Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco) won the elite women’s criterium at the Australian Federation National University Road Championships, dominating the sprint of a select group of riders.
After finishing second for the past two years, the 23-year-old started the race as one of the favorites despite only having Alex Manly for the BikeExchange-Jayco team’s backing.
Roseman-Gannon didn’t make a mistake during the whole race. She made the decisive gesture then, coming in first as she approached the line, perfectly timed her race to hold Josie Talbot (SydneyUni-Staminede) in the sprint. Peta Mullens (Roxsolt Liv SRAM) who swept the last place on the podium.
“I’ve wanted it for a very long time and finishing it on my first BikeExchange full kit ride means so much,” Roseman-Gannon said in an interview on SBS right after the race.
“I just can’t thank Alex Manly enough…she’s the most selfless rider and I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Anya Louw (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) claimed her second title of the year, crossing the line fourth and as the first U23 driver in the combined field. This means she adds the U23 criterium jersey to the collection she started in the time trial on Wednesday.
The elite and U23 women completed 40 laps of the 1.1km course, covering 44 kilometers in just over an hour on the hot dog circuit around the main streets of Ballarat, a regional town in the center of Victoria.
At the start of the race, it was clear that the peloton did not want to leave too much room for breakaways, with the peloton largely remaining united. There was a crash near the front of the race that caught Manly with just over a third of the race. However, it wasn’t long before she was back in the pack and continued to provide a strong and relentless presence as she patrolled the pitch.
Midway through the race, Amber Pate (InForm TMX MAKE) who was the time trial silver medalist made a move. This was enough to cause splits on the field and the brief formation of a group in front of about eight. Chasing the peloton meant it didn’t hold up.
About ten laps from the end, Emma Viotto (Giant Racing) also jumped in front but the movement was again interrupted. Attempts continued and Lisa Jacob (Knights of Suburbia) then unleashed the race-defining move.
A group of dangerous riders followed, including Peta Mullens (Roxsolt Liv SRAM), Roseman-Gannon and Matilda Raynolds (InForm TMX MAKE). The core group of nine, which also included U23 time trial winner Louw, then swelled as time trial silver medalist Pate surged to join teammate Raynolds, taking Manly with her .
That meant Roseman-Gannon now had her first rider in place, and she wasn’t going to waste the opportunity to take a green and gold striped jersey from the national champion in her first year as a professional.
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