Taryn Heather's (SASI) return to the NRS reaped immediate rewards, with the South Australian claiming the overall honours in the DBR Canberra Women’s Tour, the fourth event on the 2012 Subaru National Road Series.
The 29-year-old took the leaders jersey from Ashlee Ankudinoff (Boss/Nutrixxion) after stage three’s road race and finished in the bunch in stage four to seal the jersey. Katrin Garfoot (Pensar-Hawk) finished in second, with Ankudinoff finishing third.
“I wasn’t coming here expecting to take out GC so it means a lot to me,” said Heather. “A lot of hard work over the last few weeks has paid off and my teammates did an exceptional job so it made it a bit easier for me today.
“This is only my third race in the NRS in my career and the racing has improved so much, the standard is just incredible,” said Heather, who admitted she was slightly anxious about her performance heading into the Tour, having just returned from a stint of racing in Europe.
For Ankudinoff, her second final stage victory in as many Tours was little consolation for losing the yellow jersey after stage three, however she was pleased to finish third overall.
“It was a solid race this morning and it was always going to be hard and I am really happy with how I went this week,” Ankudinoff said.
The third and final day of the Tour began with a 39.8kilometre road race, with Pensar-Hawk teammates Katrin Garfoot and Ruth Corset working well together to claim first and third respectively. Second place went to Miranda Griffiths of Holden Cycling.
“Ruth did a lot of work and that helped a lot, she made sure she waited for me so I am really thankful,” Garfoot said of her advantage in being the only team to have two riders in the break until the end.
The short but tough course saw the bunch split quickly, with a group of six riders including Corset & Garfoot (Pensar-Hawk), Miranda Griffiths & Lucy Coldwell (Holden), Heather (SASI) and Trotman (Otago) making a break at the 15kilometre mark.
The lead group worked well together for the majority of the race, leaving the peloton out of sight. However the final climbs proved too much for Coldwell who was dropped from the lead group with 10km to go.
In a sprint to the finish, it was Garfoot who had the legs after a strong lead out from teammate and National Road Series standings leader Corset.
After the win, Garfoot credited the other four riders in the break for sharing the work until the end.
“The pack worked really well together. Thanks to the girls who worked together in the last kilometres, I couldn’t have done it without any of them,” Garfoot added.
The fourth and final stage was an action packed criterium, with Sydney riders Sarah Roy and Sue Forsyth setting a fast pace for the rest of the group.
With three laps to go Ankudinoff, Corset, Garfoot, Forsyth and Roy were all working the front with under-19’s Suzuki-Trek rider Allison Rice also in the mix.
A sprint to the line saw Ankudinoff edge Canberra rider Wiasak (Suzuki/Trek) in a photo finish, with Forsyth holding on for third.
“It was a little bit unexpected I got caught in the back a few times but in the last couple of laps,” Ankudinoff said. “Sarah (Roy) was on the front and she really pulled me through, then I was just able to counter ever attack that went past.
“Coming into the last 200m I just had to back myself. I knew I could sprint from any distance but it was really close in the end.
“I didn’t think I got it, but I am really happy to finish up the tour on a good note,” Ankudinoff said.
Queensland’s Ruth Corset (Pensar-Hawk) retains the overall Subaru National Road Series lead after a solid Tour supporting Pensar-Hawk team mate Garfoot.
“We worked really well this weekend as a team, and Kat is riding really strong, it was great riding for her for the tour,” said Corset.
“I think she’s really showing her strengths in those hills and she did a great time trial so it was fun.
“It’s been a great tour this tour, I wasn’t sure if I would still be leading at the end but I’m pretty happy to be still leading,” Corset said.
The Subaru National Road Series women will meet again when they contest the Shipwreck Coast Cycling Classic in Victoria in October.