Kimberley Wells takes decisive victory to clinch criterium title at Australian Road Nationals

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Kimberley Wells (ACTAS) unleashed her powerful sprint to clinch the criterium title at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships ahead of Peta Mullens (Seight Custom) and Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products). It is the second time Wells has pulled on the green and gold jersey following the criterium championships, and the fourth time she’s climbed onto the top stop of the podium in the Australian summer of racing.

“That picture crossing the line tells a thousand words. It’s exactly how I felt – elated, hurting, excited, and I felt so pumped because I knew there was daylight behind me,” said Wells. “I’ve won here before. I’m a heavily marked rider. I’m a really good sprinter on the road and I won the trifecta of crits coming into the summer so every single person in that peloton did not want me there at the end.”

A sluggish start to the elite women’s event gave way to edge-of-the-seat excitement with relentless attacks and constant counter-moves. While Wells stayed hidden for the majority of the one hour contest, Mullens played the animator. She made the first significant move after 10 laps of the 30 lap race. Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Honda) was the only rider willing and able to bridge across to the early move. The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic overall series winner provided company for Mullens in the breakaway but refused to share the workload.

The peloton wisely elected not to allow the duo a long leash. Three laps later, Hosking fell off the pace and was swallowed up by a disorganised bunch. Mullens continued her effort alone, gaining a 17 second advantage over the peloton at the mid-point of the race. When Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) and Jessie MacLean (ACTAS) attempted to bridge across to Mullens, the peloton reacted. The race was back together one lap later.

“I had to earn it,” said Wells. “Everyone was hurting out there. There were a lot of breaks that were up the road with some really great riders in there. I found it hard being patient about having them 10, 15, 20 seconds up the road but ultimately the bunch was hungry enough to bring them all back.”

Mullens would get into another significant move with nine laps left. Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS), Carlee Taylor (Lotto Sundal), Jessica Munday (SASI) and Kendelle Hodges (Jayco Apollo AIS) cooperated with Mullens’ efforts to keep the field at bay. A counter-attack by Kitchen sparked a response from the bunch. Five laps from the finish, Mullens and company were back in the reduced peloton as Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) put in a late race dig.

“Peta Mullens, Gracie Elvin, Lauren Kitchen, Chloe Hosking as a sprinter, Ruth Corset in a breakaway, Lizzie Williams – they are all riders who can win this crit,” said Wells. “I was really worried anytime they got up the road.”

Mullens put in one final attack with three laps remaining, but her effort provide futile. Taylor held onto a slim advantage as the bell rang and came around the final corner just ahead of the field. Into the finishing stretch, Wells was poorly positioned yet she managed to overtake all her challengers ahead of the line. She handily took the sprint by two bike lengths and yelled out in celebration of her decisive victory as she crossed the finish line.

“This time last summer I followed the race on Twitter,” said Wells. “I had pneumonia, so it was really disappointing and devastating not to be able to try and defend my 2013 criterium title.”

“I got myself back going and got back to Europe and the day after Flanders, I tore my piriformis muscle, which put me out for the entire European season,” added Wells. “I couldn’t exercise for four months, and I was really crushed by that double blow, so this is exactly what I needed to solidify myself back in the peloton.”

The first U23 rider across the line was Shannon Malseed (Holden Women’s Cycling Team) in sixth. She claimed victory ahead of Rebecca Mackey (WA) and Tayla Evans (Bicycle Superstore).

Race results:

1. 212 Kimberley WELLS (ACT) 52:14
2. 216 Peta MULLENS (VIC) +0
3. 209 Lauren KITCHEN (NSW) +0
4. 207 Ruth CORSET (QLD) +0
5. 213 Lizzie WILLIAMS (VIC) +0
6. 457 Shannon MALSEED (VIC) W23 +0
7. 230 Kendelle HODGES (VIC) +0
8. 453 Rebecca MACKEY (WA) W23 +0
9. 459 Tayla EVANS (VIC) W23 +0
10. 259 Nicole MOERIG (QLD) +0
11. 455 Jessica MUNDY (SA) W23 +6
12. 201 Gracie ELVIN (ACT) +6
13. 223 Tessa FABRY (VIC) +6
14. 220 Rebecca LOCKE (VIC) +8
15. 211 Amanda SPRATT (NSW) +20
16. 219 Carlee TAYLOR (SA) +25
17. 221 Joanne HOGAN (VIC) +33
18. 228 Nicole WHITBURN (VIC) +51
19. 225 Brittany LINDORES (QLD) +1:24
dnf 208 Chloe HOSKING (ACT)
dnf 217 Jessie MACLEAN (ACT)
dnf 224 Lisa JACOBS (VIC)
dnf 229 Naomi WILLIAMS (VIC)
dnf 240 Elizabeth DOUEAL (VIC)
dnf 244 Kristy GLOVER (VIC)
dnf 247 Erin KINNEALY (WA)
dnf 248 Jessica LANE (VIC)
dnf 250 Stephanie LORD (NSW)
dnf 254 Chloe MCINTOSH (VIC)
dnf 255 Carley MCKAY (VIC)
dnf 260 Laurelea MOSS (QLD)
dnf 261 Minda MURRAY (VIC)
dnf 263 Prudence ROTHWELL (VIC)
dnf 269 Emma VIOTTO (ACT)
dnf 270 Rachel WARD (VIC)
dnf 456 Lauretta HANSON (VIC) W23
dnf 460 Julia KALOTAS (WA) W23
dnf 462 Gina RICARDO (NSW) W23
dnf 465 Victoria SNIBSON (VIC) W23
dns 203 Sarah ROY (NSW)
dns 253 Marissa MADDEN (NSW)
dns 467 Maddison VIT (QLD) W23
  • Race time: 52:14
  • Average speed of the winner: 37.9 km/h
  • Number of starters: 39
  • Riders abandoning the race: 20

Intermediate Sprints

Lap 10 Sprint

1. 216 Peta MULLENS (VIC) 3 pt
2. 208 Chloe HOSKING (ACT) 2
3. 260 Laurelea MOSS (QLD) 1

Lap 20 Sprint

1. 213 Lizzie WILLIAMS (VIC) 3 pt
2. 230 Kendelle HODGES (VIC) 2
3. 455 Jessica MUNDY (SA) 1

Sprint Classification

Final Result

1. 216 Peta MULLENS (VIC) 5 pt
2. 212 Kimberley WELLS (ACT) 3
3. 213 Lizzie WILLIAMS (VIC) 3
4. 230 Kendelle HODGES (VIC) 2
5. 209 Lauren KITCHEN (NSW) 1
6. 455 Jessica MUNDY (SA) 1
dnf 208 Chloe HOSKING (ACT) 2
dnf 260 Laurelea MOSS (QLD) 1

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