23 Jan 2022

Carnage threatened to ruin the opening stage of the 2022 women’s Santos Festival of Cycling as several riders crashed before order was restored at the finish line on Sunday.

Knights of Suburbia’s Emily Watts claimed the rain sodden stage and her teammate, former rower Georgie Howe earned the Queen of the Mountain jersey.

Rachel Neylan on debut for new women’s UCI team Cofidis but riding for Westpac in SA was rushed to hospital after a nasty crash.

Neylan was involved in the early race incident which involved overall leader Ruby Roseman-Gannon and three-time Santos Tour Down Under champion Amanda Spratt.

It was Spratt’s first race since serious leg surgery last October.

“I was lined up behind Spratty (Spratt) and Rachel Neylan’s wheels and unfortunately there was a rider in front that crashed, and they went down too, I was on top of them,’’ Rosemary-Gannon said.

“I didn’t want to hurt them; I was OK and Spratty had to have a bike change.”

Rosemary-Gannon became the overall leader after earning maximum bonuses in the intermediate sprints.

Another hefty time bonus came her way when she finished second behind stage winner Watts at Williamstown.

She has a two second lead over Watts before stage 2 pedals off from Penny’s Hill Wines from McLaren Vale to Echunga where rain and wind could influence the race on Monday.

“I like the rain and I like the wind; we’re excited we’ve got a really strong team and I’ll do everything that I can and go for that stage win,’’ Rosemary-Gannon said.

Watts, last year’s under 23 national road and time trial champion, was ecstatic with the stage win.

She claimed it was her biggest career win after the 2021 nationals with her team executing a perfect game plan after a series of crashes marred the race.

“There were a few nervous riders since the nationals (titles last week),’’ Watts said.

“The rain added to a little bit of scary riding out there.

“Our team played our cards right, with good positioning, staying together and staying safe. 

“We had a race plan releasing Georgie Howe up the line (near the finish) that’s how she got the QOM (Queen of the Mountain jersey) and we came together which wasn’t the plan.

“We wanted Georgie to go to the line.

“I’m not a sprinter so I didn’t get any (bonus) points but I’m also happy with the young rider’s jersey and it’s been a goal to get a national road series win here.”  

The peloton signed on at the picturesque Chateau Tanunda before pedalling off on rain swept cobbles which wouldn’t have been out of place during the Roman Empire before the Ziptrak stage 1 tested bike handling skills.

SA Sports Institute’s Katarina Chung-Orr was the first rider forced to abandon the race after a crash.

The peloton looked settled just before Roseman-Gannon picked up a three second bonus for claiming the first intermediate sprint ahead of teammate Georgia Baker and Hayley Jones from Giant Racing.

And in what is understood to be a first for a major bike race in Australia, 2010 national road champion Ruth Corset, 44, and daughter Caitlin Corset, 17, were teammates for VA Pro Racing.

WESTPAC RIDE OF THE DAY

RESULTS

ZIPTRAK STAGE  1 TANUNDA – WILLIAMSTOWN 85.4km  

STAGE WINNER

Emily Watts – Knights of Suburbia

SANTOS LEADER’S JERSEY

Ruby Roseman-Gannon – BikeExchange-Jayco

ZIPTRAK SPRINT JERSEY

Ruby Roseman-Gannon – BikeExchange-Jayco

SHIMANO QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN JERSEY

Georgie Howe – Knights of Suburbia

CERVELO YOUNG RIDER’S JERSEY

Emily Watts – Knights of Suburbia

WILSON PARKING WINNING TEAM

BikeExchange-Jayco

SEE ALL RESULTS

 

The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour and UCI Women's ProSeries 

UCI World TourUCI Women's Pro Series

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