Australian National Road Championships 2011
Lauren Kitchen, wins her first major title with a stunning half race attack
Ballarat City, 33km
Lauren Kitchen (Jayco AIS) broke away with Joanne Hogan (Jayco VIS) with 17 km of the race remaining to sweep the Australian Criterium titles. Hogan (Jayco VIS), the 2010 Victorian time trial and road race champion, was the instigator of the break and just missed out on gold, unable to hold Kitchen off in the sprint. Bronze medal went to Chloe Hosking (HTC Highroad) who had attacked from the chasing bunch with one lap to go.
Kitchen, still an U23 was also awarded the gold medal in that category as there is no international category for the women.
Fresh from the Jayco Bay Criteriums victory, a number of the riders expected the Honda team of Rochelle Gilmore, Tiffany Cromwell, Megan Dunn, Meissa Hoskins and Peta Mullens to dominate the race. However, like 2010, a break at the half way stage of the race spoilt the race for Honda team and the traditional sprinters like Rochelle Gilmore.
Hogan was in all of the moves to try to get away in the early part of the race but the Honda riders Mullens, Cromwell and Dunn sacrificed themselves to close the gap. In the end though a group of six riders created a break and from that group Kitchen and Hogan broke away.
The pair quickly gained momentum and managed to gain a maximum advantage of 18 seconds before the chase bunch of 25 riders managed to get themselves organised. Carla Ryan (Garmin Cervelo), Katherine O'Shea (Dirt Riders), Rowena Fry (NSW), Liz Georgouras and Emma Mackie (Virgin Blue) tried to speed the bunch up as did Dunn, Cromwell and Mullens. They managed to get within 7 seconds of the leaders or 100m before they group lost momentum again. Ryan and O'Shea managed to keep going with the chase but could not catch the leaders. With 6 laps of the race remaining the Honda team were spent as were Mackie and Fry and Ryan.
The gap to the leader went out and at the bell Kitchen and Hogan had 31 seconds lead. O'Shea looked like she was going to ride for the bronze before an attack from the bunch from Chloe Hosking (HTC Highroad) closed the gap. By the time Hosking had reached the corner, she had a 10m lead over O'Shea. O'Shea was swamped by the chase in the last 500m.
The U23 top three after Kitchen and Hosking was taken by the young Victorian Kendelle Hodges (Jayco VIS).
Lauren Kitchen (Jayco AIS) was overjoyed to win her first National title. "Well it is amazing, I really can't believe that I won. We came here with just three riders and we were determined to to out there and attack like last year and take it to Honda and the other sprinters again. I just cant believe it. Joanne [Hogan] started the attack and I went with her. We worked really well together," said Kitchen.
"We went into the race looking to be really aggressive, Amanda Spratt, Carly Light the defending champion and I and we did that today. We had our coaches yelling and pulled it off. I still can't believe it, it is such a fantastic start to the season."
Asked if she knew she could win the sprint, Kitchen added, "Jo had been doing equal work with me to drive the break Joanne and I have been sprint training together and I knew she was quite fast. I had to be a little cautious and position myself really well. I had been thinking about the where the wind was in the last few laps rather than thinking about the crowd. It was pretty cool out there and I just put my head down and went for it."
Lauren is currently studying a Bachelor of Planning at the University of NSW in Sydney
Joanne Hogan (Jayco VIS) felt good this morning and was one of the most active riders during the race. "I knew I was going to have a good race, but coming second is way more than I could have expected. I am really looking forward to the road race as that was my main focus. To come her and get a medal is great," said Hogan.
Chloe Hosking (HTC Highroad) was a little disappointed to not win gold Hard to do with out having a team. The way I got third I am happy with that. It is difficult to try something different but I did that today when I chased back.
Kendelle Hodges (Jayco VIS) was very happy with her bronze medal in the U23 race, "I am glad that is over, towards the end there were a lot of moves going which made it really tough to keep in the race. But bronze is good," said Hodges.
Carla Ryan (Garmin Cervelo) is normally focussed on the road race but decided to ride the criterium this year, "I have to leave for training camp with my team on Saturday after the road race so I decided to give the legs a hit out today. I enjoyed that. I never expected to do anything but it was good to give it a go," said Ryan.
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/01_AusNatRoadChamps/Criterium/PhotoIndex.html]
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