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by Matt de Neef
January 5, 2020
WILLIAMSTOWN, Australia (CT) – Chloe Hosking (Lexus of Blackburn) has taken out her second overall title at the Bay Crits after claiming her second stage win in as many days.
Hosking won the bunch sprint in Williamstown on Sunday despite having the support of just two teammates — Sarah Gigante and Jess Allen. Hosking’s teammate Shannon Malseed was a non-starter after breaking her scapula and T11 vertebra in a crash on stage 2 and Amanda Spratt and Lauren Kitchen also didn’t start after crashing in a warm-up ride around Williamstown.
But with Gigante controlling the race, Hosking was able to wait for the final sprint where she outkicked Lotta Lepisto (Trek-Segafredo) and Peta Mullens (Roxsolt-Attaquer) to win the stage and the overall.
Hosking’s overall victory adds to the win she claimed back in 2015.
“I actually didn’t come in with any expectation to win,” Hosking said. “I came into the week feeling a bit flat and just haven’t been thrilled with my pre-season preparation. So I feel like I’ve ridden into it and I’m starting to feel more fresh, more explosive, more powerful. So, all positives.”
The elite men’s race was a masterclass from Kaden Groves (Novotel-Mitchelton) and Michael Freiberg (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) who managed to lap the field. The pair got clear after 10 minutes of the one-hour criterium and worked well together to build a large advantage.
“Durbo [Luke Durbridge – Groves’ teammate] was on the front when Freibs went,” Groves said. “It was pretty early on so I thought ‘[to] save riding the front I’ll follow and maybe if I can get away then it takes the pressure off the guys in the bunch.’
“We sort of rode the race in three parts. First 15 minutes full gas, then we settled down for 15, and then we chased real hard to get across the gap.”
The pair made contact with the back of the peloton after 43 minutes. With three laps to go the peloton contested the sprint for third place, with Sam Welsford (Lexus of Blackburn) first across the line to secure the overall title.
“It’s always good to start the year off with a good win,” said Welsford. “There’s a lot of history in this race. I used to watch this race at home as a kid so for me to be on the top step and wearing this yellow jersey at the final stage is pretty special for me.”
After the bunch sprint for third, Groves and Freiberg were then left to ride the last three laps alone. Groves led through the final corner and comfortably beat Freiberg in the sprint.
The Australian summer of cycling continues in Ballarat on Wednesday with the Australian Road National Championships.
Follow the link for full results from the 2020 Lexus of Blackburn Bay Crits.