Geelong UCI World Cup & Geelong Tour
UCI World Cup 2007
Barwon Heads, 80km
Nicole Cooke Raleigh Lifeforce) has won the Geelong Tour. With a tribute to the efforts of her team to help her bring the race victory home, she was clearly pleased with her week's work.
Tina Pic (Colavita) won the stage, for a record third time in a row. She was obviously pleased with the win, but disappointed that the team had been unable to assist Dotsie Bausch in reclaiming the overall lead from Cooke. In addition to the stage win, a great bonus for Pic was the fact that every race the team wins in 2007 will see $1000US donated to a breast cancer charity in the USA. Suttor Homes are making the donation and the team's bikes are painted pink in recognition of the undertaking.
Alexis Rhodes finished in the first bunch and managed to take the Young Rider's (U23) competition from Kate Nichols.
The race was an exciting finale to a great week of competition. The race lead 'on the road' transferred from Cooke to Bausch and then back to Cooke due to the pair competing for time bonuses in the intermediate sprints on each lap. Bausch took the lead after the second lap, when she had closed the seven seconds deficit she started the day on Cooke by taking a second and then a first over the line. Bausch's intention to try for the title of Tour winner was halted on the third lap when she was caught behind a crash which split the leading bunch and her chances of any further bonuses.
Cooke could not relax, Larissa Kleinmann (who started the day 8 seconds behind) went for the bonus on third lap. Her speed was covered by Cooke with a second place, which reduced the seconds conceded to the German. Meanwhile, the pressure on Cooke and her Raleigh Lifeforce Creation team-mates continued as the T-Mobile train had swung into action to chase the overall victory for themselves. They had plenty of options with Arndt, Teutenberg and Wood all within 22 seconds of Cooke at the start of the day (although this gap had extended with Cooke's early race bonuses). The whole team were together to drive the pace as they tried to hurt Cooke with a blast of speed. Cooke and her team-mates reacted and stopped the magenta train temporarily, before having to react again with just a few kilometres to travel when Oenone Wood tried to spoil the party with a breakaway with Michelle Hyland. The Raleigh team brought them back and laid the foundation for Cooke to arrive safely with the bunch, the Tour win 'in the bag'.
With the race split apart, the bunch sprint was smaller than in previous years. The finale created two race records - Tina Pic followed the right wheels and chose to go to the right behind Melissa Holt (NZL) as the Kiwi opened the first and almost the race-winning gap on the sprinting group. She ran out of legs in time for Pic to move left and continue accelerating towards the finishing line which she knows so well. This was her third stage win at Barwon Heads in a row and she is the only rider to have won any stage on the Geelong Tour for three consecutive years. The other record came a few lengths back when Nicole Cooke crossed the line and became the first non-Australian winner of the Geelong Tour.
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg conceded the final sprint competition jersey to Nicole Cooke after the latter's performance during the stage. The T-Mobile team did not leave empty-handed, though. Alexis Rhodes took the Young Rider competition from Kate Nichols (AIS) who had led throughout the Tour.
Nicole Cooke : "There was a lot to keep track of and I don’t know how we did it I’m really struggling to remember the race," recounted Cooke. "Everything happened, between sprints, lead-outs, crashes, windy echelons, chasing, closing gaps, attacks, counters, the finish somewhere in there, I don’t know it was a very busy day.
"This is awesome we’ve started the season, our first UCI race and we’ve won it." commented a relieved Cooke. The Welsh top-ranked woman on the road in 2006 followed a well-rehearsed pattern of preparation in January by returning to Melbourne for 8 weeks of Southern summer training for another year. Asked whether familiarity with the area and such long training stints in Australia helped her to feel at home with the racing, she replied that since her brother has been living and studying in Melbourne for the previous two years and she has some friends located nearby, "I have got some things which make it very nice to be here, it’s not really like being away from home and it's great for training."
1 Tina Pic (Colavita) 1'59"47
2 Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini)
3 Jenny Macpherson (AIS)
4 Nicole Cooke (Raleigh)
5 Kate Bates (T-Mobile)
General Classification Top 10
1 Nicole Cooke (Raleigh Lifeforce) 6'15"46
2. Larissa Kleinmann (GER) @ 10s
3 Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) @ 23s
4 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile) @ 26s
5 Oenone Wood (T-Mobile) @ 28s
6 Susanne Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint) @ 40s
7 Tina Pic (Colavita) @ 46s
8 Vicki Whitelaw (Landlink) @ 47
9 Dotsie Bausch (Colavita) @ 54s
10 Edita Puckinskaite (Nürnberger) @ 56s
Young Rider Competition
1 Alexis Rhodes (T-Mobile)
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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