Peter ord (Cycle Sport News)

There were some great early attacks, but as the race progressed, the QAS squad seemed to be in complete control.

Bridget Evans and Kate Mercer took out two of the primes along with Sara Carrigan.

Candice Sullivan led a breakaway which included Nicole Magner and Josie Loane.

Several attempts to bridge gaps in the race were launched by Jessie Byrnes and mountain biker, Sharon Heap.

Well into the race, Carrigan surged out of the chase group and joined the leaders, who by this stage, were about 100 metres in front.

What followed was a great battle of attrition, with all the girls working well together, and with all riders in with a show of taking out the race.

In the end, however, it was the class and strength of Sara Carrigan which finally prevailed, and the Gold Coast Olympian powered to the line to record a great win.

Hannah Banks, who finished just outside the placings, was quite pleased with the way things panned out.

“The QAS went well as whole. We weren’t totally working as a team, but it’s always good to see those riders get up.

In terms of myself, it was one of those frustrating races in which I could have done a bit more at the right time. But that’s what you learn from”.

Photo: Sara  Carrigan during pre-race instructions
© Peter Ford (Cycle Sport News)

“It’s New Year’s Day so I didn’t really have any high expectations. We haven’t raced for about three months, and it would have been really nice to get a solid race or a solid result just coming up to the National titles which are in two weeks time.

Unfortunately I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped. But it’s just a race. There’s always another one”.

Hannah Banks has had a roller coaster ride in 2005 and was obviously a bit frustrated with her form.

“It was up then down, then up and down. I had a pretty tough year in terms of work load. I was studying full time doing a duel degree at Uni, and I had two jobs for the majority of the year as well. On top of all of this, I did get a stint with the AIS which was fantastic.

I got to race in the women’s edition of the Giro d’Italia, which is a huge race. In terms of total form though, it wasn’t as high as I would have liked. I peaked several times during the year which was good, and I did get to do a lot of fantastic races.”

As for 2006, Hannah says her plans are still very much “up in the air”.

“ I really would like to ride for the AIS, not necessarily as a full-time rider. I’m 19 now and wouldn’t mind a break from my university studies. I’ll go back to it, but I wouldn’t mind a year off to totally focus on riding instead of trying to do 20 things at once.

It would be nice to be able to go overseas with them for half a year, and then maybe, join a small European team. Anyway, we’ll see how things go”.
















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