The third round of the 2013 Women’s Race series was held at Akuna Bay / West Head with 34 female riders across A & B grades for the main road race of the series.
With the initial two rounds having been held on multi loop, flat courses, this was the first race in the series that would actually suit the climbers and give the riders a chance to have a proper road race – a first time experience for many in B Grade. It was fantastic for womens racing to see so many riders putting their names on the sign on sheet.
A grade rolled out with a very strong field of riders and some big names in the bunch with prior winners Sue Forsyth and Amber Jenkins in the bunch representing SUVelo and MWCC had reinforced their arsenal with Cat Haines on the start line. With a neutralised start up Akuna Bay it made for a nice steady start to the race.
Once the bunch turned onto West Head Road it was game on and MWCC rider Cat Haines and SUVelo rider Amber Jenkins made a two women break.
It became fairly obvious that both MWCC and SuVelo girls were going to block the break and leave the other clubs to do the chasing. Sue Forsyth was obviously the main danger sitting in the main bunch and riders would have been waiting for her to launch an attack if the two escapees were brought back or perhaps were waiting to see if she would do her own Cancellara effort and solo bridge up to the breakway. With SUVelo and Manly riders off the front, it was going to become the responsibility of the LACC riders and the lone gunmen to organise the required chase.
Both Cat and Amber did not let up the pace and showed everyone how strong they are, holding off the rest of the bunch for the entire race which is just over 50 kilometres. It was still neck and neck at the finish as the two riders came into view of the finish line, they were no longer working together and instead were duelling it out for the final final sprint. Channeling a Peter Sagan style kick on the uphill sprint it was Cat Haines of MWCC who would take out first place. A fantastic effort from both riders on a very testing course.
It was then the battle for third place once it became clear that the break had a decisive lead and the attacks were beginning to start, mainly from Turramurra and SuVelo. With approx. 5kms to go two riders got away (Turramurra and SuVelo) and were looking like they were going to take out 3rd and 4th place however, MWCC riders Lynne Clarke and Rebecca Snell had other ideas. Lynne began the chase and closed the gap as much as she could. Just as she had almost completely run out of energy Rebecca pulled through to the front and gave her a wheel to sit on and recover, taking her through to the final climb and closing the gap by a significant amount. It was then down to the last pinch climb of the race and Lynne caught the two riders at the top of the hill that had got away. It then became a game of chicken to see who could get on who’s wheel for the final sprint with Lynne taking out 3rd place by a about a wheel length.
A fantastic team effort from Cat, Rebecca and Lynne who all worked really well together as a team and have achieved some excellent results for MWCC.
1.Cat Haines MWCC
2. Amber Jenkins SUVelo
3. Lynne Clarke MWCC
In the B Grade race it was sensational to have 20 women roll out of akuna Bay together and make the torturous climb up the first ascent of Akuna. Sydney CC set the tempo up the climb and the other riders just settled in, with plenty of nervous excitement for a number of debutants.
There was a great mix of clubs within this race including a rider from the Jindabyne Club, Dulwich Hill, Lidcombe Auburn, Sydney, Northern Sydney, Southern Cross, Peloton, Manly and also some first time day licence riders.
Turramurra and SUVelo was brave enough to take the lead from the start of West Head with Sydney CC showing the girls on each hill that they are not to be underestimated. Lana Moy from MWCC showed her strength after 6 months off the bike and it was great to have her back in the racing scene. One of the first time riders in the bunch had left home that morning thinking they were riding out to breakfast, only to have their partner enter them on the morning. So plenty of nervous energy in the bunch on the way out.
The pace picked up just after the halfway mark, and like racing horses the girls were showing their strength on each hill trying to hurt each other. Suddenly there were no more niceties and the battle was on. Turramurra kept on attacking the main bunch looking for the decisive break and finally the elastic band broke and a small break of 3 containing Monique Steger of Peloton Sports/Turramurra, Veronica Fardell of SUVelo and Martinette Van Vuuren of MWCC, established the break.
Martinette Van Vuuren the victor in the first two rounds, found herself in the break – in the post race media conference she described the decisive moment in the race
“My legs were shouting and I was pedaling squares but I hung in there, and got over the hill in a breakaway . These girls pushed the pace in order to open the gap between us and the bunch. I was toast by the time we hit the last hill – which I now have renamed heartbreak hill.”
Martinette with her legging screaming used her race experience to drop to the back of the breakaway and get a brief respite while the other riders lead into the finish, which has a subtle little rise. That short moment of recovery was enough to give her the edge, because once the finish line came into sight, the adrenaline was pumping and she released a final kick which was enough to edge out the other two riders.
That victory ensured that Martinette maintains an unbeaten three victories in the B Grade series.
1. Martinette Van Vuuren MWCC
2. Monique Steger Peloton Sports
3. Veronica Fardell SUVelo
Well done to all riders who participated and raced in the event, we hope you enjoyed your road racing experience.
The final race in the series will be held 4th May at the Lidcombe Auburn Criterium at Lansdowne Park.