Australian Road Championships 2012
Criterium - Alexis Rhodes wins for GreenEDGE and makes it 4 times
Ballarat, Victoria, 33 km
Alexis Rhodes (GreenEDGE) added a fourth criterium title to her wins in 2004, 2006 and 2007 after breaking clear of the bunch with 12 laps remaining in the 30 lap (33km) event raced in windy, cool conditions on the Sturt Street circuit of Ballarat's CBD. In the chase for silver, Melissa Hoskins (GreenEDGE) just managed to hold off, Annette Edmondson (SAIS). Hoskins wins the U23 championship with Edmondson second and 2011 Criterium champion Lauren Kitchen riding in her new Rabobank Professional team kit was placed in third after finishing 6th overall..
In a much anticipated show of the GreenEDGE strength, the team certainly dominated the entire race. Despite attempts from Joanne Hogan (Jayco-VIS), Chloe Hoskings (Specialised Lululemon) and Grace Sultzberger (Jayco-AIS) tobreak up the race, it was Rhodes who managed to get the gap. She attacked on the decent to the tight turn before the start finish line just after the half way point of the race, With the help of her team mates, Tiffany Cromwell, Jessie Maclean, Hoskins and Rowena Fry no one was able to close the gap to Rhodes. With 7 laps to go Rhodes was holding a 13 second lead. Chloe Hosking tried to bridge the gap but again she has held back by GreenEDGE.
At 3 laps to go, Rhodes was holding a 12 second lead. Gracie Elvin (Jayco-AIS) tried to bridge across but she was marked again by Cromwell.
In the end Rhodes finished strongly and had time to enjoy the win. It was a fabulous return for Rhodes, she has been off her bike for just over 6 months due to surgery on a blocked iliac artery [artery that run from hip to leg]. The criterium is her first race back.
Alexis Rhodes (GreenEDGE) said that "the win ranks as my best in the criterium."
her defence of the road race on Saturday, Rhodes added, "they
would face plenty of strong opposition. One hour criteriums are a little
different to a three-hour road race but I've been training really hard the
last couple of months and I've got a really good team," said
don't win on Saturday, I really hope one of my team-mates do," Rhodes
said. "Hopefully we can really dictate the race like we did tonight,
but there are probably other people who have a lot of other ideas as
"I had a lot of scar tissue there, so they had to open my stomach up, clean my artery out and make a little graft and sew it back together again," said Rhodes whose surgeon was the same man who operated on fellow cyclist Stuart O'Grady for the same complaint.
She has been training solidly for the last couple of months, but then came the uncertainty over her professional future when Garmin folded. "It was all decided before Christmas, but everything was still getting finalised," she said. "I'm just really fortunate that GreenEDGE could find space for me, because otherwise I'd be in a bit of trouble. I had a couple weeks of sleepless nights," added Rhodes
Rhodes says her major goal for 2012 is to earn Olympic selection.
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