In her first ever National Road Series event, Lisen Hockings has stormed home to win Stage 2 of the 2016 Mersey Valley Tour.
“This is my first ever Subaru National Road Series tour, so to get a win is just fantastic. I started cycling with a few fundraising rides, enjoyed doing it for exercise, and it keeps getting better!”
“I was very lucky to have Lucy (Kennedy) with me in the breakaway doing most of the attacking, which gave me the chance to be fresh at the finish.”
“I was surprised as I crossed the line first as I’m not particularly well known for my sprinting, but from a team perspective it was important to finish the job after having two riders in the breakaway.”
A wet and wild day in Tasmania created chaos in the opening half of the stage, however Hockings and her High5 Dream Team teammate Lucy Kennedy were attentive at all times, and held position at the front of the peloton to avoid incident.
Tessa Fabry was brought down in a crash just three kilometres before the major climb of the day at Gunns Plains, leaving Hockings and Kennedy to fight it out in the break of the day with Ruth Corset, Miranda Griffiths and Kate Perry in a very eventful second half of the race that was punctuated by crashes and flat tyres.
With the Gunns Plains climb behind them and 20 kilometres of undulating racing left, the relatively inexperienced duo of Hockings and Kennedy showed experience beyond their years, sitting on the back of the group and launching multiple attacks against their more seasoned breakaway companions.
Inside the final kilometre, Kennedy went early on the final crest before the finish, forcing the other riders in the breakaway to respond early, enabling Hockings to come through and win the stage.
Team director Ryan Moody was elated with the result as well as the learning experience for Hockings and Kennedy in an unfamiliar situation.
“I called Lucy back to the car and said ‘no working, just attack. Both of you attack, attack, attack’ and they did a great job to continue to attack and put the three other riders in defence mode. It’s an amazing thing for Lisen to come through and take a stage win in her first NRS race!”
“General Classification is pretty tight, there’s only ten seconds separating the top three, which will make for a hard day tomorrow as it is supposed to be wet again. With the strength we have in Lisen and Lucy, they showed today that they are climbing well, and Tessa is less than a minute down despite her crash, we still have a multi-pronged attack so I think everything will be left on the road tomorrow on that final climb.”
Georgia Baker didn’t finish the stage after a crash in the early kilometres. With no major injuries visible other than bumps and bruises, and one eye on Rio, Georgia was removed from the race as a precaution and will be examined upon her return to Adelaide.
Stage 2 Results
|Lisen HOCKINGS (HFD)
|Miranda GRIFFITHS (HWC)
|Ruth CORSET (RSH)
|Lucy KENNEDY (HFD)
|Tessa FABRY (HFD)
|Georgia BAKER (HFD)
Images copyright Caitlin Johnston/Cycling Australia