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
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
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
“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.
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
Photo: Sara Carrigan during
© 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
Hannah Banks has had a roller
coaster ride in 2005 and was obviously a bit frustrated with her
“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”.