In a dream day for the High5 Dream Team, Rebecca Wiasak and Kendelle Hodges have finished 1-2 on the third stage of the 2016 Tour of the King Valley. Lucy Kennedy took maximum points to pull on the Queen of the Mountain jersey, and the team leads the Team’s General Classification by 34 seconds with one stage remaining.

‘That was incredible! I’ve won this stage before when it had the different approach in. I knew my legs were strong, I climbed with the front bunch up the second climb and I was up there on a couple of the rolling hills. I got second on the first sprint and won the second sprint so I knew that my team were there for me coming to the line and I was pretty confident I could deliver the win.

‘The girls were incredible, I had Sam (de Riter) on the front with just under a kilometre to go driving it and I had Kenny (Kendelle Hodges) on my wheel, and Kendelle ended up coming second so it’s a 1-2 for the High5 Dream Team which is a brilliant start for the rest of our NRS campaign.

‘I just had my head down, I was trying to hold Sam’s wheel, knowing that I couldn’t have held off the bunch if I jumped early, but I did trust my sprint today. I had my head down on the approach, it was tricky to turn right then left and I didn’t see the entrance to the Sam Miranda winery so luckily I made a late turn in. I’m just so excited!

‘We knew there would be a select group over the Strade Nero section and I think I was eight over the top and I just lost contact with the climbers when they went for the time bonuses and points on offer. We caught them on the descent and we had three High5 Dream Team riders in the front, we were the only team that were represented with three so we knew that we had the numbers then. It is quite a fast flowing descent so then our other two teammates joined us as well. Once we had the numbers it was just kind of a case of chasing down the attacks and keeping it controlled and some of the girls on our team had some attacks for themselves to try and grab the time bonuses because we had three in the top six on General Classification before the start of today’s stage. Lucy (Kennedy) got the win in both of the QOM’s so it’s exciting for the team to have so many riders up there.

‘I knew that I had incredible form so Sutto (Garry Sutton) suggested I take a break and when I came back from California we had had an incredibly hard and tough training camp but I knew I had the form so I wanted to keep on going and ride for the High5 Dream Team as I hadn’t raced with them yet this season so I thought I’d come and have a race! I didn’t know how my legs would be up the climbs but I’ve definitely got the strength to be able to compete with the climbers today so I’m thrilled.’

Kendelle Hodges crossed the line just behind her teammate, and couldn’t have been happier with the result after spending the day battling tough conditions.

‘We weren’t sure how we were going to run into the finish so at five kilometres out I told Beck we would ride for her and it was perfect. Sam was the last lead-out, then Beck and I could sprint. It was a good finish, we’ve had a great day out, Lucy is also high up on GC and leads the QOM so we’ve had a successful day.

‘I actually had a bike change during the stage, and I was hoping to be able to sprint for the finish, then I thought I’d call it for Beck as I was on her spare bike and she’s quite a bit taller than me, so I didn’t know how I was going to fare sprinting on that!

‘It wasn’t exactly pleasant conditions out there today, it’s been wet, and it’s quite cold. We wanted to make sure we took the time bonuses on the first sprint so the climbers couldn’t take them off Lucy so Beck and I took those. We got to the first dirt section and we all got through there safely and into the QOM’s where Lucy and Tess tried to go and get the time bonuses there, and they did that well. We got through the second QOM, covering any moves, protecting Lucy’s GC position, before we organised ourselves for the sprint finish.’

With one stage remaining, Lucy Kennedy was pleased with the teams efforts on Stage 3 and is confident she will have the climbing legs to keep hold of the Queen of the Mountain jersey tomorrow.

‘Heading into the climbs Tessa and I were both going to see how we were feeling because there’s good time bonuses associated with them we were going to discuss it and see who’s going to go for them. Tessa wasn’t feeling that great, so it was me, and I felt really really strong climbing so I felt pretty confident I was going to take them out. With more time bonuses tomorrow we’ll go for it again and try and hold the jersey as well.’

2016 Tour of the King Valley Stage 3 Results

Time/Gap Bonus
1. Rebecca WIASAK (HFD) 3h22:24 20
2. Kendelle HODGES (HFD) +0 12
3. Kristy GLOVER (BNG) +0 6
10. Samantha DE RITER (HFD) +0
24. Tessa FABRY (HFD) +0
27. Lucy KENNEDY (HFD) +0 10

General Classification after Stage 3

1. Lisen HOCKINGS (HWC) 3h34:12
2. Rebecca WIASAK (HFD) +6
3. Lucy KENNEDY (HFD) +18
6. Tessa FABRY (HFD) +21
8. Kendelle HODGES (HFD) +41
18. Samantha DE RITER (HFD) +1:04

Images copyright Con Chronis

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