Williams sprints to silver at the Australian criterium championships

Wed 6 Jan 2016

2015 SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn winner Lizzie Williams has backed up her final day victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic on Monday by sprinting to a silver medal at the Mars Cycling Australia National Criterium Championship this evening.

In an exciting finish, Williams was pipped across the line by New South Wales’ Sophie Mackay after a small group escaped from the bunch in the latter part of racing.

Williams’ podium finish wrapped up an active race by ORICA-AIS, with each of our five representatives featuring in a move at some point during the 33km criterium.

“We rode superbly,” Wiiliams said. “But we are still learning to do a lead out at the moment and whilst we are doing a lot of things right we made some small mistakes and that’s the difference."

“I was in the front before the final corner and I probably punched too hard coming out and didn’t look back to see if we still had the wheel. I’ve never really done a lead out before so it’s all learning for us and you can’t nail it the first time.

“But it’s great to see so many of us in the break, I know I’m in good form too and I’m confident we can go into the road race to try and do one better."  

How it happened:

 A peloton of 33 riders took off in pursuit of the coveted green and gold jersey on offer for the winner of the Australian criterium championship.

The opening laps ahead of the first sprint stayed together before ORICA-AIS’ former road race champion Amanda Spratt was the first to launch a solo break attempt. Unsuccessful, teammate Rachel Neylan counterattacked an managed to ride to a 12second advantage.

Caught with eight laps remaining, it was a case of third time lucky as Williams tried her luck off the front alongside Miranda Griffiths (VIC). The pair were joined by five others, including ORICA-AIS riders Chloe McConville and Sarah Roy, to make a move of seven.

As Griffiths tried to go ahead at the front, Spratt and Ruth Corset (QLD) bridged across to the group and a finale of cat and mouse made for exciting racing.

In the end, the tough uphill sprint was won by Mackay, ahead of Williams and Lauren Kitchen (NSW) with the rest of the field losing time.

The Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships continues with the time trial championships in Buningyong tomorrow.

Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships Criterium - Race Results:
1. Sophie Mackay (NSW) 51:49
2. Lizzie Williams (VIC) ST
3. Lauren Kitchen (NSW) ST