The women’s road race at the 2016 Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships was always going to be a hard fought battle as with Olympic selection up for grabs in the coming months the nation’s top cyclists couldn’t afford to hold anything back. There was also team pride on the line. Orica-AIS lost the green and gold jersey for the first time since its inception last year and the only Australian registered UCI women’s team was making no secret of the fact that it was determined to get it back.
Orica-AIS had a strong field of contenders and strength in numbers, with seven riders, but there were also a list of tenacious competitors from other teams who knew what it took to stand on the podium in the race and would try and find ways of working around the strengths of Orica-AIS. In the end the race came down to a sprint between two former victors, back-to-back winner of the National Road Series Ruth Corset (Rush Women’s Team) and Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS).
Even though it was down to two at the end, the team game was still at play. Corset had little choice but to lead for the last two kilometres of the race as Orica-AIS riders, Katrin Garfoot and Rachel Neylan, were closing in. This gave Spratt all the advantage she needed and as soon as she wound up for a long sprint it was clear that she would be Australia’s 2016 road race champion.