Kim Bruckner and the Saturn team fended off final-day challenges from world road champion Zinaida Stahurskaia (GAS Sport) to win Tour de Snowy, the Australian stage race that marks the unofficial start to the women’s road season.
In another of the race’s many two-stage days, most of the attention was focused on the climbs in the morning’s 69.3km stage from Tumbarumba to Tumut, especially a long 12km climb near the start. That climb represented the last real chance for Stahurskaia to knock Bruckner out of the lead. But Saturn would have none of that and the team successfully shadowed every break not only from Stahurskaia’s GAS Sport squad, but also from the Australian Institute of Sport team of third-placed Margaret Helmsley.
With every move countered on the hills, the long downhill stretch toward Tumut virtually ensured Bruckner’s hold on the lead and that there would be a mass sprint for the line. Mirjam Melchers (Acca Due O-HP) took the slight uphill sprint into Tumut, beating Australian Liz Tadich (Jayco VIS).
Later in the afternoon, a group of four escaped the peloton in the final stage, a 30km criterium in Tumut. Headed up by AutoTrader.com’s Sarah Ulmer, the four did not pose a threat in the overall standings and went on to lap the field. Bruckner and company crossed the line with plenty of reason to celebrate. The team has dominated the event, winning five of eight stages and holding the lead from the start.
The women’s peloton moves on to contest Saturday’s World Cup event in Canberra.
1. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Acca Due O-H.P., 69.3km in 1:46:16 (39.03kph),
2. Elizabeth Tadich (Aus), Jayco-VIS
3. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus), NSWIS Trek Team
4. Sara Felloni (I), Alfa Lum R.S.M.
5. Priska Doppmann (Swi), Acca Due O-H.P.
6. Bridget Evans (Aus), Bicisport
7. Vera Hohlfeld (G), Acca Due O-H.P.
8. Melissa Holt (NZ), New Zealand
9. Hayley Rutherford (Aus), Australian Institute of Sport
10. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr), GAS Sport, all s.t.
Overall after 7 stages
1. Kim Bruckner (USA), Saturn, 12:26:29
2. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr), GAS Sport, at 1:30
3. Margaret Hemsley (Aus), Australian Institute of Sport, at 2:20
4. Anna Millward (Aus), Saturn, 2:56
5. Kim Shirley (Aus), Australian Institute of Sport, at 5:53
1. Sarah Ulmer (NZ), Autotrader.com 30km in 47:49 (37.6kph)
2. Elizabeth Tadich (Aus), Jayco VIS
3. Sara Carrigan (Aus), AIS
4. Rosalind Reekie-May (NZ), New Zealand
5. Bridget Evans (Aus), Bicisport, at 1:53
1. Bruckner, 13:16:11
2. Stahurskaia, at 1:30
3. Hemsley, at 2:20
4. Millward, at 2:56
5. Shirley, at 5:53