The queen stage of the Honda Hybrid Women’s Tour proved to be the one that saw the VIS Women’s Road Team deliver their girl Lisa Jacobs onto the top spot of the podium to claim Stage 4 of the tour over the Russian Natalia Boyarskaya and Miranda Griffiths from the Xosize Team.
It had been predicted all week and the VIS Women’s Road Team delivered in what proved to be a critical stage of the tour.
The penultimate stage gave the climbers the chance to shine, a long flat ride along Dromana beach before the tough 3km ascent to Arthurs Seat and the finish at the top, a 40.5km stage.
Rebecca Wiasak from the Suzuki/Trek team started the day in the red leaders’ jersey but for the fourth consecutive stage we saw a new leader, Lisa Jacobs also securing the Queen of the Mountain category.
There were 58 riders that rolled out of Sorrento this morning under ‘neutral’ race conditions, and the first attack came from Nicole Whitburn just 3km into the race and by the 5km race the peloton stretched over 100m and hit speeds of 60kph.
The pace the Russian and Team SiS – NSW girls were setting at the head of the field was too much with riders already falling off the back.
Megan Bagworth and Grace Sulzberger then took up the charge at the front to put further pressure on the group.
Just 5km from for the first sprint, Nexgen moved to the front but the group slowed to 38kph on an undulating section. The Russian and Team SiS – NSW teams moved through to again push the pace on the climb and split the field in two.
This left 26 riders in the front group with tour leader Rebecca Wiasak able to rejoin the leaders after earlier being dropped.
At the approach to the first intermediate sprint at the 23.7km mark the familiar colours of the Bundaberg Sugar rider Loren Rowney made her move to take line honours from Jessica Mundy with the Russian rider Victoria Kondel.
Boubnenkova immediately attacked after the sprint and the VIS were quick to respond and were driving hard, clocked at 80kpm on the downhill run.
Heading into the final stage and tough 3km ascent up Arthurs Seat saw the field splinter with just four riders gaining a small break Boubnenkova, Jacobs, Griffith and Sinead Noonan, Boyarskaya attaching herself to this group just 2km from the finish.
Over the final kilometre the mountain bike experience saw Jacobs get the better of Boyarskaya with Griffiths recording her best result of the tour so far for third.
The VIS Women’s Road Team had targeted this stage of the tour, knowing they had the best climber in Jacobs, and went into today’s stage with a specific plan of placing her at the front of the peloton on the climb.
“That was always the aim, it was a real team effort today we had a strategy of getting me to the bottom of the climb in the front.
“My team, Chloe McConville, Kendelle Hodges, Katherine O’Shea did everything they could to deliver me here, they did a fantastic job and that’s why I’m standing here,” said Jacobs.
Rowney retained the green and also picked up the U/23 jersey, while the Russian National Team leads the teams category heading into the final stage, a criterium in Lygon Street, Carlton.
The general classification looks set to come down to a battle between the VIS and Bundaberg Sugar with just 4 seconds separating the two. Bundaberg head into tomorrow’s stage as favourite with Rowney wearing the green sprint jersey.
“It will be aggressive riding all day tomorrow.
“We need to secure the sprint points on offer and make sure we’re at the front at the finish,” said Rowney.
Results – Stage
1. Lisa Jacobs VIS Womens Road Team 1:07:53
2. Natalia Boyarskaya Russian National Team +5
3. Miranda Griffiths Xosize +8
4. Venera Absaliyamova Russian National Team +11
5. Loren Rowney Bundaberg Sugar +13
6. Allison Rice Suzuki/Trek +21
7. Svetlana Boubnenkova Russian National Team +24
8. Gracie Elvin Team Blue +25
9. Grace Sulzberger Pure Tasmania & Deloitte +30
10. Sue Forsyth Team SiS – NSW +38
Results – General Classification
1. Lisa Jacobs VIS Womens Road Team 3:38:22
2. Loren Rowney Bundaberg Sugar +4
3. Allison Rice Suzuki/Trek +12
4. Venera Absaliyamova Russian National Team +36
5. Svetlana Boubnenkova Russian National Team +41
For further event information check out the website at www.jaycoheraldsuntour.com.au