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Bay Series 2008


Geelong Area, Jan 2-6


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Race 3

Ritchie Boulevard, 45 minutes plus 3 laps

Race Writeup

The third day of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic was run around the fast hot dog circuit on the Geelong foreshore. The searing afternoon heat with temperatures around 35 degrees and the fast pace made the event a leg sapping one. Despite the conditions the women’s field provide the highlight of the nights entertainment, with the race being won by Megan Dunn (CBD/NSWIS), who at 16 is the youngest ever winner of the race and the youngest holder of the yellow jersey. 

The pace of the race was fast and furious and attack after attack from the top teams ensured that the race was quickly left to the top 25 or so riders. The yellow jersey holder Alexis Rhodes and her team mates Kate Bates, Amanda Spratt, Tess Downing and Josephine Tomic were forced to chase each attack and any attempt by a Pitcher Partners rider to get away was marked by the other riders in the bunch.

Rhodes, who has won this particular race for the last two years, tried on many occasions to get away but she was covered by the team of Emma Rickards, Jayco/VIS, Oenone Wood, Geelong Mazda and Sara Carrigan, Rapido Cycles. It was the NSWIS/Degani Café rider Olivia Gollan who created the first serious attack with just 8 minutes of the race completed and she took Wood with her. Bates moved to the front to chase the break and was helped by Carrigan.

The youngster, Lauren Kitchen, (NSWIS/Degani Café) who started the day in the sprinters jersey took advantage of the slight drop in speed as the escapees were caught. The peloton were just past the start/finish line and the start the sprint lap when Kitchen went and she maintained her speed to the line to secure another 3 points. Peta Mullens (Jayco/VIS) who had gone with Kitchen when she made her move managed to hold on for second and 2 points and Gollan secured third. Mullens did not stop however as the pace eased after the first sprint points, she counter attacked forcing the bunch to respond quickly.

With 28 minutes left to race this counter attack from Mullens and the reacting chase blew the field apart. There were only 27 women left in the race including all of the top riders. Jenny Macpherson (Rapido Cycles) worked hard on the front to bring Mullens back and as the paced eased slightly Carrigan attacked and the only rider to match her speed was Helen Kelly (Jayco/VIS). The pair only managed a small gap as they were brought back by Spratt (Pitcher Partners). Spratt maintained her speed and counter attacked. This time it was Rickards (Jayco/VIS) who reacted, she was however marked by Carrigan. With 23 minutes to go Kelly attacked and managed to gain a 15 m gap before Emma Mackie (Swanston Hotel/Grand Mercure) used her power on the front of the peloton to bring her back.

Macpherson crashed on the top corner and the reduction in speed allowed Wood to attack and gain a small advantage of 5 seconds. The pace of Wood again split the peloton as Rhodes was forced to chase her down. Emma Coulson (CBD/NSWIS) moved to the front with Rickards and Dunn to join the chase and again managed to decrease the size of the bunch to 22 riders.

With 18 minutes remaining it was Carrigan who attacked again but the young Kitchen responded with Wood. Wood counter attacked but could not hold off Kitchen as they approached the line for the second of the sprint points. Kitchen took the top points with Carrigan and Wood taking the remaining places.

Tiffany Cromwell (Richmond Cyclery/Promains) and Rhodes worked hard for their teams on the front and closed the gap to the leaders. As soon as the catch was made, Rhodes attacked again, this time taking , Belinda Goss (Volvo), Leonie Burford (NSWIS/Degani Café), Bates (Pitcher Partners), Cromwell and Mullens with her. Cromwell tried to counter attack but could not hold her speed.

With 10 minutes remaining Rhodes attacked again, this time Rickards went with her and Bates stayed on her wheel. Bates moved to the front and attacked, Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Geelong Mazda) went with her, Jessica Berry (Jayco/VIS) and Lauren Kitchen followed the move.

As the bunch came back together Burford attacked and managed to gain a 10m gap on the field. It was the Jayco/VIS team who chased her down this time closely marked by Rhodes and Goss.

With 5 minutes to go Burford attacked again, this time managing to gain a 20m gap on the field. It was left to the Olympic champion Carrigan to chase her down with Rhodes and Coulson provided support. They pulled her in and did not have time to take a breath before Wood again attacked on the back straight. This time it was Bates who had to close the gap and with 4 laps to go the bunch was finally together. At 2 to go Wood crashed on the bottom corner ending any hopes of a win.

At the bell the remaining peloton cornered at the top end of the course for the last time but the action did not stop. Dunn launched an attack and quickly gained a 15m gap on the field. She managed to hold the lead taking the Yellow jersey off the shoulders of Rhodes and the Pitcher Partners team and forced the bunch to sprint for second. Goss secured second and Cliff-Ryan third.

The sprinters jersey stayed with Lauren Kitchen.

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Post Race Comments

Megan Dunn (CBD/NSWIS) is a rider to watch over the next few years. She was not intimidated by the professional riders, Olympic and World Champions around her and dominated the sprint for the finish. During an interview with Matt Keenan the commentator, Dunn said “I tried my hardest, I race every race to win and this is what I came here for. I was a little intimidated at the first race but you have to go into the race just treating them like any other rider otherwise you just let it go to your head and think that your can’t beat them because they are a World Champion. I tried my hardest in the last 5 laps, I had to dig deep and just hang in there and try not to let anyone get away” said Dunn.  At the media interview Dunn added “ At 5 to go I had nothing to lose, I knew I didn’t have the legs to sprint so I saw the opportunity to break away so I took it. I came into this event just to gain experience. I didn’t have a reputation to defend, I just took the opportunity and it worked out for me.”

Dunn suffered a damaged knee while rollerblading and was forced off her bike for 10 weeks after under going a knee reconstruction. “I got out of the cast in September and having 10 weeks off the bike you just want to get back on the bike and just ride. I think it made me stronger as a bike rider” added Dunn.

Lauren Kitchen (NSWIS/Degani Café) maintained her lead in the sprint competition with a dominating display of sprinting. At 17 she is showing real class and will be hard to beat over the next two days. “It was a very tough race out there today and the women made it difficult for me. I just managed to get over the top in the first sprint but it would not have been possible without the support of my team mates” said Kitchen

Alexis Rhodes (Pitcher Partners) worked so hard to defend the jersey but could not managed to hold on to it. “It was hard out there today” said Rhodes. “Megan Dunn did everything right today and she is the deserved wearer of the yellow jersey. It is tough to give it up but I am happy to give it to such a deserved person. It is going to be tough to get it back as she [Dunn] has such a big gap on us. I probably chased too many times but when it is 2 to go it is do or die so you have to try.”

Rhodes has moved under the coaching eye of (German, ex-Olympic Champion) Petra Rosner and feels she is “in the best form of my life at this stage of the season and Petra is the best coach I have ever had. It is still early days and there is still a lot more for me to improve on but it great at the moment. I am looking forward to Nationals next week” 

Kate Bates (Pitcher Partners) reflected on the young talent showing form at the Bay Criteriums. “Bay Criteriums is always an unpredictable race. We are all so marked, every rider in our team which is a really good thing in one way but really frustrating in another. Our biggest priority is to go out there and fly the flag for Pitcher Partners and make them proud of what we are trying to achieve. The next two days will be interesting, I am the sprinter but I think we have a real chance with Alex so we will have to come up with some interesting tactics” said Bates.

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Results - Top 10 

Position Name Team Points
1 Megan Dunn CBD/NSWIS 12
2 Belinda Goss Volvo 10
3 Theresa Cliff-Ryan Geelong Mazda 8
4 Leonie Burford NSWIS/Degani Café 7
5 Alexis Rhodes Pitcher Partners 6
6 Emma Mackie Swanston Hotel 5
7 Kate Bates Pitcher Partners 4
8 Gina Grain Volvo 3
9 Tiffany Cromwell Richmond Cyclery/Promains 2
10 Sara Carrigan Rapido Cycles 1


Position Name Team Points
1 Lauren Kitchen NSWIS/Degani Café 11
2 Olivia Gollan NSWIS/Degani Café 6
3 Peta Mullens Jayco/VIS 6

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General Classification Top 10 

Position Name Team Points
1 Megan Dunn CBD/NSWIS 27
2 Belinda Goss Volvo 22
3 Alexis Rhodes Pitcher Partners 22
4 Kate Bates Pitcher Partners 14
5 Lauren Kitchen NSWIS/Degani Café 12
6 Oenone Wood Geelong Mazda 11
7 Josephine Tomic Pitcher Partners 8
8 Theresa Cliff-Ryan Geelong Mazda 8
9 Leonie Burford NSWIS/Degani Café 7
10 Emma Rickards Jayco/VIS 6
11 Jenny Macpherson Rapido Cycles 6
12 Gina Grain Volvo 6
13 Dellys Starr 5
14 Jessie McLean Geelong Mazda 5
15 Emma Mackie Swanston Hotel 5
16 Peta Mullins Jayco/VIS 4
17 Olivia Gollan NSWIS/Degani Café 2
18 Tiffany Cromwell Richmond Cyclery/Promains 2
19 Sara Carrigan Rapido Cycles 1

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>


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