Nettie Edmondson Sprints to Second in Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic OpenerThu 2 Jan 2014
Nettie Edmondson sprinted to second in the opening race of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. The Ritchie Boulevard criterium ended in a bunch sprint won by former World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda). Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized Securitor) rounded out the podium.
“We were out to win, so second is a little disappointing,” admitted Edmondson. “I was on Bronzini’s wheel, and I had nothing compared to her. She was the strongest today, and she deserved to win. We’re looking to change things around sometime in the next three days and get one up on her.”
Edmondson lined up for the first race of the season as the protected rider for ORICA-AIS. Coming off strong results on the track, she offered her team the best option for a result in a sprint finish.
“We planned to look after Nettie in the sprint,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “We were confident she could win on this circuit. She went close but we mistimed the sprint a little bit.”
“Beyond the finish, we expected the race today to give us a good indication of where everyone is at in terms of race fitness,” Bates added. “The hot dog course we raced on today is a really difficult one. Nearly half the field abandoned.”
Peta Mullens (Wiggle Honda) launched the first attack of the evening. Cromwell led the chase to bring Mullens back to the field. Within two laps, Cromwell’s efforts led to Mullens’ capture. The accelerations shattered the field.
“I don’t have much to compare to because this is only my second time racing here,” said Edmondson. “Two years ago, I really struggled. I came in overdone after doing a lot of track racing. Today was a bit better, but I still had a hard time with positioning during the majority of the race. The team did a good job of racing defensively. We were in every move.”
New recruit Valentina Scandolara was particularly attentive to action at the head of the field. She repeatedly covered attacks, putting herself in several short-lived breakaways. Despite the blistering pace and constant movement, a reduced peloton began to ready for a bunch sprint inside the final five laps.
“The team brought me up with four laps left,” explained Edmondson. “All was good with our lead out train until the final corner when our former teammate, Tiff Cromwell, attacked us on the inside. Her move messed up the train a little bit.”
“I recovered by the time I opened my sprint,” Edmondson added. “Giorgia was quicker today. There was no way I could come around her. With three more days of racing, we have three more chances. It’s not a bad start today, but we’re definitely after a win.”