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by Simone Giuliani
January 15, 2017
Photography by Tim Bardsley-Smith
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
ADELAIDE, Australia (CT) – Trying out the sprint train with a new team for the very first time, Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling) used her powerful kick to take out the stage two criterium at the Santos Women’s Tour in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Apparently it was a sprint train that didn’t work out exactly as planned, but the result was probably better than the team could have hoped for. Rachel Barbieri followed her team mate over the line to take second ahead of Chloe Hosking (Ale Cippolini Galassia).
“Easy it wasn’t but its really special,” Wild told reporters. “It is really good to start the season with a win, with a new team,” she said.
With the crowd lining the finishing straight banging on the barriers and shouting it was a far bigger crowd for the 32.2 kilometre 14 lap evening crit than the initial stage, as it was located in the centre of Adelaide and was also just ahead of the opening event of men’s racing.
It always looked like coming down to a bunch sprint, with some riders trying their luck out the front during the race, but not for long.
La Course winner Hosking swept up the first bonus sprint, Lauren Kitchen (NSWIS Sydney Uni) the second and third.
Lauren Kitchen (second left) getting ready to pounce before a bonus sprint.
There were three bonus seconds available for the winner of each of the three sprints during the criterium as well as ten bonus seconds on offer for the win, six for second and four for third.
The sprint points on offer meant Hosking added enough to her total to step into the green sprinter’s jersey.
Ruth Winder (United Healthcare) took the tightly contested young rider jersey. There are six riders just four seconds behind Winder in that classification.
The bonus seconds were certainly not enough to close the gap to tour leader Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott), as she carved out a lead of one minute and one second on most of the favourites in the first 106.5 kilometre hilly road stage.
Not only has she displayed that she is in great form, with the powerful stage 1 win and a silver in the Australian title last week, but she’s also got the team to back her making it a big task to haul back her lead.
A team that includes new Australian crit champion Jessica Allen (left) and new Australian road champion Katrin Garfoot (right).
Only seven riders are within a minute of Spratt, Janneke Ensing (Ale Cippolini Galassia) the closest at 19 seconds and the next rider now Wild at 50 seconds.
It’s a gap that means other pre-race favourites, such as Peta Mullens (8th at 1 minute down), have got to pull off a pretty spectacular move to shut it down.
However Spratt told reporters that she didn’t consider it race over.
“Obviously I got a nice buffer yesterday and that’s what we wanted and we are confident that we can keep the jersey until the finish,” Spratt told reporters. “But tomorrow is still going to be a hard day … it’s forecast to be a really hot day again so still anything can happen.”
The four stage tour, which has a UCI 2.2 classification, began on Saturday kicking off the women’s international road racing for 2017 and continuing Australia’s summer season of racing following the National Road Championships last week.
Stage three takes the riders back to the hills out from Adelaide. The riders will tackle 92 kilometres through the wine growing area of the Barossa, though the Queen of the Mountain climb is a little further from the end then Saturday’s stage, with a downhill run to the finish.
The course may not be quite as tough or long as the first stage but hot conditions are sure to increase the degree of difficulty, with temperatures forecast to reach the high 30’s.