Sunday, 1 December 2013


After a week of rain and mud in Tasmania, and reduced racing due to the flood-like conditions, I had a big week ahead of me on the bike. With my 2014 professional year approaching I'm trying to teach my body what it's like to just 'be' on the bike for 3-4hrs a day, and with the UK-based Rapha Condor boys in town-now is my opportunity. So a solid 500k plus a MTB race was a nice way for me to head into the NSW Gran Prix this weekend.

Why am I the only one who couldn't put my food down for the photo...

The team all arrived on Friday; Emily Collins from NZL, Lauren Kitchen from Port Macquarie and myself from Bendigo. Jo Tralaggan made the drive to Rochelle Gilmore's apartment in Cronulla, where German teamie Charlotte Becker has been soaking up summer rays. For the six-rider line-up we have three staff on-board. Jai Redmond as Director, Dan Brickell as Mechanic and Jon McEniry back from our 2012 roster as Physio and Swanny. After a sneaky photo shoot (we never get away without a few happy snaps) we headed to dinner followed by our team ritual (Cold Rock) and hit the hay in preparation for a mecca weekend of cycling.

'Giggle Honda' pre-race..
Photo courtesy of Kirsty Baxter

Course re-con and team meetings are always interesting when you have a strong team with a lot of cards to play. As a fly on the wall you would hear us talk more about our own form, what 'style' of race we each want, how we want to execute that, a lead-out order if it were to come down to a sprint and of course the main threats in the race. For us, we decided to make a call on the lead-out order on the road, which is quite uncommon, depending on who had done what in the aggressive style race we were striving for. And after the late withdrawal of Dunn and Wells due to illness, the obvious main threats were the other five professionals in the field - Hosking, Rowney, Cromwell, Williamson and Roy.

It was a stressed out area in our tent before the start. We had come second at Noosa and really wanted to win this one to show our appreciation to Wiggle for supporting the Australian Domestic season. Many family, friends and cheer-squads lined the barricades for the live streamed event on Channel 9, so it's safe to say that Australia really was watching us! Just to force the mood, I had to undergo a last minute frame change due to a flat battery. The Campagnolo Super Record EPS battery is internally cabled into the frame, and with no way to charge it on site, we did a quick wheel and seat-post change onto one of three spare bikes, and all was fine and dandy! Until Rochelle broke a pedal, of which the spare bikes had none, and Jai had to charge back to her apartment (around the corner) to get a spare set!

Dan the Man 'Cool as a cucumber' for a last minute bike change

Finally we were racing... 15 laps of a 1.3k circuit. The course begins with a 180deg turn, then a long tailwind straight up to a sweeping descent, that leads into a short headwind climb, and a downhill run to the finish. The 20k of action went something like this:
Lap 1 - Wiggle Honda controlling the peloton
Lap 2 - Lindores (Roxsolt) launches first attack covered by Cromwell (Orica Green-Edge), Tralaggan and Viotto (Suzuki Bontrager), bought back before end of lap
Lap 3 - Martin (Roxsolt) attacks but it's quickly nullified over the climb
Lap 4 - Nervous energy in the bunch as we wait for the next attack
Lap 5 - Gilmore punctures-I attack up the climb but am covered by Hosking (Roxsolt) with Rowney (Specialized) Kitchen and Becker in tow. This was to become the winning move.

The winning break with Rowney, me, Hosking, Williamson and Becker
Photo courtesy of Michael Chapman

Lap 6 - Gilmore and Tralaggan control the peloton, while Becker attacks our break of five through the finish
Lap 7 - This gives me a chance to counter the move and go solo...
Lap 8 - Rowney, Hosking and Williamson share the workload and bring me back after two laps
Lap 9 - Kitchen now goes solo, meanwhile a trio of Cromwell, Roy (Roxsolt) and Collins have escaped from the bunch
Lap 10 - Kitchen still solo, Rowney chasing while Hosking waits for team-mate Roy. Williamson attacks over the hill but it covered by Becker
Lap 11 - Hosking begins to chase as the trio of Cromwell, Roy and Collins make contact
Lap 12 - Hosking still driving in pursuit of Kitchen who is now in sight. I attack over the top of the climb with Williamson in chase and we bridge to Kitchen at the end of the lap

Not a Time Trial fan...
Photo courtesy of Kirsty Baxter

Lap 13 - Hosking is left to chase again before Rowney and Collins bridge to the front making the lead five strong-Kitchen, Williamson, Rowney, Collins and I- being chased by Cromwell, Roy and Becker. Hosking loses contact and returns to the peloton controlled by Tralaggan and Gilmore.
Lap 14 - I attack up the climb again but Rowney gives chase, and as we crest Kitchen counters and goes solo
Lap 15 - Kitchen leads by 5 seconds over the climb while Becker regains contact and launches past the chase group. Kitchen wins, Becker second and Collins wins the sprint for third.

Kitchen bombing solo to victory for Wiggle Honda!
Photo courtesy of Michael Chapman

Day 1 Results - Cronulla
1st     Lauren Kitchen (Wiggle Honda)
2nd   Charlotte Becker (Wiggle Honda)
3rd    Emily Collins (Wiggle Honda)
4th    Loren Rowney (Specialized-Securitor)
5th    Peta Mullens (Wiggle Honda)
6th    Sophie Williamson (Wakatipu)
7th    Sarah Roy (Roxsolt Sydney Uni)
8th    Tiffany Cromwell (Orica Green-Edge)

Your women's podium L-R: Collins 3rd, Kitchen 1st, Becker 2nd

So we are a very happy team, in fact as we celebrated at dinner sometimes we forgot which one of us had actually won the bike race! Our post-race debrief was short because, as I said in our meeting 'we rode pretty damn awesome' now holding 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th on the points classification going into todays second and final criterium in Wollongong. Once again we will be chasing one more stage win for Wiggle and line up against another strong field so it will by no means come easy with some tired legs in the bunch. So don't miss the action-make sure to watch the 'Wigglettes' on Channel 9 at 12.30 for live coverage!

The team with Jon (physic), Myffy (PR) and Dan (DS/photographer!)