The 2015 Santos Women’s our Down Under wrapped up with a crit held in Victoria Park on the outskirts of Adelaide’s CBD. This time the women weren’t sharing the stage with the men, which meant a longer stage at 60 mins + 3 laps. A sizeable crowd was on hand to watch as Orica AIS continued their domination of the race, launching Melissa Hoskins to the stage victory, winning the overall team prize and keeping Valentina Scandolara in the race leader’s jersey that she made her own on Stage 1 and kept through the rest of the race.
The format of the race made for a brutal pace in the first half an hour. The organisers had scheduled 6 sprints in the first 16 laps with 3 counting towards the Sprint jersey and 3 towards the KOM jersey. This meant that the teams still in contention for prizes put the hammer down from the first lap. By the time we got to the first sprint at the end of lap 5, the field had split badly – with a lead bunch of around 25 riders getting half a lap and staying out until the remaining 5 sprints were done.
After the dust settled we had our first two jersey winners. Annette Edmondson of Wiggle only scored points in one of the three sprints but that was enough to secure the green jersey whilst Loren Rowney of Roxsolt managed to take 10 of 15 points towards KOM to keep her in polka-dots. There’s an argument (alright, it’s my argument…) to say that it’s a bit daft having 5 of 9 sets of KOM points decided on pancake flat crit courses but them’s the rules…
The race then settled into a lull as the front group eased off the pace allowing the riders who’d been dropped to catch back up again. That’s not to say the pace for the second half an hour was slow – it was merely fast rather than suicidal! One rider who seemed to be enjoying it was Bridie O’Donnell who was doing some massive turns on the front – I can only assume that she’s got a “pain cave” the size of Cheddar Gorge as the riders behind her definitely didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves.
Orica knew all they had to do at this point was control the race and get Vale over the line in the front group. The only sign of resistance to this was Chloe Hosking of Wiggle launching an attack with 5 mins left of the hour. It lasted as long as a bacon sandwich does with me when I’ve got a hangover as Vale covered the move and brought Chloe back inside half a lap.
Not only did Orica manage to get Vale home in the first group but Melissa Hoskins beat out former world champion Giorgia Bronzini for the second time in two crit stages. The delight on the faces of the Orica riders was evident – they’re obviously such a close knit team and every single rider came over the line celebrating like they’d won themselves.
Over four days of racing Orica proved themselves very capable champions but the other domestic Australian teams also showed what a competitive series the NRS will be this year. Hopefully the Women’s Tour Down Under can keep thriving – and we’ll post some reflections on how it could do that in a future post.
Many thanks for reading and feeding back on the articles, interviews and photos. It’s the first time Nikki or I ha
ve done anything like this – and it;s been a lot of fun. Many thanks as well to the riders and team staff who’ve been interviewed and photographed and helped us to get these reports to you.
- Valentina Scandolara (Orica) 4h47:54
- Melissa Hoskins (Orica) +0h06
- Loren Rowney (Roxsolt) +0h06
- Annette Edmondson (Wiggle) – 22 points
- Melissa Hoskins (Orica) – 12 points
- Giorgia Brnzini (Wiggle) – 9 points
- Loren Rowney (Roxsolt) – 26 points
- Valentina Scandolara (Orica) – 15 points
- Melissa Hoskins (Orica) – 9 points
- Orica AIS
- Holden Women’s Cycling Team
It was a successful day for both Italian riders at Stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under as action moved back onto the road. A tough 71km course from Tanunda in the heart of the Barossa Valley wine region, to Campbelltown on the outskirts of Adelaide whittled the peloton down to 9 riders at the finish as Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle) won the bunch sprint. The group contained race leader Valentina Scandolara (Orica AIS) who finished with the same time to make sure she retained the Blue Leader’s Jersey and put herself in an excellent position to take the GC after tomorrow’s final crit.
It’s a weird time right now, and I’m reminded of something that’s come and gone a lot for me in the last year – why I’m not more outraged about women’s cycling.
So, it’s the Tour Down Under in Australia. When they announced this, and Cadel’s race, I was really pissed off that they weren’t UCI races, and that there are no UCI races at all in Australia, so their riders have to go overseas to get points to qualify for the Worlds and Olympics (and it’s SO much more expensive for Aussies to get to UCI races than eg for Brits). And now there’s a ton of conversation on twitter about how outrageous it is that there’s no live coverage of the women’s race, while the men’s race is bigged up everywhere.
And I agree, absolutely I agree, but I’m in this strange place right now. It’s January, I have my usual SAD and life has been punching me in the face this month. I’m exhausted, and I’ve got to that stage where getting angry about cycling doesn’t help me, it just makes me feel worse. And honestly, I don’t know what I can do about it. I’ve been writing about women’s cycling for years, and I still don’t know how to effect the slightest change. So I’m focusing on pulling together posts of videos and photos and such, and celebrating what we have, because right now, that’s what I can do.
But by doing this, am I part of the problem? Am I letting races off the hook and pretending everything’s A-OK? Have I been dragged down into accepting how things are when I should be speaking up and using my tiny corner of the internet to call for more? I just don’t know. When I pull together video posts, it’s to promote what we do have, but am I papering over cracks? I honestly don’t know, and of course the overthinking doesn’t help. I guess the fact I’m not doing the podcasts with Dan, while he’s taking the winter off, means I’m not having that regular ranting spot that helped me, because it was in the context of a wider conversation, so it wasn’t just focusing on negatives.
Anyway. If you have thoughts, let me know – and if anyone wants to write a guest blog with the videos of the Tour Femenino de San Luis in them, I’d love that too. I didn’t have the energy to follow that race, and check out the videos there are, it was really easy to. I’m gutted I missed it, but real life etc…
Our friends Nikki and Gethin are out in Adelaide, and sending us daily reports from the women’s Tour Down Under. Thank you so much! I’ll be adding any videos of the day’s stage to the bottom of the post as I find them.
Action moved to the 2km long city centre Crit course in Rymill Park, central Adelaide for Stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour. The women were sharing the stage with the People’s Choice Classic – the traditional curtain raiser for the men’s event which followed on immediately afterwards, so benefited from much bigger crowds than at Stage 1 yesterday.
It was another great day for Orica AIS as Mellisa Hoskins beat out Kimberly Wells of High 5 Dream Team. The bunch sprint meant that Valentina Scandolara retained the leader’s jersey that she gained in an attack-fest Stage 1.
Today saw Stage One of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under take place – a 59km road stage from Woodside on the outskirts of Adelaide to Murray Bridge, in true Aussie plain talking style, a town with a bridge over the Murray river!
The 2014/5 Track World Cup season is only three rounds long, and finishes this weekend in Cali, Colombia, running from 16th-18th January 2015. It’s the last chance this season to get the points to get to Worlds, and it counts towards Olympic qualification, so it should be fast and furious racing. There’ll be some limited live coverage, on Sunday, so I’m here to tell you how to watch that, and how I’ll be following it live-ish, the rest of the time.
First, television. Here’s the UCI’s broadcast schedule, including streaming – and here’s their live feed for Sunday 18th January:
This will start at 4pm local COT time (same as USA EST; 9pm UK GMT; 20:00 European CET; 1pm USA PST; 8am Monday Australian AEDT) – it will be a mix of live streaming and highlights from the previous days’ racing.
It’s still road racing time in Australia, and we’re so lucky, our good friends Nikki and Gethin are down at the Tour Down Under, blogging for us – here’s their race preview! Come back for more throughout the race, follow them on twitter and on their travel blog.
We’re away travelling at the moment and more by luck than judgement we find ourselves in Australia at the height of their road racing season. At this time of year, most of Australia’s best riders are home from Europe & join the domestic riders for a number of events either side of the Aussie nationals – held last week in Ballarat, Victoria (a couple of hours from Melbourne). We’d already blogged for Neutral Service about the Bay Crits in Melbourne, then we were delighted to discover that the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide is also running a 4 stage women’s race alongside the UCI-rated men’s event. We’d already thought about going over and combining the men’s race with a couple of days indulging our inner wine-ponce in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. The women’s race sealed the deal, so here we are in Adelaide….