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by Shane Stokes
September 14, 2017
Photography by Today's feature image is from Switzerland and is by Tim Bardsley-Smith
Wellens solos to Grand Prix de Wallonie success; Albasini quickest in Coppa Agostoni sprint; Stage 2 of PostNord Danmark Rundt cancelled; Sarah Hammond wins her second consecutive Race to the Rock; Froome to lead Sky squad in world championship team time trial; Cycling Australia selectors told to reconsider women’s Road Worlds team; Brambilla moves to Trek-Segafredo on two-year contract; Aqua Blue Sport signs European Under 23 champion Pedersen; Dani King announces return to Revolution race series; Wiles moves to Drops Cycling Team; Knox turns pro with Quick-Step Floors; Video: Michael Rogers announces VirtuGo; Video: Adolf Silva Crash I Suzuki Nine Knights MTB 2017.
Sarah Hammond has again won the Race to the Rock after slogging her way 3,010 kilometres across the remote Australian outback at an unrelenting pace.
It’s the second year running that Hammond, the sole female rider in the race, has won the self-supported ultra-endurance event to Uluru. This year she took 11 days and around 8 hours to work her way from Albany in Western Australia right into the heart of central Australia. It was a course that traversed tight overgrown mountain bike trails and sandy roads with gaps of hundreds of kilometres between supplies.
Hammond has been out the front the majority of the race, but there were times in the last couple of days when it looked like second placed rider Kevin Benkenstein may be challenging her lead, reeling her in to within 30 kilometres. But Hammond’s unceasing ability to just keep going, particularly when the end is in sight, saw her pull the gap right back out again. By the time she reached the finish, Benkenstein was nearly 200 kilometres behind.
Hammond, a relatively recent convert to the sport, made the ultra-endurance community stand up and take notice when she placed six in her first race, the 7,000 kilometre 2016 Trans Am. Then she went on to win the first Race to the Rock just months later.
The tight racing at the end made it a very different race to last year’s edition. This year, in contrast it looks like there could be a number of finishers, with experienced South African rider Benkenstein likely to reach Uluru within a day. So may chief instigator Jesse Carlsson, who set a scorching pace up Western Australia on the Munda Biddi trail and continued it into the goldfields region and the remote centre.
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