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BALLARAT, Australia (CT) – Rebecca Wiasak (ACT) has taken out the elite women’s criterium at Australia’s FedUni Road National Championships, with the track-focussed athlete outfoxing the big teams to take out a tight sprint finish.
The 2014 Australian crit champion Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) came second and two-time crit champion Kimberley Wells (Holden Team Gusto) battled through a cold to come third. Fourth overall was Kristina Clonan (QAS) who was also the winner of the Under 23 category, which races with the elite women.
Wiasak, a stand out performer in criteriums in the National Road Series, doesn’t usually have the chance to race the Road Nats due to track commitments. This meant she was determined to make the most of this opportunity.
To do so, the dual-track World Champion had to play it smart as she was flying solo and didn’t have the strength of a team behind her to chase down moves, which there were plenty of.
Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) and Lauren Kitchen (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) were among those that were particularly aggressive in jumping off the front. However none of the breaks stuck for long. As things played out at the head of the field Wiasak sat at the back through most of the race, then near the end positioned herself among the sprint trains.
“I did my own thing, picked my own line, went on the left barrier and Sarah Roy had her team up on the right,” said Wiasak. “So it was pretty much a drag race from opposite sides of the course and I was pretty pumped to take the win.”
With her attention on the track in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane the road focussed training has been thin on the ground for Wiasak. She believes that may hamper her over the rest of the week. Today, however, her track training was clearly preparation that worked.
“In the crit anything can happen. It’s just being smart conserving energy where you can and making a move where it counts,” said Wiasak.
The criterium is raced on hot dog circuit, with 1.1 kilometre long laps, in central Ballarat. The western Victorian city has been home to the Australian Road Nats for the past 12 years.
Earlier in the day Sarah Gigante (Holden Team Gusto) won the Under 19 title with an impressively emphatic win. So emphatic that she lapped the peloton.
Ella CyclingTips will be on the ground covering the Road Nats for the rest of this week so for all the women’s cycling news week so keep an eye on CyclingTips, Ella CyclingTips Instagram and Facebook.