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Austral Wheelrace - Women's support races

Vodafone Arena Melbourne

Saturday 4th February 2006

Cyclists International website

Scratch Race

The scratch race was run over 12 laps with seventeen riders taking part. The field included Commonwealth Games competitors from Scotland Kate Cullen and Katrina Hair and New Zealand rider Elisabeth Williams. Also in the field were Canadian Jenny Trew who has been spending some time in Australia to escape the cold of the Canadian winter.

The pace was high for the whole race with Ester Pugh-Uren (Bendigo), Nicole Whitburn (Warrigal) and former National champion Michelle King (Fitzroy Cycles) all taking up the pace. It then looked like the overseas riders would be taking the win, with three laps to go Katrina Hair moved to the front, closely followed by Cullen and Williams. Unfortunately for Hair, she did not have the legs to take it through to the end. With one to go, Jessica Berry (Bendigo) moved to the front and despite all efforts, Cullen and Williams could not get round.

1       Jessica Berry

2        Kate Cullen

3        Elisabeth Williams

4        Nicole Whitburn


Jessica Berry on winning the Women’s Scratch race said, “I’m stuffed, I thought I had gone too early. I could feel the other riders on my wheel. I just hung on and kicked to get home”.

Katrina Hair chatted while warming down after the race “ my legs were tired, I don’t like bunch races, I didn’t enjoy them on the road and the track is even harder. I moved myself up a couple of times to keep out of trouble” Katrina will be riding the pursuit and the road time trail in the Commonwealth Games. She competed in the World Masters in Manchester in 2005 where she repeated her success of 2004 by winning the Pursuit gold medal in a record time.

On her preparations for the Games she added “I have been in Australia since December, I raced in Tasmania a the carnival but I fell ill towards the end of the week and got worse on the boat on the way back to Melbourne, so I could not ride the Bay Series. The problem for me is that there have not been any time trials for me to ride to see how I am going; I have been able to do some pursuit training on the track which has been good. I have taken a leave of absence from work so that I could compete in the Games. I was working full time until 3 months ago, this has been tough for me and for my husband, he is back in Scotland and I will not see him until the 8th March, I have not been used to do so much training, its been great but very tiring” When asked about coping in the warm temperatures she added “I have been going out early for rides, avoiding the sun and putting factor 30 on when I have been out in it” On plans after the games she added “I am going home, I should take my final Architect exams as I only have a couple left to do. I will then just race in the UK, I discovered that if I race the Commonwealth Games I can’t ride at  Masters level again, so that’s a shame”.


Handicap Race 

This race was over very quickly. With only 6 laps to cover, the backmarkers of Cullen, Williams and Berry had little chance of making an impact on the race. The middle markers; Nicole Holt (Carnegie), Nicole Whitburn (Warrigal), Ester Pugh-Uren (Bendigo) and Livia Gluchowska (Carnegie) caught the lead group of Roz Bradley (MTB), Sophie Ruderman (ENG), Clare Vlahopoulos (Carnegie), Hanna Bush (Shepparton) and Denise Betts (Blackburn) quickly, but it was Livia Gluchowska who took the chance to break away. With just over one lap to go she broke away from the group and despite all efforts from Holt and Whitburn took a clear win on the line. 

1      Livia Gluchowska

2      Nicole Holt

3      Nicole Whitburn

4      Ester Pugh-Uren


Livia was pleased with her win "I had a game plan and I stuck to it. I wanted to attack with 1.5 laps to go and I did”.

Jenny Trew looked very relaxed after the nights racing “I love racing here in Australia, it’s a shame there are so few rides for the women tonight because there is so much talent here”. On plans before she returns to Canada Jenny added “ I am riding the Geelong Tour and World Cup events, I am in a composite team with Ljunskog and three of the American riders so it should be good”.


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Photos   Click on the images below to enlarge >> 

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