By Jamie Finch-Penninger – @FishysCP [Taken from PelotonCafe.com.au]
An early contender for shortest road race of the year, the 20.4 kilometre Stage 2 of the Santos Women’s Tour ended with Annette EDMONDSON (Wiggle High 5) benefiting from a perfect Chloe HOSKING (Wiggle High 5) leadout to win the stage. Hosking held on from 2nd, with Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS) coming third.
The stage acted as the curtain raiser for the men’s Tour Down Under prologue and it offered some of the biggest crowds that the women ever get to race in front of. The racing got off to a controlled start, with the attacks quickly brought back, with Minda Murray (Rush) the longest lasting move. With the big teams staying attentive near or on the front it was always going to be hard to get away and that proved the case for the entire race, with the main talking point being Lauretta Hanson (Rush) jumping out of the pack on each of the sprint points laps to extend her lead in the intermediate sprint points jersey.
With the race so controlled, it was unfortunately a late crash that broke up the race, with about a third of the peloton caught behind the spill, including stage contender and Australian Criterium champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized). The other main riders kept themselves up the front and managed to avoid the carnage, and going into the final lap, it was Orica-AiS and Wiggle High 5 duelling for the front position. With just over a kilometre remaining, the Orica-AIS riders raised the pace and forced a gap in the field and as Chloe McConville (Orica-AIS) pulled off the front, Lizzie Williams had about 300 metres to sprint to take the win. However, Chloe HOSKING had done a superb effort to bridge the gap, and powered past to leave Edmondson to just step off her wheel with 150 metres remaining to take the win. Edmondson spoke to Peloton Café after the stage.
“I’ve been doing a big track program at the moment, so I wasn’t quite sure how I’d go in the road race yesterday or tomorrow, so I definitely really wanted to get this one. The Orica girls hit us early on the back corner, they took it really wide and really fast, so they gapped us, but Chloe HOSKING, my leadout girl was straight onto it, so then she just lead me out in the back straight and then I just had to slip off her wheel. For her to hang on for 2nd was incredible. We really wanted a stage win, that was the priority today, but we also have Dani King up there in the GC and mountains jersey, so tomorrow’s going to be about her.”
“I believed in myself because my legs were pretty good a couple of days ago, and even yesterday in the hills for the bunch kick. But also because I have one of the best sprinters in the world working for me today and you can’t fault that sort of team, so I had a lot of confidence. This is one of the only road races that I’ll do this year, I’ve been here four times before, so to finally come out on top was really special.”