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MELBOURNE, Australia (CT) — It was victory in the time trial for Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) on Stage 2 of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour, but even a world champion couldn’t retrieve enough seconds on the 1.6 kilometre course to take the overall tour win from unsigned Australian rider Brodie Chapman (KordaMentha-Australia).
A gap of 12 seconds always looked tough to close on the short course which runs along the restaurant packed riverside of central Melbourne. Even van Vleuten said she felt it wasn’t realistic but, particularly with a stage victory up for grabs, she was still going to give it her all. The Dutch rider could be seen out practicing on the tricky corners and varied surfaces of the track again and again before the event started, determined to give a good performance as she stepped out in her rainbow striped jersey.
“Wearing it makes me proud … and to win in a World Champions jersey in Australia makes me even more proud,” van Vleuten told reporters.
Van Vleuten stopped the clock at 2:09.62, knocking Australian time trial champion Katrin Garfoot (KordaMentha-Australia) off the hot seat and into second while New Zealand time trial champion Georgia Williams (Mitchelton-Scott) came third. Chapman only ceded 7 seconds of her 12 second tour lead to comfortably hold onto the yellow leaders jersey at the first UCI-ranked Women’s Herald Sun Tour.
“It would have been optimistic to really hold her off that much, I mean she is the world time trial champion,” said Chapman. “My prerogative was just to keep it tidy, stay safe and have a good time out there – which is what I did.”
“There was a confidence that I could maintain that gap, or at least some of that gap. But I suppose I was a bit nervous that I might be a bit too cocky in the corners,” said Chapman, a former downhill mountain biker. “I definitely held it back a little bit in order to just get to the finish line.”
Chapman took a breakthrough solo victory on the first 123.5 kilometre stage, managing to cross the line before chasing world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten could catch her on the long downhill run to the finish. The Australian rider, who started off racing on the dir,t has leapt from a tough year of injury into phenomenal form, making her mark at the Australian National Road Championships with 6th place and then finishing off the Australian summer of racing with what is by far the biggest win of her career – so far.
You can find the full results of Stage 2 here.
Want to know more about Chapman? We will be publishing a feature on the revelation of the Aussie summer of racing, who also happens to be our Bike Exchange colleague, on Ella CyclingTips tomorrow.