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 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
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
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
Sarah ULMER (NZL) 3hr04min27sec
Nicole FREEDMAN (USA – World Team) s.t.
Petra ROSSNER (GER – Team Nurnberger) s.t.
Miho OKI (JPN) s.t.
Katie MACTIER (AUS –Jayco) s.t.
Tanja HENNES (GER – World) s.t.
Rachel HEAL (GBR) s.t.
Sara CARRIGAN (AUS –QAS) s.t.
Alison WRIGHT (AUS – Nobili – Fanini) s.t.
Hayley RUTHERFORD (AUS – Nobili-Fanini) s.t.
Final General Classification
Oenone WOOD (AUS – AIS) 6hr13min50sec
Katie MACTIER (AUS – Jayco) @ 06sec
Katherine BATES @ 8 sec
Louise YAXLEY (AUS – JAYCO) @ 18sec
Sarah ULMER (NZL) @ 21 sec
Sara CARRIGAN (AUS – Qld Academy of Sport) @ 30 sec
Kathryn WATT (AUS – Freedom Machine) @ 31 sec
Margaret HEMSLEY (AUS – Team Nurnberger) @ 35 sec
Deirdre BARRY (USA – T Mobile) @ 35 sec
Kristin ARMSTRONG (USA – T Mobile) @ 36 sec
Final Points Classification
Oenone WOOD – 9 pts
Katherine BATES – 8 pts
Katie MACTIER – 6 pts
Thanks to Cycling Australia.