Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Deakin University Elite Women’s Race (1.2)
The first one day race of the year kicks off again in Australia. The Great Ocean Road Race may be in only its third year, but has already attracted the biggest names in women’s cycling, including sprint queens Chloe Hosking and Kristen Wild. The event, which is said to be the Australian version of a European Spring Classic, runs 113km (70 miles) through the Victorian seaside, starting and finishing in Geelong.
The early cross winds split the field with less than 40 riders making it into the select front group. This allowed Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) to take the first of two intermediate sprints. Shortly after, the peloton regrouped with the second intermediate sprint quickly approaching. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica Scott) took that sprint and soon thereafter Ruth Winder (United Healthcare) took the QOM at Bells Beach. All of these smaller prizes occurred in an exciting first 60 kilometers of the race.
These in race competitions will yield a winner who will take home a jersey as the winner of the sprint points, mountain points, and best young rider classifications. There is no jersey, however, for the race’s winner.
At this point, the race headed back towards Geelong with a relatively intact peloton. A few attacks went up the road with none being able to stick. By the time the race made it to the final day’s QOM, the race was back together, save for the lone Emma Pooley (Holden Cycling) who took the second QOM.
With only 13km to go to finish, it was an all out race through the fast decent into Queen’s Park and over to the waterfront for the finish. There was a strong chase effort to bring Pooley into an elite group of five as the quintet entered the finishing straight. The five riders sprinted for the win with the strongest by far being the Orica Scott rider Annemiek van Vleuten. She took the win by over two bike lengths ahead of UHC’s Ruth Winder and Wiggle High5’s Mayuko Hagiwara. With the win, van Vleuten makes it two in a row for the Greenedge cycling squad at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
The men’s version of the race will take place tomorrow and will include an additional 2 and a half circuits of Geelong.
The women’s peloton will next head to Europe to take on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 25th.