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HEALESVILLE, Australia (CT) – An action packed first stage of the 2.2 ranked Women’s Herald Sun Tour ended with a breakthrough solo victory for local talent Brodie Chapman (KordaMentha-Australia).
Just months ago Chapman was having to pick herself up from her second on the bike injury for the year, that had left her spending time at the hospital and unable to ride yet again. But now the multi-discipline rider has taken an already impressive comeback – after riding into sixth at the Australian Road Nationals –to a whole new level.
The full time office worker rode away from a field packed with top European professionals to stay ahead of a closing world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) on the downhill run into the line of the 123.5 kilometre stage.
“I think it was good that I didn’t know it was the world time trial champ [behind me] and retrospectively it makes me nervous,” Chapman told reporters after winning the first UCI-ranked edition of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour. “But when you’re out there you don’t have time to be thinking about not not doing the best you can.”
“I’ve just had so many opportunities taken away through injury and life so when I do get a chance I want to give it my best,” said Chapman. This was the Shimano sponsored rider’s first race with the talent packed Australian National team, which includes Katrin Garfoot, Tiffany Cromwell and Rachel Neylan.
The versatile cyclist, who just moved from Melbourne to Sydney over Christmas, was aggressive from the first Queen of the Mountain climb around 50 kilometres into the two-day stage race. The former downhill mountain biker took advantage of a small downhill in the climb to stretch out a gap on the splintering field.
After the climb Chapman was joined by a small group, but later took off again solo. While van Vleuten managed to reel in the gap considerably, Chapman managed to hold on right down the descent off the final Cat 1 rated QOM until the finish line 20 kilometres away.
Hear more from Chapman about how the race played out in this video:
Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) took third by winning the sprint from a bunch that had been hugely reduced on the Cat 2 and Cat 1 climbs. The uphill sections had split the field and provided a launching point for a constant stream of attacks.
In the end, with time bonuses, Chapman carries a 12 second gap ahead of van Vleuten into the second and final stage, a 1.6 kilometre time trial. It’s a gap even the world time trial champion thinks is going to be tough to make up over such a short distance.
“You never know – it is a bike race,” said van Vleuten when asked of her prospects. “I will give everything to win. I am very proud to wear my rainbow jersey. But 12 seconds over 1.6-kilometres – I think she would have to walk.”
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