Dual-stage opening day for Santos North Western Tour
The 2012 Subaru National Road Series continued in northern NSW today, with Australia's leading riders and teams putting on a show during the opening two stages of the Santos North Western Tour in Narrabri.
In the morning's opening stage, a 3.6 kilometre prologue around the centre of the regional town, Queensland's Jordan Kerby (Jayco-Honey Shotz) and Canberra's Rebecca Wiasak (Suzuki/Trek) posted victories in the men's and women's events respectively.
Suzuki/Trek rider Wiasak blitzed the women's field posting a time of 5:04, seven seconds ahead of Sarah Roy with 5:12. Velo Battle on the Border champion Ruth Corset (Pensar-Hawk Racing) finished third (5:14).
“I was really confident before the stage and the distance suited me perfectly,” said Wiasak who believed time spent recently working on her time trial techniques aided her victory.
“The course had a lot of corners in it so it was great having ridden it once or twice before the race. I gave it everything and I have been working on my corners a lot so it’s great that that’s shown today,” Wiasak said.
In the men’s event, Jordan Kerby (Jayco-Honey Shotz) took the honours ahead of Sam Witmitz (Budget Forklifts) and Brenton Jones (Team Torq).
Kerby, who claimed the time trial stage in April's Mersey Valley Tour, was ecstatic following his victory.
“It’s always good to have the leaders jersey, but unfortunately we’ve got a couple of guys sick and we’re down to three riders out of a possible eight man team, " Kerby said. "It’s disappointing but you can’t keep everyone healthy all year,” he added.
In the afternoon's action packed women’s criterium, West Australia's Davina Summers (Boss Construction/Nutrixxion) took the honours, with Corset (Pensar/Hawk) and Kimberley Wells (Specialized Woman SA) filling the minor placings.
A serious fall moments into the race, resulted in the race being neutralised for several laps while Jemma Brown (QSM Racing) was tended to by on-site paramedics. After the race was de-neutralised, the women jostled for position in between the sprint laps before Summers crossed the line first.
The win was a good confidence boost for the Perth cyclist who only recently returned to the sport after a nine month layoff following training accident in which she broke her back.
“I know that my strength is knowing how to race smart, and my downfalls are what is happening with my strength and fitness," Summers, 32, said. "(But) if you race smart sometimes you can almost be as equal."
The men’s criterium was taken out by reigning Australian criterium champion Anthony Giacoppo (Genesys Wealth), with teammate Pat Shaw claiming second ahead of Joseph Lewis (RBS Morgans).
Josh Taylor again showed his aggression with a solo break, with the GPM Wilson rider gaining a 15second lead before a crash results in the race being neutralised.
After the racing resumted, the Genesys Wealth team set the pace during the final three laps to set up a quinella for the team. Immediately after claiming the stage two win, Giacoppo was already looking towards Friday's stage three road race.
“It always makes it quite easy when you’re leading because then people have to take time out of you and then ride away from you," said Giacoppo. "With Pat (Shaw) also gaining a time bonus in the finish, it will put him in quite a good position, so we’ve got quite a few options leading in to tomorrow,” he added.
In the individual standings, Wiasak leads Corest by four seconds and Roy by seven, whilst Giacoppo leads Kerby, also by four seconds. Witmitz sits five seconds behind in third.
In the men’s teams general classification, Budget Forklifts hold a 20 second lead over Team Torq, with Genesys Wealth a further three seconds back in third.
Leading the women’s team rankings is Suzuki/Trek, eleven seconds ahead of Boss/Nutrixxion and 30 seconds over Team Torq.
Capturing the regional centres of Narrabri, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah and Tamworth, the Santos North Western Tour features five stages across four days from June 21-24.
Stage three, to be held on Friday, and will see riders tackle the tough terrain from Coonabarabran to the Siding Springs Observatory, with the stage culminating with a tough hilltop finish. Action gets underway at 10.30am.
Follow the Santos NWT online:
Cycling NSW - Andrew Newton, 0410 179 269