Nettie Edmondson Secures Second Overall at Mitchelton Bay Cycling ClassicSun 5 Jan 2014
Williamstown was treated to a field sprint on the final day of racing at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Race leader Giorgia Bronzini took her third win in four days to secure the overall victory. Behind Bronzini, Valentina Scandolara edged out Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized Securitor) for second place.
Although she lost her sprint train in the last half-lap, Nettie Edmondson managed fifth in the finish. The result was enough to allow Edmondson to hold onto second overall. While a race win remained elusive, ORICA-AIS showed strong form and true team spirit over the season opening series.
“I’m really happy with how the team started the 2014 season,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “We’re in a similar position in terms of fitness to this time last year. I can tell everyone did the proper preparation for our early season goals. We’ll head into the next races in Ballarat, Adelaide and Qatar with a lot of confidence.”
The final day of racing was dominated by a five rider breakaway that included Loes Gunnewijk and Jessie Maclean. The ORICA-AIS pair was joined by Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda), Sarah Roy (Roxsolt) and trade teammate Gracie Elvin, riding for the Jayco National Team in Geelong.
“Our plan today was to race aggressively and get into a breakaway,” explained Bates. “If it came down to a bunch sprint, we planned to set up Nettie and try to get the better of Bronzini. We ticked nearly every box.”
“The team was excellent,” Bates continued. “Valentina was very aggressive as usual. They were all aggressive. Eventually, we put two riders in a five rider break. It was one of those moves that had the right combination to put distance between itself and the field.”
Gunnewijk, MacLean, Elvin and Roy were happy to work together to build their lead. With her teammate in yellow, Villumsen was unwilling to contribute to the work.
“Obviously Villumsen wasn’t going to do much with Bronzini back in the bunch,” noted Bates. “She did as little as possible. The other four worked well together. Loes tried to get away a few times. She knew she wasn’t going to be the fastest from a small group. She attacked a few times to no avail.”
“A few individuals tried to bring back the leaders,” Bates continued. “Tiff’s Specialized team had a crack. A few other teams had a go, too. Their efforts only maintained the gap. Then, the Dhb Dream Team really put in a concerted effort to close down the breakaway. It was all over right at the start of two laps to go.”
Scandolara was meant to be the final lead-out for Edmondson. When Edmondson lost her wheel, the Italian was forced to sprint for the win.
“Spratty [Amanda Spratt] and Valentina were doing their jobs perfectly as the team tried to set up Nettie for the finish,” explained Bates. “Nettie just lost the wheel in the last two corners. It became evident at that point that we’d need to look at Valentina for a result.”
“It was a bit of a mess,” admitted Scandolara. “We knew Nettie wasn’t on my wheel, but we couldn’t slow down at that point in the lead-out. Nettie shouted at me ‘You sprint!’ in the last moment. We had already planned that Spratty would leave me 500 metres from the finish. She did that as we planned.”
“There wasn’t any time to make adjustments, so I just said: ‘Ok, I go’ and that’s what I did,” added Scandolara. “I opened the sprint at 500 metres, and I went as fast as I could. Bronzini came around me before the line, and I was the second one across.”
Scandolara surprised herself with her early season form.
“I’m really surprised with my fitness,” said Scandolara. “I only did a little training, so it was a very, very good surprise to have such good form. My focus is on the second half of the European season, so I’m not usually this good so early.”
“To race with this team has been amazing,” Scandolara added. “It’s easy with this team. You know they are always there, and they will always do their job. I’m happy to work with them and for them.”