Mitchelton Bay Classic 2013
Stage 2 - Tiffany Cromwell rides to solo victory
Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) rode in her familiar style to solo to victory on stage 2. Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS) won the sprint for second ahead of Peta Mullens (Anytime Fitness).
In a familiar move, to the one she made in 2011, Cromwell attacked after just over two laps to ride a solo victory. Overnight leader Kimberley Wells (Specialized Securitor) was not able to respond to the attack and lost time during the race to drop down the overall standings.
Orica-AIS worked hard as a team to ensure that they would move into the overall lead with great tactics from Shara Gillow and Loes Gunnewijk.
Cromwell secured a maximum lead of 47 seconds during the race before a brief response from the chasing peloton created by former Australian road and Time Trial champion Carla Ryan (Crino Cycles-Casa & Bottega) closed the gap to 30 seconds. The increase in pace split the bunch and Orica-AIS's Hoskins benefited with Shara Gillow and Gracie Elvin (Jayco-AIS) for company. Wells missed the break and was forced to use some of her team to limit her losses.
Cromwell secured maximum points in the sprint competition to move into the overall lead ahead of Gunnewijk.
Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) was very happy with her victory on stage 2 of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. "I like this course and I obviously like riding on my own," said Cromwell as she recovered from her solo effort. Cromwell won on the Portarlington course in 2011, "I have good memories on this course. It is great to get the win again. I like to win races from long solo break. It has happened many times on this course. An early break goes and manages to stay away. On lap 3, the bunch used the flat section to take a break so I decided to keep going and got the gap and it just kept on building," said Cromwell.
"Seems when I go out I have this one pace and I was also comfortable with corners and I knew I could get time on them," said Cromwell. "I do a lot of training on my own and with the men and that gives me the confidence and strength to keep on going, the longer the race the better for me."
Some could argue that Orica-AIS have an advantage at this years race. The size limit for each team is 5, but Orica-AIS have Cromwell and Gracie Elvin riding as individuals with an obvious sharing of effort and protection from all of the riders. Indeed the Team's press release noted that, "The rest of the girls organized behind Cromwell," according to Sport Director, David McPartland.
"Because they were well organized, Tiff was able to grow her gap to 30 seconds really quickly. By the mid-point of the race, her gap was holding steady and I was confident that she would win."
Gillow took responsibility for the nine rider group, setting a pace that allowed Cromwell to maintain her lead while ensuring that the group behind wouldn't regain contact. With two laps left to race, Gillow's job was done. "Gracie picked up where Shara left off, and she did an awesome job in her first lead out for the team," said McPartland. "She took Mel into the bottom corner of the course, and all Mel had to do was come off Gracie's wheel at the 150 metre mark."
Cromwell play down the team work and said "I am free to do what I want to do at these races which is great. It is always hard this time of year but ultimately I am here to train for the Nationals. It is a great opening to have three days of hard racing to get the intensity back. I have done a lot of work over the two weeks after we had the training camp in Canberra. If you ask people like Marv [Martin Barras-Team selector] I was not in the best form there but I put my head down and just got on with some really good training. This just showed that I am well on the way to another good season," added Cromwell.
"As long as it is Orica-AIS on the podium it does not matter that I am here as an individual, it is a win in the colours that matters," stated Cromwell.
Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS) knew it was going to be a tough race. in 2012 she moved into the overall lead after the Portarlington stage and repeated the same in 2013. "I knew it was going to be a big ask today, it is horses for courses and we had the team," said Hoskins.
"I looked around about half way and Kimberley [Wells] was still there and she looked comfortable so we knew we had to put some pressure on. We managed to slip off the front with a big group of us and put some gap on the yellow jersey," added Hoskins.
Asked if she believed she could hold onto the lead in the final stage at Williamstown tomorrow, Hoskins added, "I really hope so, it is a great way to start the season. I obviously have good legs because I was able to get up that hill. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. The team are on fire and huge credit to them, they go me over the line today so I want to finish it off tomorrow." " I've done the maths, roughly that puts me in the yellow, I needed to get more than two points on Kimberley Wells and get a little bit of a buffer ahead of tomorrow," Hoskins said. "I don't have to win tomorrow, so we can play a few more cards tomorrow and the girls rode fantastic today."
Kimberley Wells (Specialized Securitor) did not enjoy the race as much today, "The Portarlington course is very different to the Geelong Hot dog course yesterday, so it was always going to be a big challenge. For us today we had the Team classification, Green Sprint jersey and the yellow Overall which is a lot t defend. There was some really aggressive racing out there. The Orica-AIS girls took control of it out there it is hard to stack up against all of their numbers," said Wells. With one stage left, Wells was asked if she felt is was possible to regain the lead, "The Williamstown crit is different again in terms of the actual course. So I am looking forward to it, no big hills so the fastest rider is going to win tomorrow," added Wells.
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