Australian National Road Championships 2009
Buninyong, 102km (10 laps of a circuit)
Women’s Road Race was in run under contrasting conditions compared to
the time trial earlier in the week. It was hot and the riders had a slight
breeze for most of the today. It wasn’t until
the later part of the race that the winds picked up a little but it
remained warm. The race time was 3 hours 3 minutes 37 Seconds in an
average of 33.33km/hr. this years race had an international feel, with
Olympic and World Bronze medalist, Judith Arndt (Team Columbia Women) who
is in Australia preparing for the 2009 season, Sharon Laws (GBR) was part
of the successful British team at the Olympics, Rachel Heal (GBR) also
training in Australia to prepare for her professional season in the US.
Two Americans professioanls also took part: Kate Ross and Jane Despas.
only 8km of racing covered, Rachel Heal (GRB) attacked and managed to get
a 15 second gap on the bunch. She did not last long however, by time she
reached the top of the climb for the second time the bunch were all
26km of racing the bunch had split with the main field down to
approximately 45 riders out of the 69 starters. On the fourth time up the
climb, Rebecca Locke (VIC) attacked and gained an 18 second advantage.
Kirsty Broun (QLD/MB Cycles) drove the front of the bunch to close the gap
and Locke was back in the bunch. The speed of Broun split the bunch again
and 20 riders remained at the head of the race. This group split at the
head and five riders cleared the front of the bunch. This group included
Rebecca Locke (VIC), Tiffany Cromwell (SA), Ruth Corset (QLD), Kirsty
Broun (QLD) Alexis Rhodes (SA/Webcor). They did not last long however as
the bunch closed up again. The front group slowed and allowed the chasers
to come back and a group of 42 riders formed.
attack from Butterfield split the bunch and a group of 18 riders formed.
This was the decisive move of the race and included a number of riders but
notably; Butterfield, Cromwell, Rhodes, Whitelaw, Broun, Ryan, Sarah Kent
(WA), Rachel Neylan (SA) and Judith Arndt. Ryan tried to attack the group.
A lead group formed and on the decent of the Mt Buninyong,
three laps to go
the bell, the leaders were 38 seconds ahead of the chase group of 18
riders led across the line by Cromwell. The front group slowed a little
allowing the chase group to make touch. Ryan, sensing the danger
immediately counter attacked and opened up a lead of 250m exceptionally
fast. Using he time trialing skills, Ryan increased her tempo and by the
top of the climb she had a 45 second advantage. At the front of the
chasers, the original break reformed and Whitelaw, Laws, Butterfield and
Corset created a gap on the remaining peloton.
1km to go Ryan held a 40 second lead and she carried this to the finish.
The four chasers opened up the sprint 300m from the line and it was Ruth
Corset who crossed first ahead of Nikki Butterfield. Kirsty Broun won the
bunch sprint 1 minute 24 seconds behind Ryan.
Ryan (Cervelo Test Team) was over the moon to win the title and
complete the double. “I
had a great day out there today. I had to conserve a bit out there it was
a long hard race and that hill doesn’t get any easier. Everyone is in
the same boat I guess, it got tiring with each lap but I just got
stronger. It worked to my advantage in the end” said Ryan. When
asked if she was concerned about the attack from Alexis Rhodes, Ryan said,
“I knew that could be a threat. I know she is strong, she had a
phenomenal time trial, to be within half a second to beating me, I knew
that it was a possibility if she got away that she could win. I thought
that it was a bit early to attack, I just had to be patient and wait a
little longer.” Ryan
attacked the bunch on the final hill and talked through the final stages
of the race. ”I actually attacked on the second last lap, I could see that the
girls were tiring so I got a little bit of a gap when I did that, but then
they got back on. As the second group were catching us on the last lap I
knew I had to go otherwise I would have to beat them in a sprint. So I
just kept going and didn’t look back. I am so happy. I have never won a
road race, so to win Nationals and now take both jerseys to
the media interviews Ryan added “I
was a bit nervous going into today, I didn’t know what to expect,”
said Ryan. “Today
I felt really strong and the other girls were tiring and I had to make my
move and back myself really. “When I (first) attacked, they came back ,
(but) I felt confident and strong that I could have another go on the next
lap,” said Ryan,
“I knew I was riding strong from the time trial.”
created the early break and was strong all day. Despite not being at her
fittest due to taking time out to get married in late 2008, Butterfield,
the silver medallist two years ago, also contested the women’s road race
in 2008 World championships in Varese, Italy last September. “I
think, I rode better in the worlds in
Whitelaw (ACT) was one of the pre-race
favourites and was disappointed with her week. After having a puncture in
the Time Trial, Whitelaw could not match the pace of Ryan and Corset and
Butterfield in the sprint. “When Carla went away I had to
re-think my race plan and four other strong girls were racing for second.
We worked awesome together, that was the pact and then it was ok, down to
the sprint line it was all up from there. I just can’t seem to get to
the podium, I have not had much look this week” said Whitelaw.
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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