By VeloNews Interactive
Australians Alison Wright (AIS) claimed stage 2 honors and Emma James (NSWIS-Trek) won stage 3 on Tuesday at Australia’s Tour de Snowy. But there was no change in the overall standings, with Dutchwoman Mirjam Melchers holding onto the lead she first took with her stage 1 win.
Stage 2 began in the town of Tumbarumba with the locals out in force to support the field of 67 riders, but as the field rolled out of town a pile up in the middle of the bunch brought down more than a dozen riders including race leader Melchers. All but one rider got back in the race, and the riders waited until Melchers had rejoined the race before the first major attack of the day.
Originally seven riders were in the break with none a threat to the race lead. But when Frenchwoman Catherine Marsal (Saturn), just two minutes off the lead, rode across to join the group, Melchers had to respond.
Marsal and her Saturn teammate Jessica Phillips drove the break hard, but at the finish line the margin wasn’t enough to unseat Melchers from the race lead.
Canberra’s Wright took the victory in the final meters of the 69km stage, claiming the win ahead of New Zealand’s Melissa Holt, with Melchers’ Dutch teammate, Arenda Grimberg third.
The riders then enjoyed a short break before lining up for stage 3, a 50.7km trip with two major climbs, including the final climb up the Talbingo Dam Wall at the Tumut 3 Power Station, part of the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme.
The AIS again proved active with Queenslander Sara Carrigan launching an attack only two hundred meters from the start line. She was later joined by NSWIS-Trek team rider JAMES and the pair worked hard to stay in front of the main field.
Over the final climb James put on the pressure and left Carrigan behind, while Melchers responded to the threat from the New South Wales cyclist.
James held on though, taking the bonus points over the summit and holding off the chase to claim the stage victory as well. The effort moved her into the top five.
Melchers, meanwhile, increased her overall lead and now has a 25-second buffer over Swedish cyclist Susanne Ljungskog.
Racing concludes Wednesday with stage 5’s 87.2km trip from Adaminaby to Cooma, followed by the 30km Cooma Criterium.
TOUR DE SNOWY, Australia. March 4-6;
Stage 2: Tumbarumba to Tumut;
1. Alison Wright (Aus), AIS, 69km in 1:48:20 (37.92 kph); 2. Melissa Holt (NZ), New Zealand; 3. Arenda Grimberg (Nl) The Netherlands; 4. Ayumu Otsuka (Jp), Japan 1; 5. Catherine Marsal (F), Saturn, all same time; 6. Liz Tadich (Aus) AIS, at 0:07; 7. Katrina Berger (USA), Cannondale USA, at 0:11; 8. Jessica Phillips (USA) Saturn, at 0:15; 9. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus), NSWIS-Trek, at 1:29; 10. Miho Oki (Jp), Japan 1, same time; Also; 13. Mari Holden (USA), Cannondale USA; 15. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn; 17. Mirjam Melchers (Nl) The Netherlands; 33. Kimberly Bruckner (USA), Saturn; 44. Dorothy Cowden (USA), Cannondale USA; 53. Kimberly Anderson (USA), Cannondale USA
Stage 3: Tumut to Talbingo;
1. Emma James (Aus), NSWIS-Trek, 50.7km in 1:29:20 (34.06 kph); 2. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe), Vlaanderen, at 0:17; 3. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), The Netherlands; 4. Kimberly Bruckner (USA), Saturn; 5. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn, all same time; 6. Priska Doppmann (Swi) International, at 0:21; 7. Hanka Kupfernagel (G), Vlaanderen; 8. Susie Wood (NZ), New Zealand, all same time; 9. Miho Oki (Jp), Japan 1, at 0:44; 10. Margaret Hemsley (Aus), Australian National Team, same time; Also; 22. Kimberly Anderson (USA), Cannondale USA, at 1:10; 29. Katrina Berger (USA), Cannondale USA, at 1:47; 30. Dorothy Cowden (USA), Cannondale USA, same time; 36. Mari Holden (USA), Cannondale USA, at 2:18
Overall standings; 1. Melchers, 5:40:59; 2. Ljungskog, at 0:25; 3. Doppmann, at 0:29; 4. Bruckner, at 0:38; 5. Arndt, at 0:54; 6. Hemsley, at 1:05; 7. James, at 1:27; 8. Marsal, at 1:42; 9. Roz Reekie-May (NZ), New Zealand, at 1:45; 10. Hanka Kupfernagel (G), Vlaanderen, at 2:21; Also; 15. Anderson, at 3:11; 23. Holden, at 4:19; 27. Phillips, at 7:14; 28. Cowden, at 7:17; 36. Berger, at 10:28