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Australian National Road Championships 2008


WCN quicklink >>  Wood regains RR title     O'Donnell wins time trial    Broun takes criterium title     Criterium Preview   

                             Full road race results      Full time trial results




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Road Race

Buninyong, 102km (10 laps of a circuit)

Race Writeup

Oenone Wood regained the Australian Road Race title in Buninyong today. She last pulled on the Champion's in 2004. The Canberran, who rides for Team High Road sprinted to victory in front of relative unknown, Sharon Laws, who was competing in her 8th ever road race.

A 90 strong field of women rolled out from Buninyong and immediately a break of four emerged. The group included the newly crowned U23 Time Trial Champion Amanda Spratt, Myra Moller (NSW), Ruth Corsett (QLD) and Sasha Griffiths (QLD). The group managed to extend their lead out to 2 minutes 32 seconds ahead of the peloton until Lorian Graham (Vrienden van het Platteland) attacked on the climb half way through lap 5, splintering the bunch.  

Graham’s attack created a group of riders including Wood, Carla Ryan (QLD), Vikki Whitelaw (ACT), Carrigan (QLD), Tiffany Cromwell (SA), Laws (VIC) and Carlee Taylor (SA). The group quickly gained ground of the leaders and left the remaining riders to regroup and for a chase.

The leading four riders split on the decent of fifth time over the climb as Spratt and Corset put on the pace, the other two were swallowed up by the Graham bunch on the decent.

By the time the bunch passed the start/finish line with 3 laps to go they had caught Spratt and Corsett and whittled the group down to seven riders. Victims of the increase in pace were Cromwell, Corset and Spratt. They tried hard to hold on the group and were just a few meters behind.

With two to go Ryan (QLD) attacked with Taylor (SA) and the pair managed a small gap. It was Whitelaw who worked hard to close the gap and bring the group back together. At the climb the lead groups of riders were riding well and were managing to hold a gap of 43 seconds to what was left of the chasing peloton that included Katie Mactier (VIC) the 2007 Road Race Champion, team mate of Wood, Alexis Rhodes, Emma Rickards (JaycoVIS), Kathy Watt (VIC), Bridie O’Donnell (JaycoVIS) and Jocelyn Loane (QLD).

At the bell Sharon Laws (VIC) launched a solo attack Wood was able to go with her. The pair worked hard together to secure first and second. Sara Carrigan (QLD) just managed to hang on for third.

The U23 competition was won by Carlee Taylor (SA) ahead of Tiffany Cromwell (SA) and Grace Sulzberger (VIC).

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Post Race Comments

Oenone Wood (Team HighRoad) was very pleased with her win. “This is unreal” said Wood. “I was helped so much by Vikki Whitelaw from Canberra and my team mate Alexis Rhodes. I felt good and I knew I had good legs, I just had to be patient” said Wood. “I was keeping an eye on the Queenslanders Lorian [Graham] and Sara [Carrigan] but I just knew I had to go with any breaks on the last climb. Sharon [Laws] and I worked together so well that by the time we looked around, the group was not in sight,” said Wood. Wood paid tribute to her rival Laws, “Sharon had an incredible and really impressive ride. I am amazed at the quality of the field today, I mean there is just a whole generation of young riders now who are exceptionally talented and it’s unreal for Australian women’s cycling that there are so many girls chomping a the bit to take our places,” added Wood. “It was definitely quality not quantity out there today, there are girls I have never raced against who are getting on the podium, so we all have to be on the top of our game,” said Wood.

Wood discussed the support she had from fellow ACT rider, Whitelaw. “Vickie [Whitelaw] rode an incredible race today; she did everything she needed to do to help me to get the win today. It wasn’t just my win, she put in so much work today she really had an impressive ride,” said Wood.

Wood was asked how difficult it will be for selectors to choose a team for Beijing given the talent on show today. “At the moment quite difficult, there at least half a dozen women with their hands up and the those early season World Cups will make it tough to decide who goes,” added Wood.

Wood is riding the Australian National Mountainbike Championships soon, just for fun. Giant, her Team High Road sponsor, has provided a new bike for her to ride. She was wearing a lucky charm on her helmet today and was asked where it had come from and if she felt it had worked. “My cousin in Holland gave me a lucky charm and I don’t normally use lucky charms but if someone gives you a lucky charm it is unlucky if you don’t use it. I did not wear it at the time trial this week and I had a big mishap so I learnt my lesson and put it back on.”   

Sharon Laws (VIC) is little known and was racing in only her eighth road race. She led Wood into the final stretch for home but Wood’s experience saw her counter the challenge. “I can’t believe it, I am just stoked,” said an overwhelmed Laws as the realisation that she had just beaten the current Olympic Champion began to sink in.  

The Kenyan-born cyclist, who has based herself in Melbourne, landed in Australia a little over a year ago. She spends most of her time 'on the road' in her role as an Environmental Advisor for a mining company. This has meant that she could only compete in a handful of races within the year. Her decision to race Nationals was only made after she won the Tour of Bright (VIC) last month. “I love tours and love hills so after the Tour of Bright, I had some time off work in December and came here and did some work up these hills, “ said Laws. “So I think now I might go away and re-adjust my work situation.

 Whilst most of her opponents knew little about her, the list of competitor initials and race numbers written in pen down her arm revealed she also knew little about them. “I had never ridden with such large bunches or with any of these girls before, so I had no yardstick,” explained Laws. “I knew all their names but I didn’t know any faces. I tried to look at some pictures, but couldn’t learn them all, so I had to writes them down my arm. As you can see I knew no one as I ran out of room," added Laws.

Sara Carrigan (QLD) was happy to be on the podium for the second time after placing third in the time trial earlier in the week. “I made a few attacks to test the other riders out but the girls were right on to it,” said Carrigan. “When Sharon [Laws] and Oenone [Wood] went, I tried to follow, but I couldn’t get back on.”

Carlee Taylor (SAIS) was very happy to have won the U23 competition. When Amanda Spratt attacked she thought her chance of winning the title had gone but the break was caught and Taylor has a chance as Spratt could not hold on. “It is my first National title so I am very pleased with it,” said Taylor. “It’s not often we get SA first and second either,” referring to the second place of team mate Tiffany Cromwell.

Lorian Graham (QLD) tried hard to make a break and force a change in direction of the race from a bunch sprint to a break. “I did not want the race to be the way the race was last year. It had been quite negative until that point and I wanted to tune it into a positive race. My training has been going really well and I have 12 months under me now. This race doesn’t compare to my first race back last year but I was determined to give it a go and I feel I did. I certainly had tired a few legs out there on the fifth lap and got the field down to nice number of 10 riders. We had a lot of Queenslanders there on the day and all credit to Oenone [Wood] she rode a great race,” said Graham. 

Graham has her sights set on Beijing and joining her new team in Europe Vrienden van het Platteland. “It is Beijing or nothing, I am looking down the barrel of that and last year went above my expectations so I am hoping that this year will too. I knew that if I made the World Championships last year that I had recovered and now I am following my Olympic dream,” added Graham.

Alexis Rhodes (Team High Road) rode a solid race for her team mate and was very happy with the result. “For me the race was great today, Oenone [Wood] won it today by herself, she was really strong today. I am happy with my form and have had a great week with my third place in the time trial this week too,” said Rhodes.

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Results - Top 10   Full RR results, click here

Position Rider State Time Gap
1 WOOD Oenone ACT 3:05:13
2 LAWS Sharon VIC 3:05:15 0:00:02
3 CARRIGAN Sara QLD 3:05:38 0:00:25
4 CORSET Ruth QLD 3:06:04 0:00:51
5 WHITELAW Vicki ACT 3:06:04 "
6 GRAHAM Lorian QLD 3:06:04 "
7 U23 TAYLOR Carlee SA 3:06:04 "
8 RYAN Carla QLD 3:06:04 "
9 U23 CROMWELL Tiffany SA 3:06:13 0:01:00
10 BATES Natalie NSW 3:08:24 0:03:11

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>


WRR_9181 WRR_9183 WRR_9189 WRR_9191 WRR_9202
WRR_9210 WRR_9211 WRR_9216 WRR_9217 WRR_9219
WRR_9233 WRR_9234 WRR_9244 WRR_9245 WRR_9251
WRR_9266 WRR_9269 WRR_9273 WRR_9290 WRR_9291
WRR_9296 WRR_9314 WRR_9318 WRR_9324 WRR_9335
WRR_9340 WRR_9343 WRR_9344 WRR_9357 WRR_9366
WRR_9379 WRR_9393 WRR_9396 WRR_9406 WRR_9409
WRR_9433 WRR_9453 WRR_9459 WRR_9472 WRR_9481
WRR_9490 WRR_9497 WRR_9503 WRR_9512  

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