Santos Cup 2012
Race 1- Rebecca Werner upstages GreenEDGE to win for Specialised
Rebecca Werner (Specialised SA) pulled off a surprise victory at the first of the Santos Women's Cup event. Leading round the final corner, Werner was one of a handful of riders who actually knew it was the finish. Cow bells along the finish line had apparently disguised the bell lap signal and a lack of race awareness meant riders missed the one lap to go number. Werner celebrated across the line, closely followed by Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) and Skye-Lee Armstrong (NSW).
The pace was on right from the start. GreenEDGE-AIS started nine riders in the 40 minute criterium. The other major teams were local Specialised SA (Lululemon) and Jayco-AIS. Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE-AIS) was the first to open up the pace. She was closely followed by Alex Carle (Jayco-AIS). Loren Rowney (Specialised (SA) Lululemon) chased down the gap and stretched out the bunch.
Werner attacked but was covered quickly by Arndt. When it came back together Tiffany Cromwell and newly crowned Australian Road Race champion (GreenEDGE-AIS) attacked. Gracie Elvin (Jayco-AIS) chased to cover gap with Rowney.
After 18 minutes of racing, Spratt and Elvin had an 8 second gap. The others had dropped back to the bunch which was led by Taryn Heather (SAIS). Werner jumped to join the two leaders, with Alex Rhodes, Arndt, Loes Gunnewijk, Melissa Hoskins (GreenEDGE), Chloe Hosking (Specialised SA Lululemon) and Amy Bradley (VIC).
Heather persisted and managed to close the gap for the bunch bringing the race back together. Gunnewijk attacked and managed to gain a small gap. Rowney closed the gap again. GreenEDGE-AIS, Rhodes attacked and managed to gain an 8 second gap. Werner took up the chase with Jayco-AIS Sulzberger.
With two to go the race was all together. Rhodes attacked again, chased by Elvin. Liz Phillipou (Specialised SA), Rowney and Hosking gave chase.
At the bell, Carly Williams (St Kilda CC) attacked. Rowney, Sulzberger and Shara Gillow (GreenEDGE-AIS) chased to close the gap. With 500m to go, Werner attacked and managed to gain an advantage as she approached 150m to go. Confusion in the bunch opened up the opportunity for Sulzberger to cross the line for second ahead of Skye-Lee Armstrong (Giant-NSW).
Rebecca Werner (Specialised SA) took a surprised win in the opening round of the Santos Women's Cup."It’s pretty exciting here in my home town of Adelaide. It’s also my first win with the Specialized Women-SA team, we’re pretty stoked. The numbers were definitely against us with all of GreenEdge out with some of the international riders as well and then the Jayco girls. We talked last night about our race plan and we weren’t going to be scared, we were going to attack them and put them on the back front. I think we did that really well," said Werner
"It’s amazingly important for women’s cycling and the exposure that we get is like nothing else that you can get racing in Australia, so thanks to the Tour Down Under and Cycling SA for putting it on."
"I think we’re getting there, we’re not quite there yet but we’re definitely improving and there definitely needs to be more of this kind of racing to help the exposure of the sport in Australia and all over the world."
Werner was not expected to win the opening race and will look to others in her team for the next races, "Me, myself, I’d love to but I’ve got a great team over here. We’ve got Chloe who’s one of the best sprinters. Liz our manager and Loren Rowney who’s signed by Specilized-lululemon as well so we’ve got a strong group of riders so I think we can do anything." she added.
There was a bit of confusion from a number of riders in the bunch regarding whether it was the finish or the bell lap, "For me not really but I was a bit confused because I wasn’t meant to be our girl who was up there, it just kind of happened like that. I think there was maybe a little bit of confusion in the bunch with whether it was the last lap or not. I heard them say it I was just trying to close the gap for our sprinter Chloe [Hosking] and she wasn’t there so I kept going and thankfully it worked out for us.I think it was a bit of confusion because we caught that breakaway group so late and there was a bunch that came together and it was a bit messy."
Grace Sulzberger (Jayco-AIS) was very happy to be on the podium after the first of the Santos Women, "This is a great result, there was a bit of confusion in the last lap but I just put my head down. There was no looking back, I just went for it," said Sulzberger
"Sinead [Noonan] was sick so we were down to three riders. We had to make sure we were in each break when GreenEDGE went and had to keep going every time they attacked. In the end I was in the right spot at the right time," said Sulzberger.
Grace is the sister of the Sulzberger brothers. She is excited to be following in their footsteps, "They better watch out because here comes the girl in the family," added Sulzberger.
Skye-Lee Armstrong (NSW) was a little disappointed that there was confusion on the final lap. "I have had a few month off and I was hoping to test my legs. We did not realise it was the last lap. I was sat on Chloe Hosking wheel. At 30m to go, they didn't sprint I just opened up the gates to get third," said Armstrong
"I think the pro's were a sleep. The numbers were up there. I should have gone sooner," added Armstrong.
Liz Phillipou (Specialised SA) was very happy with her teams performance. "We had a dinner last night, the four of us. We went through the race plan. We wanted to be agressive and take the race to them. That is what we did. It is the first win for Specialised SA in front of our home crowd, so it was great," said Phillipou.
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