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2004 Geelong Tour, Stage 4 and Final
By Staff
Date: 2/25/2004
2004 Geelong Tour, Stage 4 and Final

Stage 4 – Lara -Lara, 115 km

By Marianne Werz O'Brien

The final stage of the second Geelong Tour is now in history. Yesterday Germany’s Petra Rossner put an end to the all Aussie winning streak and today New Zealand Commonwealth champion Sarah Ulmer sprinted home for the stage win. As she told Australia’s The Age, "Bloody oath it is (good to beat the Australians), you're not wrong," Ulmer laughed. "We're used to that all the time so it's good to take a win when we can get them."

The Australian women, until yesterday, had taken every podium spot in every stage in both editions of the race, except for Mirjam Melcher's 2nd place finish in the 2003 Lara road race.  Today the Aussies were forced to relinquish the entire podium for Stage 4. Kiwi Sarah Ulmer took the top spot, with American Nicole Freedman in second, and German Petra Rossner in third. 

Australia’s dual road champion, Oenone Wood, successfully defended her overall lead today, however, and the Aussies maintained their dominance in the GC claiming all three steps of that podium yet again. Seven of the GC top 10 finishers were Australian, with Sarah Ulmer taking 5th and American’s Dede Barry and Kristin Armstrong rounding it out in 9th and 10th.

The 115-kilometer road race was heavily contested. The bearer of the blue leaders jersey, Oenone Wood had only seven seconds separating her from her closest rival, Katie Mactier, and Katherine Bates was hot on their heels a mere two seconds behind. “There were lots of attacks today but my Australian Institute of Sport team looked after me really well,” said Wood.

Katie Mactier agrees. She is quoted in The Age saying, "Oenone had terrific support. She mentioned them every day on presentation and you could see them on the road; they sacrificed themselves for her, they brought back everything, they protected her, but at the end of the day, Oenone too is a credit to herself. It was beautiful to see that last year she sacrificed herself for Olivia Gollan and this year it's been reversed.”

American Tina Mayolo-Pic claimed the maximum points in the first intermediate sprint of the day ahead of Japan’s Miho Oki and Wood’s teammate Lorian Graham. The AIS women kept the pressure on the peloton, with Graham and Wood powering up Mount Wallace even as other riders were forced to walk, pushing their bikes up the climb.

 “The climb seemed easier this year,” said Wood “but maybe that’s because I’ve had another year of racing experience and after last year I knew what was coming.”

The second intermediate sprint bonus points came after the climb, and things began really heating up as Katherine Bates snagged three bonus seconds, and Katie Mactier took two. The loss of this sprint was potentially devastating for Oenone Wood’s GC hopes, and it offered up the possibility of a GC tie on the finish line.

The finish came down to a wild pack sprint, which Wood’s describes as “…crazy with riders everywhere.  I was pushed into the gutter twice so I just concentrated on staying upright and safe. It (victory) was up in the air right up until I crossed the line,” she said. “That’s when I finally knew I had won.”

“It’s certainly been an amazing two months for me and an exceptional start to the season,” said Wood. “I couldn’t have asked for more.”  Oenone will now be targeting Sunday’s Geelong World Cup, and she is hoping to make it onto the Olympic team as well.

Considering her strong season so far, it seems highly likely she will be selected but she is not so certain, saying, “The main aim this year is gaining selection for the Olympics which is going to be tough because there is so much talent around.”  Not the least of which is a diminutive Australian powerhouse named Oenone Wood.

Geelong Tour Result
Stage 4 – 115km Lara to Lara

  1. Sarah ULMER (NZL) 3hr04min27sec
  2. Nicole FREEDMAN (USA – World Team) s.t.
  3. Petra ROSSNER (GER – Team Nurnberger) s.t.
  4. Miho OKI (JPN) s.t.
  5. Katie MACTIER (AUS –Jayco) s.t.
  6. Tanja HENNES (GER – World) s.t.
  7. Rachel HEAL (GBR) s.t.
  8. Sara CARRIGAN (AUS –QAS) s.t.
  9. Alison WRIGHT (AUS – Nobili – Fanini) s.t.
  10. Hayley RUTHERFORD (AUS – Nobili-Fanini) s.t.

Final General Classification 

  1. Oenone WOOD (AUS – AIS) 6hr13min50sec
  2. Katie MACTIER (AUS – Jayco) @ 06sec
  3. Katherine BATES @ 8 sec
  4. Louise YAXLEY (AUS – JAYCO) @ 18sec
  5. Sarah ULMER (NZL) @ 21 sec 
  6. Sara CARRIGAN (AUS – Qld Academy of Sport)  @ 30 sec
  7. Kathryn WATT (AUS – Freedom Machine) @ 31 sec
  8. Margaret HEMSLEY (AUS – Team Nurnberger) @ 35 sec
  9. Deirdre BARRY  (USA – T Mobile) @ 35 sec
  10. Kristin ARMSTRONG (USA – T Mobile) @ 36 sec

Final Points Classification

  1. Oenone WOOD – 9 pts
  2. Katherine BATES – 8 pts
  3. Katie MACTIER – 6 pts

Thanks to Cycling Australia.

Related Articles
2004 Geelong Tour Stage One
2004 Geelong Tour Stage 2
2004 Geelong Women's Tour Stage 3

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