Cycling-Inform women's team ready on the start line pre Division 1 - Cykel criterium round1. Photo courtesy of Kirsty Baxter Photograpy.
Sunday 16th December was the first race of the 2013 Cykel Women's Grand Prix criterium series and was the first race for the new 2013 Cycling-Inform Women's Team.
The event attacted 129 entries and was held at Casey Fields in Cranbourne, Melbourne. It is typically a windy course and this day was no exception. The format of the series is to first race a prologue that seeds the riders based on these times, then the field is split into division 1 & 2. This year there was also a novice division.
Although team entries were limited to 5 riders, Cycling-Inform had 6 women at the event with 1 rider riding in a compisite team for this round. The Cycling-Inform women's team is Lisa Hanley, Bridget Slocum, Kerrie Baumgartner, Karin Coles, Kate Mullarkey and myself (Jodie Batchelor).
With all 6 Cycling-Inform riders qualified for division 1 we talked a few strategies prior to the race but with a huge field and a list of who's who in the event with support from some strong teams, plus the wind it was always going to be a tough days racing.
Cycling-Inform were well positioned as division 1 lined up on the start line and just as well as the break formed as soon as racing started with Clare Dallat (BSS) and one of the Specialized riders and Cycling-Inform's Lisa Hanley. The break stayed away for quite a few laps but eventually the field was all together again. As the wind increased as did the pace a few riders found the pace a little too much and the lead bunch began to thin, although not soon enough with a big crach occurring about 40 minutes into the race. With about 5 riders going down and unfortunatley for our team Karin being the most injured. The race was neutralised whilst she was attended to by the ambulance.
After the accident many riders decided that was the end of their day including the rest of the Cycling-Inform team except for Lisa. The race restarted as a bunch, with previous time gaps not honoured and the riders were given 4 laps, it was going to be a sprint derby to the end. Although the field got strung out with some strong riding from the Total Rush and BSS teams the sprint was won by Nicole Whitburn (Liv/Giant) followed by Jenny Macpherson (StayTrueRacing) and Kate Finegan (Building Champions Squad). Lisa finished a very credible 5th in the final sprint.
Cycling-Inform team warming up for the prologue under sponsors marquee
As a first race for the new team it was a great effort although the outcome of Karin being injured was not to plan. Karin has a dislocation only and will be training and racing with the team upon recovery.