On a hot day in Buninyong, 65 U23 and Elite women lined up to race the Cycling Australia National Road Championships.
An early break of three formed including Shara Gillow, Ellen Skerritt and Jenelle Crooks, with Gillow and Skerritt doing the bulk of the work while Crooks played the role of policewoman for Orica-Scott.
On the 6th lap, a chase group of five caught the three leaders, with break of the day forming from Orica-Scott duo Katrin Garfoot and Amanda Spratt, with Queensland’s Lucy Kennedy in hot pursuit.
Meanwhile, the pace, temperature and strong crosswinds whittled down the U23 category to just four riders, with Alex Manly, Jaime Gunning, Ella Scanlan Bloor and Emily Parkes all together in the peloton.
With one lap to go, the Orica-Scott duo were left to fight it out amongst themselves for the gold, while Kennedy, less than a minute behind, turned herself inside out to stay ahead of the chase group led by Carlee Taylor and Jenelle Crooks. Race favourite Peta Mullens was caught out early and led home the peloton, 6 minutes behind the leaders.
Coming into the final 500m, time trial champion Garfoot kicked early with defending champion Spratt attempting to come around, but unable to overcome her strong teammate. Kennedy bravely hung on to her gap to take home the bronze medal.
In the U23 race, Manly sprinted alongside her Orica-Scott teammates to pick up the gold medal, with Gunning and Parkes closing out the top three in the bunch sprint.
Congratulations to Orica-Scott for completing the double double – both Katrin Garfoot and Alex Manly won both the time trial and road race! The team also won the sprint classification with Amanda Spratt on 5 points. The mountain classification was won by Queensland’s Shara Gillow.
Well done to everyone who pinned on a number, especially the 38 women who finished in gruelling conditions!