The 2018 season is just a few weeks old, but Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) already has two victories under her wheels. The Australian captured the final stage of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under two weeks ago and then on Saturday she sprinted out of a select group to win the elite women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong, Victoria.
Hosking has already equaled her win tally for the entire 2017 season. Her only victories last year were stage wins at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and Ladies Tour of Norway. Her triumph in Geelong was by no way an easy one, as a change in the course meant the women tackled the full length of the Challambra climb, which featured in the 2010 UCI World Road Championships.
Hosking was able to limit her loses over the climb and then the select group she was with chased down the three attackers, Alison Jackson (Tibco), last year’s winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) and Sabrina Stultiens (WaowDeals Pro Cycling), in the final kilometers. Stultiens was the final survivor and was caught just over a kilometer from the finish.
Another former winner, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), led out the sprint in support of her teammate Gracie Elvin. Hosking proved to have the strongest legs at the end of the day, winning the sprint by over a bike length. Elvin finished second and two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) rounded out the podium.
- 1. Chloe Hosking, (AUS) ALE-CIPOLLINI, in 03:15:54
- 2. Gracie Elvin, (AUS) MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:00
- 3. Giorgia Bronzini, (ITA) CYLANCE PRO CYCLING, at 0:00
- 4. Audrey Cordon Ragot, (FRA) WIGGLE-HIGH5, at 0:00
- 5. Katarzyna Pawlowska, (POL) TEAM VIRTU CYCLING, at 0:00
- 6. Lauren Kitchen, (AUS) KORDAMENTHA REAL ESTATE, at 0:00
- 7. Sharlotte Lucas, (NZL) SPECIALIZED WOMEN’S RACING, at 0:00
- 8. Kate Mcllroy, (NZL) SPECIALIZED WOMEN’S RACING, at 0:00
- 9. Amy Cure, (AUS) WIGGLE-HIGH5, at 0:00
- 10. Anouska Koster, (NED) WAOWDEALS PRO CYCLING, at 0:00
It was a beautiful day in Geelong, Australia on Saturday for the women’s edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The 87-rider peloton tackled a 113-kilometer circuit that started and finished in Geelong. The route traveled along the coast in the opening half of the race and surprisingly the wind was very mild. Now in its fourth edition, the race was upgraded to UCI 1.1 status in 2018. Rachel Neylan (Australian National Team) won in 2015, Amanda Spratt in 2016 and Ammeniek van Vleuten in 2017. All three former winners were on the start line.
A mere 10 kilometers into the race a crash brought down many riders and Roxane Knetemann (Ale-Cipollini) was forced to abandon. Georgia Whitehouse’s (Sydney Uni-Staminade) move roughly 20 kilometers into the race was the one that stuck. The peloton was content to let her go and Whitehouse quickly established a lead of over two minutes.
Lisa Morzenti (BePink) jumped out of the pack in pursuit of Whitehouse and would make the junction after Whitehouse was forced to stop with a rear puncture.
At the top of climb of Bells Beach Road (2km at 6%) with 57 kilometers still to go, Whitehouse and Morzenti’s lead was only around a minute. It had dropped from a maximum advantage of over three and a half minutes. However, after the climb, the lead duo’s gap to the peloton crept up toward the 90-second mark and stayed there for many kilometers.
With 30 kilometers to go, the catch was made and the peloton was all back together. Specialized Women’s Racing, Mitchelton-Scott, and Trek-Drops were all attentive at the front. A right-hand turn five kilometers later forced the peloton into a crosswind.
Mitchelton-Scott immediately went to the front and put the hammer down in the crosswinds in an attempt to split the peloton. As the road began to climb ever so slightly, the Australian team also sent rider after rider off the front. Janelle Crooks attacked multiple times with Spratt and van Vleuten each also having a go.
However, it was all together as the peloton raced toward the climb of Challambra (900m at 9.6%). KordaMentha Real Estate controlled the front of the peloton into the climb and kept the pace high in support of Katrin Garfoot. Right away, the group shattered on the lower slopes and the strongest riders came to the fore.
Stultiens was the first to make a move and she was marked by Alison Jackson (Tibco-SVB). Van Vleuten and Garfoot were chasing together behind. Near the top of the climb, the two groups came together and Garfoot pounced. She crossed the top with a small advantage over Stultiens and van Vleuten. Although, the two would catch the solo rider rather quickly on the descent. Jackson was no-where to be seen.
The three leaders did not work well with each other and van Vleuten and Garfoot marked one another heavily. Stultiens took advantage of this and attacked with six kilometers to go.
After the chase group of about 20 riders caught Garfoot and van Vleuten, Spratt put in a heroic effort to bring back Stultiens with just over a kilometer to go. Spratt’s job would not be finished when the catch was made, as she continued to power along on the front of the group in order to put Elvin in prime position for the sprint.
Jackson, who had been caught by the chase group shortly after the top of the climb, crashed heavily just as the sprint was beginning to start. Hosking, Elvin, and Bronzini were all in front of Jackson and were not impeded by her crash.
Hosking was head and shoulders stronger than the others. She had a comfortable margin of victory over Elvin, who finished second, and third-place finisher Bronzini. Wiggle-High5’s Audrey Cordon-Ragot finished fourth with Katarzyna Pawlowska (Team Virtu Cycling) rounding out the top five.
Full results to come