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Track and road star Maeve Plouffe (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) has taken out the first edition of the Lochard Energy Women’s Warrnambool Classic.
The 160 km National Road Series (NRS) race came down to a sprint from a reduced bunch of favourites, with Plouffe taking the honours in the jersey of NRS leader ahead of Josie Talbot (Sydney Uni Staminde) and Matilda Raynolds (Inform TMX Make).
“That was incredible – that was so much fun,” Plouffe said. “I don’t think that I’ve done a race that hard before. It was on from the start, then there was a little lull and then girls really put it to me on those little climbs … they weren’t too long, but they were definitely going hard. I had a lot of nervous energy towards the end with the break there.
“It was a bit of a dream break, we had four or five of the strongest riders in the whole peloton in that breakaway, everyone with different strengths. Everyone had a crack at that finale there, which I thought was really cool.”
The lead group of seven became six as it headed into Warrnambool. Raynolds tried to get away, so too did Australian champion Nicole Frain (Roxsolt Liv SRAM). But ultimately it was a sprint on the uphill drag on Raglan Parade that decided the first women’s Warrny.
Before this year’s first standalone women’s ‘Warrny’, the long-running Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic had a women’s grade which was won by Raynolds the past two years.