On Saturday Lauren Kitchen and Julie Leth competed at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race as guest riders for the composite team “Hogs Breath Cafe Tineli”. The race was won by the Australian Champion Amanda Spratt (Orica AIS) who attacked in a breakaway of five. Behind Dani King (Wiggle High5) chased with last year winner and Spratt’s teammate Rachel Neylan on her wheel. Neylan sprinted to second ahead of King. The rest of the breakaway got caught by a group of five were also Lauren where sitting. Lauren was able to finish to a strong 5th place with Julie in the group behind on a good 16th place. This was the duos last race in Australia before heading to Qatar where they will be joined by teammates Kirsten Wild, Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen, Emilie Moberg & Charlotte Becker.
Full results: http://metarace.com.au/road/cegorr/2016_cegorr_wom_Result
First stage offered good weather and 30dgrs on a 19km circuit that was to be encountered 5 times, including intermediate sprints and QOM points. Lauren got into a five rider breakaway with Dani King (Wiggle), Shelley Olds (Cylance), Tiffany Cromwell (SASI) and Kathrin Garfoot (Orica). In the last km Garfoot attacked the group. Lauren managed to close the gap just before the finish to make sure there was no time gap and finished 4th. In the bunch Julie also finished to a top 10.
The second stage was a criterium downtown Adelaide. With no bonus seconds to sprint for, the fight for the jersey would be between the four riders holding same time from stage 1. With four laps to go the race got hectic and Tatiana & Julie was caught in crashes. In the front of the race, Lauren did a great job to finish 5th on the stage and advanced to 2nd overall behind Garfoot.
On stage three, still without bonus seconds to fight for, it was all about placing high in the race to take the advantage for the leader’s jersey. The 100.8km long stage of four laps would be a tough one for the girls with 42dgrs out in the burning sun in addition to hard racing. After several attempts of breakaway, Amanda Spratt (Orica) managed to escape. Behind a chase formed with all the GC contenders (Garfoot, Olds, King & Cromwell) including our Lauren in addition to Lizzie Williams (Orica). Orica played their cards well and as Spratt got caught after hard work by Lauren and Cromwell, Williams attacked and stayed away for the win. In the sprint behind Williams, Garfoot finished 2nd ahead of Lauren in 3rd. Garfoot kept her leader’s jersey for another day, 2 places ahead of Lauren in 2nd. In the bunch Julie got another good top 10 in 9th.
On the last stage, another criterium in Adelaide, Lauren knew she would have to finish 2 places ahead of Garfoot to take the overall. The Hitec girls did all they could, with small number of riders, to protect Lauren. The race finished in a bunch sprint and Lauren eventually finished in 8th place while Garfoot took 3rd and won the overall. With Olds finishing in 4th place she sneaked into a 2nd in the GC leaving Lauren at 3rd overall. A great and solid start to the season. The stage was won by Kimberly Wells (High5).
Team in Australia: Lauren Kitchen, Tatiana Guderzo, Julie Leth and Janicke Gunvaldsen.
While most of the team’s riders are training in the winter cold in Europe, Julie Leth is in Australia where she’s been competing in the four day criterium series Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. Julie has been showing good form in her first competitions since her injury early 2015 season. Racing on a composite team put together for the race Julie has been finishing top ten all week. On the last stage she finished to a great 2nd place behind Lizzie Williams after making it into the decisive move of the day. A good preparation for Julie ahead of the Tour Down Under 16-19 January.
The Australian national championships week is underway and our Lauren Kitchen started the week with a nice bronze medal in the criterium. She got into the nine rider breakaway that stayed together to the line where she sprinted to the bronze medal behind Sophie Mackay and Lizzie Williams. The race was Laurens first race since the world championships in September and reassures Lauren to be on track with training and form ahead of Sundays road race.