By VeloNews Interactive
Canberra cyclist Oenone Wood won the road race on Saturday at the BMC Software Australian Open Road Championships, two days after claiming victory in the individual time trial.
The 23-year-old Wood barely outsprinted Victoria’s Katie Mactier after 10 laps of a 10km course in Buninyong. Sara Carrigan of Queensland crossed third.
“It’s pretty amazing, and I don’t think it’s quite registered yet,” said Wood. “To win with such a quality field, I’m amazed.”
The race began in wet, cold and windy conditions, and although the rain let up by the third lap, the wind and cold made it tough going. But that didn’t stop South Australian Amy Safe from launching an attack in the third lap.
Safe, 28, built a maximum lead of more than three minutes before a six-rider chase that included Wood reeled her in on the final lap.
“I’m a little disappointed to come so close to winning a national road championship, but I did everything I could to be in a position to get a result,” said Safe.
At the halfway mark, the chase got itself organized and set about reducing Safe’s lead. But she still had a minute’s advantage with one lap to go.
“It was pretty tough to get her back, and we really had to push it on that last hill, which is where we finally caught her,” said Wood.
“I needed another 30 second going into the last lap,” said Safe. “I was thinking, ‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ and I didn’t have a lot left. Everyone was suffering up the last climb, but I did everything I could to put myself in the race, and it’s some consolation that it’s no disgrace to be beaten by riders who are amongst the world’s best.”
Mactier, 28, worked hard in the final lap to drag the chasing group up to Safe, and her efforts cost her in the final sprint.
“I was following wheels, following wheels, and then I jumped on Oenone’s wheel because that was the one I wanted,” said Mactier. “When she went, I just went head down, but I was just cramping like you wouldn’t believe, and when I threw my bike at the line it was just relief.”
The elite men race Sunday, facing 18 laps of the same 10km circuit.