Geelong UCI World Cup & Geelong Tour
UCI World Cup 2007
Portarlington circuit race, 30 laps
The riders were keen to get going on this stage. They were all lined up and ready to go a full five minutes before the official start time. Usually, a few riders will drift into the start area in the final minutes prior to a stage start, not on this stage!
The race split very quickly, with a small group off the front with only a few laps covered. There were two intermediate sprints, at one-third and two-thirds race distance; which meant that those with eyes on the race lead ensured that the escapees were back in the bunch before the first sprint took place. Nicole Cooke (Raleigh) took the first sprint, ahead of Oenone Wood (T-Mobile). The second sprint saw a reversal of the pair, with Wood taking the advantage over Cooke. This meant that taking the General Classification from Bausch, who started five seconds ahead, was out of grasp for Cooke unless she was able to gain finishing line bonus seconds.
As the race neared the finale, the Raleigh Lifeforce Creation team and T-Mobile were evident at the front of the bunch, maintaining the pace and preventing any breakaways. Sara Duester, Priska Doppmann (both Raleigh) and Alexis Rhodes (T-Mobile) pulled long turns up the finishing straight hill in the closing laps. Jo Kiesanowski led Nicole Cooke over the line with a lap to go. Also evident just behind the pair were T-Mobile's sprinters, Teutenberg and Wood, tucked in close to team-mate, Judith Arndt. A sign of things to come, perhaps, Rochelle Gilmore, now riding for Menikini after several seasons with Team Safi, was just behind the teams, on her own.
The sprint unleashed after the final corner. Cooke ran out of wheels to follow to keep out of the wind and decided to go on her own. She didn't have the legs for the win, but third (and a four second bonus) were enough to take the race lead. Rochelle Gilmore proved that her off-season illness which saw her hospitalised in December has not slowed her, but it was Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile), who showed the form gained from the past four months preparing for 2007 in Sydney's warm climate, with an emphatic win with at least a bike's length back to Gilmore providing time for a victory salute.
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg - "I think itís always the same here because everybody wants to get a front position, to make sure they donít get gapped off and they keep the speed high - the faster the safer, itís great," she commented about the pace of the race around the kilometre circuit. "That hill doesn't really look like anything, but in the last couple of laps when people attack it really hurts because you've had to do it so many times. Its a nice criterium, its safe, its fun," she reflected.
Turning her thoughts to the finish, Teutenberg described the sprint "I had a perfect position and then Nicole (Cooke) kind of ran out of people to lead her out and I think she probably thought if I keep it fast they wonít swarm me and maybe I might have a gap on the finish straight," she explained. "I had a perfect position coming third into the (last corner but I was worried about Rochelle Gilmore because I knew she was on my wheel and last year she nipped us at the line here, so I knew I was waiting for her to come but luckily she didnít."
Results - Top 3
1 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (TMP)
2 Rochelle Gilmore (MGT)
3 Nicole Cooke (RLR)
General Classification Top 3
1 Nicole Cooke (TMP)
2 Dotsie Bausch (COL) @ 2 seconds
3 Larrissa Kleinmann (GER) @ 5 seconds
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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