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Australian National Road Championships 2011


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Road Race - Alexis Rhodes finally wins National road title. 

Buninyong, 102km (10 laps of a circuit)

Race Writeup 

Alexis Rhodes (Garmin-Cervelo) finally won her first road championship title in a close sprint ahead of Carla Ryan (Garmin-Cervelo) and Joanne Hogan (Jayco VIS). 

The temperatures at the start of the race were in the 30's, by the time the race at the half way point, the wind had picked up and the southerly cool change had reached the Buninyong course. 87 riders started the event and within 100m the bunch was down to 86, due to a clash of wheels on the first corner. This was due in part to the eagerness of the riders to get to the climb at the front of the bunch and nervousness in the bunch. Katherine Baker (QLD) was forced to withdraw with a damage derailler. 

As the riders climbed Mount Buninyong for the first time, Carlee Taylor (Tibco) was on the front of the bunch closely followed by Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto Honda) and Delphine Astier (VIC). The rest of the bunch were riding tempo behind. The second time up the climb, Taylor and Whitelaw were on the front again, however this time the bunch were strung out behind. 

With 26km of the race completed, a break had formed with nine riders, Whitelaw started it and Taylor followed with Tiffany Cromwell (Lotto Honda), Kirsty Broun (Virgin Blue), Alex Carle (Jayco AIS), Annabel Luxford (NSW),  Rhodes, Amanda Spratt (Jayco AIS) and Hogan. They group quickly formed an advantage over the chase group led by Ryan. 

With three laps completed, Broun a traditional sprinter, was unable to stay with the lead group as they pushed the pace up the climb and she climbed off in the feed zone. 

The bunch, while not going fast enough to catch the leaders was doing damage, as riders fell back each time they hit the climb. 

By the time the chase group hit the top of the climb for the fourth time, the leaders had 46 seconds and the chasing group were down to 21 riders. 

Amber Halliday (SA) attacked away from the chasing group and tried to bridge across to the leaders. She managed to get within 1 minute 47 seconds but could not get any closer. 

With five laps to go, the gap to the leaders and the main chase was 3 minutes 13 seconds. Ryan was on the front at they reached the top of the climb and launched a chase with Bridie O'Donnell (Jayco VIS), Trudy van der Stratten (Bicisport) and Judith Arndt (HTC Highroad). They could not get away, it wasn't long however before a chase group did form. Arndt attacked and caught Halliday. She was joined with O'Donnell, Ruth Corset (Jayco AIS) the 2010 Australian road champion and Ryan.

The gap to the leaders had started to come down and by the time the chasers climbed Mt Buninyong for the sixth time the gap was down to 2 minute 24 seconds. 

At the front of the race, Hogan, Cromwell and Whitelaw were working hard to maintain the lead but it was coming down quickly as a result of the efforts from the chasers behind. 

After six laps the gap to the leaders was 1 minute 20 seconds. The chase however was down to three riders, Ryan, Arndt and O'Donnell.

Corset was trying hard to bridge across to the three on the climb. By they time they reached the top however. Arndt had attacked and only Ryan had managed to go with her albeit slightly off the pace, forcing Arndt to slow a little to enable them to work together in the chase. 

With three laps remaining the the leading group had split and only five riders remained, Light, Whitelaw, Cromwell, Hogan and Taylor 

Ryan and Arndt were at 22 seconds with Corset and O'Donnell at 45 seconds. 

After 81km of racing, Ryan and Arndt caught the leaders and a group of seven formed. Arndt tried to attack on the climb but her move was covered by Cromwell and Whitelaw. At the bell the group were all together but the pace was high. A casualty of the pace was Taylor who dropped off the pace just before the feed zone.

At the base of the final time up the climb, Arndt tried again to get away but could not. On the climb, Ryan moved to the front with Arndt, Rhodes and Hogan. Whitelaw and Cromwell paid the price for the work they had done to form the break and they lost contact with the leaders. 

Arndt kicked on the climb and Ryan and Hogan went with her. Rhodes struggled to keep in touch but worked had to keep the leaders within reach. 

With 3km to go Ryan was on the front with Arndt and Hogan. They slowed a little to watch each other which enabled the powerful Rhodes to catch them on the decent. 

With 150m to go the four riders were all in a line sprinting for the line. Arndt looked like she was a little in front but a surge from Rhodes and Ryan with Hogan on her wheel in last 50m ended the chances of Arndt becoming the first international to win the Australian Championships. 

On the line, Ryan pointed to signal that Rhodes had won the race and raised her arms in celebration of her team mates victory. 

Ryan and Rhodes both former medalists in the time trial are forced to miss riding the event on Tuesday due to the timing of their team training camp. This is undoubably a huge blow to both riders particularly given their current form. 

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Post Race Comments

Alexis Rhodes (SA-Garmin-Cervelo) was overwhelmed with her win in the elite Australian Road Championships “I won,” screemed Rhodes as she crossed the line ahead of her professional team mate Carla Ryan (QLD) who will join her in Garmin Cervelo for the 2011 season.

Rhodes is honoured to be wearing the Australian jersey in Europe, “For any rider being able to wear your national jersey in Europe is pretty special and something to be proud of. I am ecstatic,  I never thought it would happen,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes had considered giving up the sport at the end of 2010 after disappointing performances in her mind at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships but after a late offer of a professional contract from Garmin Cervelo, Rhodes reconsidered, “I did not have a good season last year and I had an OK commonwealth games but I was really disappointed with worlds. I finished just inside the top 20 in the time trail and 4th in the time trial ant the comm games which was ok. I didn’t do so well in the road race at worlds. I didn’t have any good offers for 2011 and I didn’t want to go to overseas and be in a small team. In November,  I got an offer from Garmin Cervelo which gave me renewed interest in riding again. In 2011 they have given me the opportunity to impress and hopefully I can reward them for having faith in me,” added Rhodes.

Rhodes was part of a final six rider break that included Ryan, Judith Arndt (GER), Carlee Taylor, Joanne Hogan (VIC) [bronze medalist] and Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto Honda). On the final climb Whitelaw was dropped and then Taylor. Rhodes had to battle to get back on, “Judith was really putting me in the gutter, I’ m not half the bike rider she is and I dropped off. Then they [Arndt, Hogaqn and Ryan] stated looking at each other which gave me the chance to jump back on.”

Coming into the final kilometre the four riders were together. “I had to be really patient, it was a really fast finish and I knew I had to wait and wait before I sprinted. I managed to get there for the win,” smiled Rhodes.

Ryan celebrated Rhodes win across the line, “Carla Ryan and I had discussed that one of us had to win today. To run one, two is unreal. I made sure that I got in the early break because Carla is a much better climber than me. To have her there and me in the break was great. There was no pressure on her and she managed to come up to us. I knew that I didn’t have to drive the break because she was coming up behind, it was fantastic and perfect for us,” commented Rhodes.

Carla Ryan (QLD- Garmin Cervelo) had chased really hard in the final few laps to bridge to the leaders and celebrated the one two for her team, “I am so happy for Alex. She rode an amazing race. To stay up front all day then come away with the win is incredible. I have something left for the sprint like that is amazing and super special. For her to win her first national jersey is so special,” said Ryan.

Ryan had celebrated across the line, “Alex said get on my wheel and we knew we had to take it late. She was on the left and I was on the right and we just went for it. I knew she had it on the line and I was so happy for her,” added Ryan.

Joanne Hogan (VIC) was overwhelmed with her bronze medal. “I worked really hard in the break and felf good all day. When we dropped Alex, the main sprinter, I thought I was in with a chance of winning, then she came back to the three of us and I knew I had to position myself well for the sprint. I am so please,” said Hogan.

Hogan was the silver medalist in the criterium and and targeted the road race as her main goal, “The crit silver was a complete shock so to come away with two medals is awesome,” added Hogan.

Carlee Taylor (ACT-Team Tibco) was a key driving force in the break of 8 riders and won the U23 title and queen of mountain prize, “I had done the hard work and I was pretty pumped for this race. I thought given the warm conditions I would end up in the winning move but it wasn’t to be. I am excited and so happy to come away with a win in my last year as U23. When I left the U19 I finished with a national title, so to do it again as I leave the U23, I could not be happier,” said Taylor.

Sinead Noonan (SA) could not beleive she was on the podium after one of the toughest races she has ever ridden, “I am over whlemed, I was not sure how many U23 were in front of me. The coaches were shouting at me to keep going and I am very please with a silver medal, in my first year as an U23,” said Noonan.

Lauren Kitchen (NSW) won the bronze medal after her gold medal in the criterium  this week. “We had two team mates up the road, we were really unlucky we had 3 punctures, Ruth [Corset], [Amanda] Spratty and Alex [Carle]. When we realised there was still a medal up for grabs,  we were keen to try to get one of us up there. Alex [Carle] still being an U23, sacrificed herself for the Jayco AIS team and I managed to get across the line for a medal. It is always good to come away with a medal at these championships. It is a good way to finish the last few days of racing, ” said Kitchen.

Tiffany Cromwell and Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto Honda) both realised that there attempts to create the break and maintain it had taken its toll but the time the race had reached the crucial point. 

Cromwell, was frustrated and tired at the end of the road race,"We knew that we had to break up the race and we did that. I gave it everything. I know i still have a lot to learn and each year I develop as a rider," said Cromwell. 

Whitelaw was a awarded the sprint jersey after her efforts in the break but this could not take away from the disappointment of missing the final stage of the race, "I gave it everything today and could not have done anymore. I paid for all the work to create the break but it was the only way open up the race away from pure climbers," said Whitelaw. 

Judith Arndt (HTC Hightroad) has been training in Australia for the past few months and loves the opportunity to ride the Australian Open Road Championships. A favourite for the race, Arndt had bridged across the gap to the leaders and really wanted to have a chance to win the race. A puncture in the last couple of laps had meant she had to chase back and she did not have the legs for the sprint, “I tried to attack on the last lap a few times on the other side of the course but they kept chasing back to me. I thought I had a pretty good chance in the sprint but the two of them [Ryan and Rhodes] came pretty fast from behind I made a mistake not reacting quickly enough and could not chase,” said Arndt.

Arndt was very frustrated with missing out on the win, she came to the race with great form, “I could not believe it someone had thrown tacks on the road and I punctured. That isn’t very nice. I came here to win the race so I am disappointed I didn't,” added Arndt.


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Position U23 Name State Club Time
Gold Alexis RHODES SA Norwood C.C./Garmin Cervelo 3:00:18
Silver Carla RYAN QLD Lifecycle CC./Garmin Cervelo
Bronze Joanne HOGAN VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
4 Judith ARNDT GER HTC Highroad
5 Vicki WHITELAW ACT Canberra Cycling Club/Lotto Honda
6 Tiffany CROMWELL SA Norwood C.C./Lotto Honda
7 1 Carlee TAYLOR** SA Norwood C.C./Team Tibco + 0:55
8 Ruth CORSET QLD Townsville Cycle Club
9 Bridie O'DONNELL VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc + 1:51
10 Amanda SPRATT NSW Penrith CC
11 Annabel LUXFORD QLD Lifecycle Cycling Club + 3:23
12 Taryn HEATHER SA Mildura-Coomealla C.C. + 3:44
13 Jessie MACLEAN ACT Canberra Cycling Club/Virgin Blue + 6:45
14 Peta MULLENS VIC Bendigo & District CC
15 Trudy VAN DER STRAATEN NSW Bicisport
16 Gracie ELVIN ACT Canberra Cycling Club
17 2 Sinead NOONAN** SA Sturt Holdfast Marion C.C.
18 Amber HALLIDAY SA Norwood C.C.
19 Shara GILLOW QLD Sunshine Coast CC + 9:46
20 Samantha HEMSLEY ACT Canberra Cycling Club + 11:06
21 3 Lauren KITCHEN** NSW Port Macquarie Cycling Club
22 Grace SULZBERGER TAS West Tamar CC
23 Katherine O'SHEA VIC Dirt Riders
24 Nikolina ORLIC QLD Hamilton Pine River Wheelers
25 India MCLEAN NSW Northern Sydney CC
26 Laura MEADLEY ACT Canberra Cycling Club
27 Rebecca WIASAK ACT Canberra Cycling Club
28 4 Angela MCCLURE** SA Norwood C.C.
29 5 Caitlin TURNER** NSW Peloton Sports Inc.
30 6 Alexandra CARLE** ACT Vikings Cycling Club ACT
31 Laura LUXFORD QLD Lifecycle Cycling Club
32 Clare DALLAT VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC + 12:41
33 Rebecca LOCKE VIC Coburg Cycling Club Inc + 14:52
DNF Heather LOGIE ACT Canberra Cycling Club
DNF Nicole WHITBURN VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Stephanie IVES VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Katherine BAKER QLD Sunshine Coast CC
DNF Rebecca DOMANGE VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Delphine ASTIER VIC Footscray Cycling Club Inc
DNF Sarah RILEY VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Miranda GRIFFITHS VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
DNF Liz LEYDEN WA Atomic Brooks Cycle Club
DNF Chloe MCCONVILLE VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Maryam ROGERS VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
DNF Imogen SMITH QLD NRG Cycling
DNF Emma SMITH** TAS Mersey Valley Devonport CC
DNF Shanice NITIS** QLD Lifecycle CC
DNF Kristy GLOVER** VIC Wellington Cycling Club
DNF Kendelle HODGES** VIC Brunswick Cycling Club Inc
DNF Chloe HOSKING** ACT Canberra Cycling Club
DNF Jasmin HURIKINO** QLD Balmoral Cycle Club
DNF Stephanie SANCHEZ** NSW Sutherland Shire CC
DNF Zoe WATTERS QLD Lifecycle Cycling Club
DNF Amy BRADLEY VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
DNF Kirsty BROUN QLD Lifecycle CC
DNF Elizabeth GEORGOURAS SA Port Adelaide C.C.
DNF Rochelle GILMORE NSW Bankstown Sports CC
DNF Natalie LANGER QLD Balmoral Cycle Club
DNF Ingrid TROTTER VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
DNF Emma LAWSON** TAS Launceston City CC
DNF Myfanwy GALLOWAY** ACT Canberra Cycling Club
DNF Belinda MASON** TAS Launceston City CC
DNF Chloe MCINTOSH** VIC Ballarat/Sebastopol C C
DNF Rebecca WERNER** SA Port Adelaide C.C.
DNF Carly LIGHT SA Port Adelaide C.C.
DNF Bridget OFFICER VIC St Kilda Cycling Club Inc
DNF Megan DUNN** NSW Dubbo CC
DNF Kimberley YAP MAS Malaysia
DNF Carly WILLIAMS VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNF Davina SUMMERS WA South Perth Cycle Club
DNF Kate FINEGAN NSW Hunter District CC
DNF Emma MACKIE QLD Balmoral Cycle Club
DNF Nicole MCNAMARA VIC Bendigo & District CC
DNF Amy CURE** TAS Mersey Valley Devonport CC
DNS Victoria LUXTON VIC Carnegie Caulfield CC
DNS Rachel NEYLAN SA Norwood C.C.
DNS Monica KELLY** VIC Horsham Cycling Club Inc
DNS Brittany LINDORES** QLD Gold Coast CATS Cycling Club


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