|Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Commonwealth champion Rochelle Gilmore sprinted to second place in the first stage of the Santos Women’s Cup in downtown Adelaide, just beaten by newly-crowned Australian criterium champion Kimberley Wells. The expected bunch sprint came at the end of a highly attacking race on the circuit to be used by the WorldTour men’s peloton in the People’s Choice Classic later in the day.
As the only member of the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team in the race Gilmore was forced to fight for wheels in the peloton, and try to secure her position behind Wells. Sadly the Commonwealth champion was just unable to get her front wheel past the Canberra-based rider, although Wells has been virtually unbeatable in the 2012/13 Australian summer.
“Basically I was out numbered however, had to fight lots of people for the number one wheel [Wells], and timed my run a tiny bit late,” Gilmore commented afterwards. “Perhaps there was no way to beat her today as she’s on top form.
“I look forward to seeing Wells be another Ozzie contesting world class sprints in Europe in the next couple of years,” she added. “It was a last minute decision for me to fly to Adelaide after training this morning in Sydney…
“I delayed my trip to Europe this week to avoid freezing & will arrive just in time for team launch,” she added. “This meant I could delay final packing & spend a day in Adelaide!”
The highly tactical 24km race was punctuated by several attacks, which began in the opening lap, but the race was controlled by Wells’ powerful Specialized-Securitor team and nobody was able to open up a decisive gap on the fast, flat course.
With two of the 1.7km laps to go the peloton was all together and the pace was kept high to prevent any further escapes disrupting the sprinters’ build up. Into the final 300 metres the final dash began, with Gilmore just unable to outpace Wells in a straight drag race to the line.