The past few days saw the introduction of the first ever NRS race in Adelaide (finally) and it went off with a blast! The three-day tour consisted of a 20km downhill TTT, a 103km Road Race (with some dirt sections) out Woodside, and finished with a 66km Kermesse held on the outskirts of the city. The Target TREK team line-up for the week had a world-class theme with the addition of previous Junior World Champions Ash Ankudinoff (NSW) and Kesley Robson (WA), accompanied by current aspiring Junior World representatives Ruby-Marie Greig-Hurtig (VIC) and Emily McRedmond (WA), plus of course…me!
|Ash, me and Kelsey in the Gorge Road downhill Time Trial|
After a patchy start which included me leaving my wallet at the Canberra airport, missing the compulsory Team Manager’s meeting and a $391 speeding fine thanks to yours truly Mr. Moroni, I was hoping for smooth sailing when the tour kick started. The TTT was my first ever, so I was grateful to have Ash on board who took control and drove the pace. We had two early causalities in Ruby then Emily, but managed to catch the composite team ahead of us before troubling myself with the final few pinches to the line. I was stoked with fifth place, which was an important result as GC would be close to set in stone with the format of the tour. Polygon won the stage ahead of VIS and Pensar-Hawk.
|Tackling the gravel sections with ease..|
I headed into Saturday’s road race a little apprehensive. I knew I had lost form since Mersey Valley, but was hoping the shorter gravel climbs wouldn’t cause too many problems. I tried to breakaway early but with everybody wanting to be part of a move it was clear that the ‘right combination’ would be difficult to obtain. I stayed toward the front for the climbs hoping that an opportunity might present itself, but short-lived spurts were unsuccessful for anything other than minor QOM points. But eventually the race lulled and Holden Racing took the initiative and formed the three main breaks of the day.
|Amy takes an easy victory in the Road Race|
Miranda Griffiths (Holden) was temporarily away with Sarah Roy (Bike Bug), followed by a solo attack by Lucy Coldwell (Holden). But Polygon never panicked and bought it all back together for the second QOM. I hit out early to claim maximum points and the QOM jersey, and not long after Sam De Riter (Holden) rode away solo. I expected the pure climbers to hit out hard on the final two pinches, but instead the pressure to catch Sam was only enough to dwindle the 70 odd down to 20 in the hunt for a tailwind downhill kamikaze finish. I was in great position but my sprinting form only landed me in 6th. A classy win was taken by yellow jersey holder Amy Cure (Polygon) ahead of Ruth Corset (Pensar) and Jenelle Crooks (Pensar).
|"...so then my team-mate Sam totally knocked me off my bike!" lol|
I loved the 3.3km kermesse circuit. There was a fast roundabout that I just HAD to bunny hop every lap, a right hander made technical by a traffic island and then a long 1km uphill haul to the line. The girls were aggressive so I made sure I was alert. I was happy to follow moves and wait for the right moment, but whenever I saw it, I hesitated and the moment was gone. Bec Wiasak decided to go it solo, and her group swelled for four, and then nine including teammate Ash and I missed all the action...have I lost my race nouse? I think so!
|Leaders jerseys line up for the Kermesse|
Me, Jess Mundy, Sam, Lucy and Amy
It was an amazingly exciting finish, with the break and bunch coming together in the final hundred meters! Bec and Ash held on to take the top two steps of the podium, while a hard chasing Cure came in third to claim the tour. I rolled in17th, disappointed with my effort, having lost the QOM jersey and any ounce of confidence I had pre-tour. I think I’ve forgotten how to risk losing a bike race in order to win one! Let’s just say that this 7hr drive home to Bendigo has been fairly quiet. I can’t wait to hit the dirt trails on the MTB tomorrow!
|Lisa Jacobs and I try to break early in the Kermesse|
Congratulations to Amy Cure of Polygon and ex-Bendigonian George Tansley of Euride on their tour victories, and a massive well done to Max Stevens and his team who ran an amazing race with sold out fields. Is there anything Adelaide don’t do well? Needless to say that twitter ran wild in support of this Tour and I know that it will be a prime race on the calendar next year. Hope to see you all there… :)