Saturday, 4 January 2014


Wiggle Honda had the yellow GC jersey, green points jersey and teams classification leads going into Day 2 at the Michelton Wines Bay Criteriums yesterday. It was a good feeling to have had such a successful opening day, but it only made the pressure and expectation to succeed again weigh even heavier on our shoulders. After proving we had the fastest sprinter in Giorgia, it was then time to change our tactics to protect our overall position by ensuring that she featured in the final sprint. To ask her to also race for the points was a bit unfair, so the decision was made that we would chase the sprints as a team to ease that pressure.

Triple World Champion and me... my head looks massive here!
Photo courtesy Matt Keenan

The peloton was primarily sedate until 15minutes in, where Linda and Lotte took me to the front in preparation for the first sprint. I was flagged by Specialized along the back straight with Loren Rowney, Tiffany Cromwell and second place Lizzie Williams ready to challenge us. The girls made it so hard that when I came off Lotte's wheel for the 3 points, we had gapped the peloton back to Lizzie in third. The counter came from Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) and Cromwell before any recovery time so I had to dig deep to get on the wheel. The lined out peloton began to split and a selection of 8 rounded the back-straight; Scandolara, Cromwell, Gracie Elvin (Jayco National Team), Chloe Hosking (Roxsolt Sydney Uni), Sophie Williamson (Vanderkitten), Lauren Kitchen (Roxsolt Sydney Uni), Jess Allen (VIS Apollo) and I. The strength was in the group for it to be successful but within the lap the only dangerous move of the day had the bunch in tow.

Linda and Lotte prepare me for the first sprint
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

It didn't go unnoticed that these events hurt people and the race eased for a few laps while we all got our breath back - yep...this is when I hit 195hr! It was all together when we got the bell for the second sprint and I made my way to the front again to claim some points. By now Lizzie had withdrawn from the race, but it was Scandolara who upset the arrangement when she launched over the climb in hope of a potential breakaway. I followed in chase and subsequently claimed the 2 points, which lined out the chasing peloton and eventually nullified the move. With three laps to go the pace really came off, that was until Sarah Roy (Roxsolt Sydney Uni) lit it up through two to go. Linda and Lotte hit the front at bell lap down to the waterfront, and then the fun began! 

Stage 2 Podium: Edmonson, Hosking & Bronzini
Photo courtesy jxpphotography

The nature of the course makes the final climb a lottery. It's important to be at the front because the top of the climb marks 300m to go, but being at the front too early into the headwind can prove worse. The ascent is a gradual rise on a wide road and lead-out trains are hard to sustain without being swamped on the climb. Hosking was badly placed leading into the final corner, in her own admittance 'perhaps 15 people back' but when Edmonson, Elvin and Giorgia propped on the frontline without a team-mate between then to lead out, it was Hosking who reaped the benefit. Coming from 15 back saw her attack them early at speed and put everyone else on the backfoot. She cruised to an easy victory over a fast finishing Giorgia and Edmonson. Giorgia still holds yellow and Wiggle Honda the teams classification.

Still leading the Teams Classification after Day 2
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

Despite a loss yesterday, it was a good day for Wiggle Honda because we rode and communicated better as a team. It's not easy to come together the day before racing and as the language barriers fall we learn more about what the upcoming 2014 season will be like - and I'm excited! To celebrate another day of racing, a win for Roxsolt Sydney-Uni and of course the birthday of a very influential and supportive sponsor of women's cycling in Australia - Kelvin Rundle, we all gathered together for a buffet gourmet dinner (+wine and dessert) in what was an awesome night and a reminder that we do this for more than just the race memories. Thanks Kelvin!

Stepping out in style in our new custom Fizik kicks!
Photo courtesy Rochelle Gilmore

Today's course out at Portarlington is a tough one. The majority of the course trends uphill and the recovery is merely a short, fast downhill stint leading into a tricky bottom and final left-hand corner. Cromwell has won solo the last two years and I have no doubt that her and Scandolara will once again be the main aggressors. It's historically a tough course for the sprinters to get around but I have no doubt that Giorgia will be there. The question is, will Hosking and Edmonson be there again to challenge her? Once again racing kicks off at 11.30am with the support races and 1.30pm for the Elite Women.

Photo Gallery: Via Peloton Cafe