Elite Women’s Update
Division One: MBA Blackchrome
Super Series Round Eight
It was the first truly warm round of the Super Series with temperatures above 38 degrees, and a fair degree of humidity. Unfortunately the field was also fairly hot, with a slew of State and National track representatives on hand to make the competition aggressive. The SASI riders had made calculation on the gap to the leader’s jersey, and had clearly come out to take it. As expected the attacks were fast and plentiful, with the SASI teams having more than enough candidates to keep pushing the pace. Alison, Jess and Victoria were well organised and met the high accelerations. Half way into the race, the pace and the heat were starting to thin the field. Jess was feeling reasonably ambitious and led out a break attempt with three laps to go. The elastic band stretched and heaved, but did not break with the top fifteen riders surging into the last two laps. Alison was only just off the pace with a small chase bunch which was working hard to close the gap heading into the final lap. The effort of her earlier attack left Jess out of gas, finishing just outside the top ten. By some miracle, Victoria’s legs were functioning as she grabbed points in 8th place. SASI were confident of grabbing the leader’s jersey, but had miscalculated, leaving Jess to carry the yellow for another round.
Super Series Round Eight
This was the round we would lose the leader’s jersey, with Jess unavailable, but we still needed to consolidate point for the overall team’s classification. The contrast to the previous race could not be more obvious – cold, windy and drizzly. Alison, Narelle and Victoria were flying the flag, but none are suited to criteriums. This criterium in particular was awful! The SASI teams and the Orica track riders made things very difficult from the start. The concurrent attacks led to a break by the halfway point of the race. Victoria hung onto the break for two laps, but was the weakest link, fatigue rearing its ever-persistent head, especially in a format requiring maximal power. Frustratingly, Victoria had to let them go. Just behind her was Narelle, so the two riders regrouped and waited for Elouise from USG, Madeleine from sister-team Butterfields/Focus, and Danielle and Olivia from SASI. Narelle, Eloise and in particular Olivia, were pulling very effective turns. Victoria was pulling, but limply, and was at times, at risk of getting dropped from the chase. The lead bunch of seven riders could be seen less than a third of a lap ahead. Someone must have tranquilised them, because they clearly feel asleep as some point. With three laps to go, the chase bunch came within 20 metres of closing in on the lead bunch before they woke up and surged into the final two laps. Narelle made an epic attempt to cross the gap. She couldn’t get to them, but she didn’t get caught either, skipping across the line in 8th. Victoria had to be predatory, something which she isn’t really used to, but her current strength and fitness leaves her without the strength to close gaps herself. Eloise was pulling brilliantly, trying to close in on Narelle. Madeleine made the smart move to jump the chase bunch. Victoria cringed as she left Eloise on the front to chase, and when in striking distance to closing in on Madeleine, Victoria jumped them both, rounding the last corner in true hubbard form, but managing to hold onto 9th place.