After a complete team performance, Rebecca Wiasak has soloed home to victory on Stage 1 of Amy’s Otway Tour for the High5 Dream Team. Wiasak leads General Classification by 13 seconds heading into Stage 2, and also holds the Sprint Classification jersey.
With several cards to play in the fast and technical stage, team captain Kendelle Hodges launched attack after attack at the midpoint of the race, softening the legs and resolve of the reduced peloton, setting the stage for Wiasak to make her move.
‘I went a lot earlier than I would have liked, I thought my legs were going to be pretty good, and Kendelle (Hodges) and I decided we were both going to sprint. She’s the captain on the road, and we said we would both see how we felt. I missed the first sprint entirely, I was just out of position, and I’m not used to the corners being that tight. On the track, it’s a lot easier to get around!
‘I was losing distance on every turn, then when Kendelle attacked, I was positioned really well. She looked behind, saw I was fourth wheel, and had a second dig. I knew that was everything she had, and she wanted me to counter attack, so as soon as the girls caught her we had a small group away and I just whacked it and got away.
‘I had to dig pretty deep to build the lead! It was fantastic, the crowd really got behind me so I used their excitement on those last two laps to bring me home, our DS Kim Palmer was on the side of the road encouraging me along, so it was a very exciting and very rewarding win today.
‘I wish I had done a bit more training in the past six weeks, I came back from the Olympic camp and was riding on form and I’ve had six weeks of unstructured training. My boyfriend Ben Hill has been trying to get me out the door and get me riding, so today it was a really long time trial using my form rather than my fitness.
‘I was pretty happy because I had my High5 Dream Team teammates back in the bunch and I knew they wouldn’t be chasing. They would be perfectly positioned if it did come back together, and I knew they would be able to sprint for the win.
‘It’s been over a year since I’ve done a criterium, my final race in the NRS last year was the Tour of the Goldfields. Today was a really challenging, tough circuit crit, my teammates set it up perfectly for me and I’m really happy to deliver a win for the High5 Dream Team.
Playing her team role to perfection, Lucy Kennedy finished third on the stage and is fourth on general classification ahead of tomorrow’s road race.
‘I’ve got a very skilled team, so it was Kendelle and Beck doing the early work, and it was so exciting when Beck was off the front and looking really comfortable. The final lap was definitely the closest I got to the front all stage, so I planned that really well!
‘It’s a really interesting race, with so many time bonuses up for grabs, so we’ll have to have a look at the time gaps and make a plan for tomorrow,’ said Kennedy.
Amy’s Otway Tour concludes tomorrow with a 120km road race along the Great Ocean Road.
Images copyright Con Chronis