Williams podiums on debut at Bay CritsFri 2 Jan 2015
New recruit Lizzie Williams has featured on the podium in her debut race for ORICA-AIS, finishing third in the opening criterium of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic this afternoon.
Williams finished behind Chloe Hosking (Wiggle Down Under) and Lauren Kitchen (Roxsolt) from a breakaway of five riders in the first race of 2015.
“I feel really happy that we got the colours up on the podium,” Williams said. “Unfortunately I couldn’t get them on that top step but we have three more days to go.”
Racing was active throughout the full 45minute criterium, ORICA-AIS going with each of the attempted breakaways early in the day.
A breakaway of 11, featuring Williams land Australia road race champion Gracie Elvin, looked most dangerous but was surprisingly brought back by the chasing peloton. A well-timed counter by Williams developed the winning move.
“The rest of the team were great in covering the moves in the first 25minutes and I was sitting and conserving,” Williams said. “Then I saw an opening and went for it and that was the right move.”
“In the final sprint I probably wasted a little bit too much energy down the back straight to go into the corner second and unfortunately didn’t have the legs in the final ten metres. But you learn every race and tomorrow is a new day.”
Sport director Gene Bates echoed Williams, impressed with the contributions from the entire team and excited about the opening ride by the 31-year-old.
“The girls were all really good,” Bates said. “We had (Amanda) Spratt there early and Gracie (Elvin) had a real red hot crack in the middle. We thought that move would have stuck to the finish but Bicycle Superstore brought it back together.”
“Everyone played a great role in getting that move away and putting their faith in Lizzie.
“It’s not easy (for Williams), first race for the team and big expectations on herself but she rode really well. There were a couple of little errors in the finish but we can work on that which is great for her and for the team moving forward.”
Williams’ fellow new recruit and reigning national criterium champion Sarah Roy’s debut was postponed due to illness, but with the new series rules will have the opportunity to pull on her new ORICA-AIS kit over the coming days.
The Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic will remain in Geelong for day two, shifting just up the road to Eastern Park. A two-kilometre circuit of the Gardens with a long straight to the finish will meet the riders in a day likely to suit to the roadies.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARK GUNTER.