Crashes Mar Elite Women's Criterium at the Australian National ChampionshipsThu 9 Jan 2014
With two of the fastest finishers in the field amongst the team’s four rider line-up, ORICA-AIS had high hopes of capturing the criterium national title at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships. These hopes were dashed when Gracie Elvin crashed out of the race during the opening ten minutes and Nettie Edmondson and Jessie MacLean hit the deck at full speed 100 metres from the line. Sarah Roy (Vienne Futuroscope) edged out Peta Mullens (Wiggle Honda) for the win. Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products UCK) rounded out the podium.
“They’re all fine,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “They’ve lost a bit of skin, but they were pretty lucky – especially Nettie. She fell at top speed and escaped with only a few scrapes and bumps.”
A fast, feisty start led to the crash that eliminated Elvin. Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK), who won the second stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic last week, went down at the same time. Both riders had been touted as pre-race favourites.
“The early crash took out two of the favourites, which changed the race dynamic slightly,” noted Bates. “Gracie wasn’t hurt and would have liked to have jumped back in the race, but her bike was badly damaged. She couldn’t get back in straight away, so she was out. It was the same for Chloe.”
“The idea for the rest of the race was to be as aggressive as possible with Jessie [MacLean] and Carlee [Taylor],” Bates added. “We wanted to force the other sprinters to work. The other teams seemed intent on getting to the finish together, which suited us just fine.”
MacLean jumped away from the field in a short-lived solo move and Taylor spent a significant portion of the second half of the race on the front of the field. Edmondson stayed close to MacLean, saving her energy for the bunch sprint.
“Jessie and Carlee did a great job attacking and covering moves,” said Bates. “There were a few small attacks but none gained any time. It was a negative race today, and it became obvious near the end that we were lining up for a field sprint.”
Edmondson kept herself well-positioned in the pack, gluing herself to MacLean’s wheel. She made the most of her short but powerful sprint train in the run in towards the finish.
“Nettie was the quickest in the remaining bunch on paper,” said Bates. “We were quietly confident in her chances. There was a tangle of wheels in the final 100 metres, and both Nettie and Jessie went down. It was really unfortunate. Hopefully we got the team’s bad luck out of the way today. A win today would have been nice, but our big focus is on Saturday’s road race.”