The final guest blog from Gethin and Nikki – with videos below!
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
Wiggle Honda‘s report