Trust House Women’s Cycling Tour of New Zealand 2007
Martinborough - Masterton 99.6km
The stage from Martinborough to Masterton is a hard one; the road rolls up and down on the way to the main climbs. In addition, the stage sometimes seems longer than it actually is due to the fact that the riders take the same road for the first 40km of the race. A bonus for the riders today was that the wind was blowing generally in the direction from Martinborough to Masterton.
There were attempts to gain an advantage off the front of the bunch from the start onwards. Within the first kilometre, there were riders trying their legs and those of the chasers. None of the attempts were successful, although a break did form which contained riders from the strongest teams in the race: T-Mobile, Team Flexpoint, New Zealand, Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport. Also there were riders from Cheerwine and a British rider who had a great day, Catherine Hare (Infinity Solutions).
Whilst attacks and counterattacks were made on the road to the first climb at Pakaraka Road, the main sort-out was still to come. A small group got away between Stonvar Hill and the climb of Westmere Road, the main climb of the day was on Te Wharau hill, where the mountains competition jersey was to be decided for the day.
The race was split apart on the climb. There was a small group at the front, a sizeable group about 90 seconds behind and then the group containing Race Leader, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg another 40 seconds down. The descent was a factor in brining the bunches back together, although the Cheerwine team were also very active in the second group, trying to get their sprinter, Laura van Gilder into a stage winning position. T-Mobile were positioned in each of the groups too and also worked to bring their sprinters, Oenone Wood and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg back into contention (as well as protecting Teutenberg's overall lead).
The bunch was about 8 seconds down on the leaders as they entered the last 5km. As the race approached the final kilometre, the bunch was complete again. T-Mobile's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg took the front, with Oenone Wood behind when the race turned into the closing 500m of Church Street in Masterton. About 200m away from the finish, Teutenberg pulled over, her leadout complete. Wood took the front and continued to the finishing line. She beat Jo Kiesanowski (NZ), who was placed on Masterton's stage in 2006 to second and Loës Markerink (Team Flexpoint) to third.
Wood's win was her first in the magenta T-Mobile jersey, whilst Teutenberg's bunch finish was enough to retain the overall race lead.
Team Flexpoint riders were active all day, Susanne Ljungskog is showing good strength and was in the breaks during the stage, whilst both Loës Gunnewijk and Loës Markerink were also up the front. The New Zealand National team was also busy, with Sarah Ulmer (still troubled with injuries) policing moves at the front of the race.
Carla Ryan (Australia) made the mountains jersey her own with her performance in the hills, whilst Nikki Egyed (AIS) retained the sprint competition leader's jersey. All of the Australian Nationals / AIS seem to have ridden themselves into form recently, riding strongly throughout the Geelong World Cup and Tour of Geelong.
(T-Mobile) successfully sprinted into first place, to win stage 2, a gruelling
stage over the Te Wharau Hill. This was her first win in her new team
colours, and was achieved after an amazing lead out by series leader Ina-Yoko
Teutenberg. “It was an awesome lead out, the whole team was
involved in it, we started to lead out from about 4km out and I think they
were just too strong. My job was easy at the end they did all of the hard
work, I just had to sit in.” Asked if it was hard to decide who
would take the sprint given that the team was all together, Teutenberg
responded categorically, “No”.
remained in the leader’s jersey, cruising home in the bunch after her
efforts in the leadout for Wood. Reflecting on the race Teutenberg said,
“It’s too early for me to climb, I have the sprint fitness but I
need some more racing be able to get over a hill like that and win the
Asked about the team performance, Teutenberg added “It’s great, it worked out pretty well in the end, and I think we were one short in the lead out, but Oenone was calm enough to wait as everyone was sitting on her wheel. They all had the wind on them and despite being on Oenone’s wheel, Jo [Kiesanowski] could not come round, it’s a good day for the team.”
Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine) worked hard in the run in but could not get round T-Mobile, finishing in 5th place in the sprint. Cheerwine had been instrumental in bringing back the break in the last 15km, in an attempt to set up the sprint for van Gilder only to see T-Mobile take over in the last 4km and take the win. Asked about this van Gilder said “It was pretty hard as there were some medians and the wind kept changing making it hard to hold a position and look for the signs for the 1 km and 500m to go because I was switching positions so much. Our team was very committed to bringing the break back, hoping that I was going to place pretty high in the finish, I didn’t manage this but we are happy with the outcome. We didn’t lose time to the front group, we worked hard a as a team and learnt a lot out there today. That is all part of the building process for us to have a successful Cheerwine team for the entire season."
about the climb and the fact that it is very early in the season to go
over such a big climb, van Gilder added “I thought the feed-zone
climb was harder, it took a little bit more out of the legs. The big climb
was hard and not having done it before it was tough; not knowing where the
top was meant you just had to find your rhythm. My team-mate Catherine [Cheatley]
set a really nice tempo and we knew we had Leigh [Hobson] in the
front group. We felt content at the hill, the course was challenging after
the hill more than we expected.”
it difficult to start the chase given you had a team mate in the break?
“It definitely was, we felt that both Judith [Arndt] and
Susanne [Ljungskog] were in good form and had a quicker finish
right now and so I thought that our best chance was in a field finish,
despite Wood and Teutenberg being there our odds were better. You have to
make those choices and other decisions on the road and be confident to see
them through. It either works or it doesn’t.
is the first time Cheerwine have started their season in the southern
hemisphere, asked if this was a long term plan, Gilder added “We
knew back in October when the team was forming that our sponsor wanted us
to come. Amber Lake from Cheerwine, wanted to send a team down and she got
feedback from the riders who wanted to come. None of us except Catherine [who
is from New Zealand] had ridden in Australia or New Zealand before and
it gave us time to prepare, not only mentally but physically. We didn’t
know what was in store but we thought it would be a great experience. With
world class riders here we wanted to see how we were doing, I think we are
holding our own, that’s what we came to do, to be part of the racing,
it’s been fun for us. We are excited to be here, it’s a wonderful
Loës Markerink (Team Flexpoint), finished third today and was pleased with placing, “I am very pleased, it was hard to keep pace, T-Mobile were driving really hard and fast and it was hard to get out of the wheels, but it was good.”
Joanne Kiesanowski (Trust House /Raleigh) managed to secure second in the sprint and reflected on this. “It was really tough to get round Oenone, I was just stuck on her wheel and I could not get round, she was just too strong in the finish, second is ok.” Asked is she was happy with her performance so early in the season, she added, “Yes, I planned to start the season much slower this year as the season is so long. But is seems like I have some good form already.”
New Zealand Tour gives local riders a great opportunity to ride against a
top quality field, asked if she thought this was positive for cycling in
New Zealand, Kiesanowski added “This is really cool, it’s great
for all riders to have the opportunity to ride against a quality field.”
Ryan (Australian National Team) had a successful day, taking
the lead in the mountains competition. “It’s not something I was
really planning on today. I just happened to be in the right place. I got
in the break and it would have been nice to finish in the break. Cheerwine
worked hard to bring back the break and I am not a sprinter.”
With 10km to go, did you think there was a chance you could stay away? “There
was certainly some thought in the bunch but not everyone wanted to work,
so it makes it hard.”
Nikki Egyed (AIS) managed to secure the sprinters jersey after stage 2, she reflected on her team’s race. “I am really pleased for Lorian Graham today; she spent most of the race in the break. Candice [Sullivan] and I tried to get Jenny [Macpherson] up in the sprint and we nearly did it. We are a new group of riders together and we are still learning about getting it right. We are learning a lot about working in a team, we have been getting someone in a break and that’s great for the team.”
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