Copyright: Con Chronis

Holden Women’s Racing has a taken stranglehold on the team’s leader after the opening two stages of the Tour of South West in Wangoom, outside of Warrnambool today.

The Tour, the second event for women in the 2017 Subaru National Road Series (NRS), opened with Holden grabbing a clean sweep of the time trial won by reigning Subaru NRS champion Lisen Hockings (Holden).

In the afternoon’s wet and windy 51km road race, 2016 criterium national champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized) triumphed over Macey Stewart (TIS) who continues her comeback to cycling.

Time Trial recap

A strong 53-rider field set off in windy conditions in Wangoom at the Tour of South West this morning with Subaru NRS team’s leaders Holden Women’s Cycling Team eager for a strong opening performance.

Lisen Hockings set a solid time of 17mins 04seconds over the undulating 12.5km time trial course to take the win and the Tour leader’s jersey.

Rising star Grace Brown took a convincing second place after posting a time (17:09), just five seconds off her team mate. +5.5 seconds, with Lobigs a further four seconds behind in third.

Hockings was happy with her performance after the time trial in typical South West Victoria autumn conditions.

“It was very windy, being the height I am, therewas some issues [with the wind] but it went alright, I had fun,” joked Hockings. “Although being a bigger rider I got buffered around a bit less than some of the smaller riders but we had fun.”

Road Race recap

2016 criterium national champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized Women’s Racing) snared victory from a bunch sprint to close the 51km road race held in challenging conditions.

A crash on lap one of three 17km loops of the course that featured rolling hills through diary country saw the bunch split with Specialized Women’s Racing getting caught behind the bunch.

At only 16 years old and an individual entrant Sarah Gigante (Brunswick Cycling Club) impressed everyone as she worked hard to regain her place in the main bunch with Kate Perry (Specialized) after being caught up in the crash.

After a few early attacks, the wind and undulating hills kept the group together in an exciting bunch sprint won by Wagga’s Mackay over Tasmania’s Macey Stewart (TIS) and South Australia’s Chloe Moran (SASI).

“It was blustery out there today, and a lot of our team got caught up behind a crash early in the race mid-way, so I was a bit on my own out there for a couple of the sprints, but we grabbed the first intermediate sprint which was great. We just took off and went for it,” said MacKay.

Dual junior track world champion Stewart put on a stellar effort to grab a podium finish in the road race in what is her debut as captain for TIS racing.

“I was really stoked with how to the team raced. It was some of the girls’ first Subaru NRS race and they did such a great job and were able to help me in a few of the sprints,” said Stewart who revealed the Tasmania team was happy with the cold and wet conditions.

“When we heard, it was going to be windy and rainy we were rubbing our hands together as that’s what we’ve been training in for the last few weeks.

“It still makes it hard for us out there, but I guess we are a bit more used to it coming from Tassie.

“I’m so proud of the girls.”

Tour Standings Summary
Hockings leads team-mate Brown with Stewart in third and Lobigs in fourth. Fellow Tasmanian and highly touted youngster Madeline Fasnacht currently sits fifth overall on GC.

General Classification

1.    Lisen Hockings 1h40
2.    Grace Brown (+9)
3.    Macey Stewart (+12)
4.    Louisa Lobigs (+13)

Teams Classification

1. Holden Women’s Cycling
2. TIS Racing
3.Specialized Women’s Racing
4. HighFive Dream team

 

The third and final stage of the Tour – a criterium around the seaside town of Peterborough will be held at midday on Sunday.