How the race finished
Loes Adegeest (FDJ-Suez) took her first win on the Women’s World Tour at the Cadel Evans Road Race, out sprinting Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) after the pair got away on the final climb. The chasing bunch behind led in by Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health).
Full results are available below.
How it happened
The peloton took on a 140km loop starting and finishing in Geelong, taking in two laps of a finishing circuit with the steep Challambra Cresent climb. In the early stages of the climb, on the rolling roads and exposed section, the peloton seemed a little nervous, but relatively happy to ride at a steady pace. Keely Bennett (Team Bridgelane WE) and Sophie Edwards (ARA Skip Capital Sunshine Coast) were able to get a gap and form the early break, picking up the points at the first sprint.
The pace picked up as the peloton headed towards the second sprint in Barwon Heads, and the leading pair were brought back. FDJ-Suez drove hard on the front, lining up Copponi perfectly to take the major points on the line. With the pace high, a few riders looked to take their chances to stay away. Jess Allen (Team Jayco AlUla) tried to push on, kicking off a series of attacks behind. But, despite the multiple attempts to force a break away, no one was able make it stick.
With around 44km remaining to race, on the approach back into Geelong, Alisha Wells (ARA Skip Capital Sunshine Coast) struck out alone, but at that point in the race, no one else looked keen to join her. Some ten kilometres later Kerry Jonker (Team Coop – Hitec Products) bridged across. The pair had a minute gap over the peloton behind, but that quickly tumbled as the peloton swept them up in preparation for the final climbs.
Turning onto the first of two finishing laps, Trek-Segafredo and FDJ-Suez took it up on the front to position their leaders through the round-abouts and tight corners before the climb. Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF-Education-Tibco-SVB) was first to attack the climb, opening a significant gap that was quickly bridged by Amanda Spratt (Trek-Segafredo). The reigning Zwift e-sports world champion, Loes Adegeest (FDJ-Suez) came across along with Nikola Noskova (Zaaf Cycling Team), but the quartet were quickly reabsorbed by the peloton. Over the top of the climb, Loes Adegeest held her position at the front to take the Queen of the Mountain points, with Amanda Spratt following close on her tail.
A small group of nine found themselves clear on the descent. Trek-Segafredo and Zaaf Cycling Team were both represented by two riders, while race favourite Grace Brown surprisingly did not have the legs on the climb, leaving Loes Adegeest isolated in the front group for FDJ-Suez. Claire Steels pushed on over a small steep rise as the peloton chased behind, while previous winner Rachel Neylan, riding for team Australia, used the climbing terrain to bridge to the front group. Behind them, a group of around 30 riders led continued to chase, led by the persistence of Team Jayco-AlUla who were all caught behind.
With 17.5km left to race, the chasing bunch pulled the leader back. As they did so, Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo) drove on, creating a small gap. Georgie Howe (Team Jayco AlUla) chased and bridged, rolling across to take the points in the final mid-race sprint of the day. Lauren Stephens (EF-Education-Tibco-SVB) worked hard behind and was also able to eventually make the connection, but the trio were quickly reabsorbed into the peloton, taking up their roles as domestiques once again, working on the front.
With the bunch now reduced to only thirty riders, teams worked to recollect themselves and plan their attacks for the second and final time over the Challambra Cresent climb. Appearing to be setting up for an attack for a teammate, Lauretta Hanson again managed to clip off the front solo, getting a small gap before they even hit the base of the climb. With Hanson holding her position out front, Alex Manly (Team Jayco-AlUla) attacked and bridged across, going straight over the top of Hanson. Brodie Chapman came to the front of the bunch, stringing it out as she hunted down Manly. Sensing an opportunity, Nikola Noskova (Zaaf Cycling Team) flew up the outside, but her move tempted Spratt to respond, with Loes Adegeest once again glued to her wheel. With Spratt holding a high tempo, Noskova was unable to hold the pace. Adegeest came through for the Queen of the Mountain points at the top of the climb, and then the leading pair settled into work together on the 9km rolling descent to the finish line.
Behind them, the chasing peloton had been whittled down again, with Team Jayco-AlUla, Zaaf Cycling Team and EF-Education-Tibco-SVB all well represented and not happy to let the leading duo get away without a fight. On the final pinch climb of the day, Georgia Williams (EF-Education-Tibco-SVB) attacked, drawing two other riders clear with her. But the trio found themselves marked by Brodie Chapman, who policed the move to ensure teammate Amanda Spratt could stay clear in the lead.
Into the finishing straights the gap to the leading duo was coming down, but not quickly enough. Spratt launching first, tricking Adegeest into opening up her sprint early. Spratt slipped behind and tucked onto her wheel, hoping to use Adegeest as a lead out. As they approach the line Spratt kicked again and came off the wheel, nudging up alongside Adegeest. But despite the long sprint she had been forced into, Adegeest seemed to find another gear as well, and one strong pedal stroke put her across the line just ahead of the surging Amanda Spratt. Just behind them, the bunch was led in by Nina Buijsman (Human Powered Health).
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