Corset & O’Brien claim overall honours in Santos NWT
The Santos North West Tour wrapped up in Tamworth on Sunday with Mark O’Brien (Budget-Forklifts) and Ruth Corset (Pensar-Hawk) retaining their general classification lead to claim the first Subaru National Road Series event of the 2012 held in NSW.
The final stage of the tour was raced from Gunnedah to Tamworth and saw Ashlee Ankudinoff (Boss/Nutrixxion) claim line honours in the women's race ahead of Pensar-Hawk’s Katrin Garfoot and Chloe Mcintosh (Torq).
“I’m stoked, I’ve just gotten better each stage and my legs have felt good," said Ankudinoff. "It just shows you that if you back yourself you can do anything.
"I knew I could really take out the sprint and I just followed the wheel and timed it to perfection,” Ankudinoff said of her fight for the finish.
The early pace of the race was set by St Kilda rider Madeleine Pape who made an early move within the first five kilometres. Pape managed to gain 25 seconds before being reeled in by the peloton soon after.
At the 40kilometre mark, Sarah Roy (Randwick CC), Sue Forsyth (Racing Kangaroos) and Davina Summers (Boss/Nutrixxion) made a break, with the three collecting the bonus points on offer for the intermediate sprint section. The trio held on for twelve kilometre’s before being reabsorbed by the bunch.
Small attacks kept the group busy until the final ten kilometres when McIntosh and Racing Kangaroo’s Vanessa McDonald put 200 metres on the field.
As the peloton tried in vain to chase down the break, Ankudinoff and Garfoot along with Rebecca Wiasak (Suzuki/Trek) and Lucy Codwell (Holden Racing) joined the leading group as they headed towards Tamworth, with a sprint to the finish seeing Ankudinoff the victor. See results.
In the overall rankings, Ruth Corset (Pensar-Hawk) claimed overall race honours, finishing 37 seconds ahead of Holden Cycling’s Miranda Griffiths. Lisa Jacobs (CCCC) claimed third. View GC Results
The victory gave Corset her second consecutive Tour win after the 35-year-old claimed May's Velo Battle on the Border.
"It’s been a really good tour and my team has done really well to get me up here," said Corset of her Pensar-Hawk riders. "I’m certainly looking forward to the Canberra Women's Tour."
"The strength of women’s cycling is growing every year and this year is a lot stronger than it ever has been with much more of a team focus," she added.
Pensar-Hawk enjoyed a double victory, snaring the team’s category, nearly two minutes in front of Holden Cycling, with Suzuki-Trek in third.
The fifth and final stage for the men was neutralised with changed race conditions meaning the stage was raced as an exhibtion, with results from the stage not counting towards final standings.
One rider from each team contested the stage from Gunnedah to Tamworth, with Joe Lewis (RBS Morgans-ATS Pro Cycling) crossing the line first ahead of Josh Taylor (GPM Wilson Racing) and Jeremy Scott (Skoda St George NRS Team).
Budget Forklifts’ Mark O’Brien, the Tour leader heading into the final stage, claimed the Santos North Western Tour GC winner’s jersey. O’Brien had a 35-second gap on RBS Morgans-ATS Pro Cycling’s Benjamin Hill, with Jai Crawford (Genesys-Wealth) claiming third.
"I’m happy to pick up another win with Budget Forklifts as my teammates supported me well over the four days," said O'Brien. "It’s been a great season so far and I’m now looking forward to a quick break and preparing for the Tour of Gippsland in August."
Genesys-Wealth Advisers were awarded the teams category ahead of Budget-Forklifts and RBS Morgans-ATS.
The Tour is the third event for both men and women in the 2012 Subaru National Road Series.
The next event on the calendar is the Canberra Women's Tour from July 6-8, with the men back in action at the Tour of Gippsland from August 1-5.