Herald Sun Tour 2009
Honda Hybrid Women's Tour
Stage 3 - Rochelle Gilmore clinches final stage victory in the Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour, Whitelaw wins overall.
Carlton, Melbourne, 45 minutes
Gilmore, HP Pinarello, won the final stage in the Honda Hybrid Women’s
Tour, in a classic Gilmore tough final sprint to the line, ahead of Kirsty
Broun, MB cycles and Davina Summers, Cycle City/Felt.
high speed Criterium around the Melbourne city streets, was exactly, what
Gilmore had wanted for the final stage, to cement her own and her team’s
position as the leading women in the tour. Gilmore herself has won two
stages, Vicki Whitelaw secured the overall and Lauren Kitchen the U19
pace was on right from the whistle. With 73 riders still remaining in the
tour, the tight corners of the ‘T’ shaped course, meant that bike
handling and positioning were key in the final stages.
2.2km circuit tested the riders immediately, with an attack on the back of
the course, led by Jessie Maclean, Cycle City/Felt. This attack strung the
bunch out for 500m and the less experienced riders had to fight to stay in
touch. With speeds reaching 65km/hr the top riders needed to ensure they
were well placed at the front to keep in touch also.
only 5 minutes of racing gone, Chloe McConville, RACE, attacked.
She held the field at 100m for a full lap, before Vicki Whitelaw, HP
Pinarello, took control of the chase and closed the gap.
McConville was caught by Whitelaw, another attack was immediately launched
by Zoe Appel, SASI/QAS/NTID. She put her head down and gave it her all,
gaining a maximum 14 second advantage before team MB Cycles took control of
the chase just ahead of the first intermediate sprint.
Cycles pace as they set up Kirsty Broun for the sprint was brutal and
splintered the bunch down to 43 riders. At the sprint Broun was the clear
winner ahead of Kitchen and Whitelaw.
40 minutes of racing, the leading bunch had reduced to 38, being controlled
at the front by MB Cycles and HP Pinarello, as they approached the second of
the intermediate sprints. Again, it was Broun, who crossed the line first,
ahead of Nicole Whiteburn, Prime estate Buyers Agents, and Whitelaw.
The leaders were covering the course in 3 minutes 33 seconds by the
time the three laps to go sign was shown.
46.31 minutes of racing, everything rested on position and final place in
the sprint to determine the overall leader in the tour. Amber Halliday, MB
Cycles, had started the final stage just 4 seconds down on Whitelaw. With
important extra seconds gained by Whitelaw in the sprints, Halliday needed
to finish second on the stage to take the overall from Whitelaw.
As the sprint opened up 500m out, it was Gilmore who got the better of Broun, Halliday missed out on any extra seconds, finishing 5th.
Whitelaw, (HP Pinarello), could not have been happier with her own
and the team’s performance, gaining overall in the tour, “We did
not plan to win all of the jerseys, but to come away with two is really
Halliday, (MB Cycles) is new to cycling and is enjoying every minute,
“I am learning fast about race tactics, I tried to position myself for
the first sprint. Bearing in mind I am not a sprinter. I was on Rochelle
[Gilmore’s] wheel and she looked back and saw me there and blocked me. I
am learning every day. They tell me cycling is a game of chess on wheels.”
Halliday was so pleased with how the tour had gone. “Second is like
fourth, where you just miss out, i have had quite a few fourths lately so I
am pretty happy with second to someone like Vicki Whitelaw.”.
wanted to make sure the sponsors knew how much the riders appreciated them, “In
rowing things are pretty balanced and I was surprised when I started cycling
how unequal things are. It is companies like Honda coming on board that
Light (NTID) was very happy with her performance this week. "I
tried so hard today. The team did a great job for me too. They ensured I was
up towards the front all the time. It has been a great experience,"
Kirsty Broun (MB Cycles) was disappointed not to win the final sprint, “I thought I had it, but Rochelle [Gilmore] moved across and I had to ease up, after two other sprints was a bit of an ask for me, I could not kick again. I came into this event with not too much expectation, MB Cycles asked us to try to take the overall in the end we could not get Amber into the lead. Vicki Whitelaw is a cunning rider and she watched Amber like a hawk. We secured the sprinters jersey so we are very pleased.”
Broun added, "Marcel runs a tight ship and we have a great team, I love racing for this team and I am very grateful of the opportunity Marcel gives us."
Bengtson (Team Manager MB Cycles) could not have been happier with
his team's performance, "The number one reason the team is here in
Melbourne is to support the Honda Hybrid Tour, this is because we have to
keep Australian women's racing alive," said Bengtson.
Gilmore (HP Cycles) was very happy as the team celebrated their win, “That
last stage was unbelievable, we had our work cut out. We were going for
three things, the leaders jersey, the young riders and the stage. We only
had three riders and MB Cycles more. They were fighting for the Sprint
jersey and the stage two with Amber Halliday so we
are pretty please we came off with our objectives.” Team work was
key for the team today, “If Amber [Halliday] moved we had to cover
it for Vicki, if Kirsty Broun moved Vicki had to cover it for me,” added
Kitchen (HP Pinarello) at only 18 years of age; showed she is a
talent of the future. She worked hard all tour to protect the Honda Hybrid
lead jersey and deserved to win the overall in the U19 competition. Kitchen
was very happy as she crossed the line, “It was a really great final
stage. It is always good to have a tough criterium circuit where it is just
flat out the whole way. It makes sure the toughest girls are there at the
finish. It was a real race of strength and tactics.”
Mark Higgins, (PR Manager, Honda Australia) was so pleased with the way the tour has gone for them, “We have been totally blown away by the Tour, the riders and the conditions they have ridden in and the professionalism of the organisation. It has been an outstanding event for Honda. To have all of these people in Lygon St today, I have never seen so many people here. There has to be 25 thousand people here today. It just shows you positive people are towards cycling, what a great sport it is and mode of transport. That is what Honda is all about. We are very, very pleased with our first involvement in the sport and I am sure you will see a lot more of Honda involved in women’s cycling in the future.”
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