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After two silver medals in the past two editions, Ruby Roseman-Gannon (BikeExchange-Jayco) ascended to the top step of Australia’s criterium championships on Friday.
Roseman-Gannon started as the pre-race favourite and lived up to that billing with a powerful sprint from the breakaway on Sturt St in Ballarat. Josie Talbot (Sydney Uni Staminde) took the silver medal from the winning group of 11 with Peta Mullens (Roxsolt Liv SRAM) taking third.
It took more than half of the race’s 35 laps for the first major attack to land with Amber Pate (Inform TMX Make) punching away from the bunch. That move ultimately came to nothing, likewise the next few that followed, but when Lisa Jacob (Knights of Suburbia) attacked with seven laps to go, the winning break was formed.
Among those following Jacob to form a nine-rider group were Roseman-Gannon, Talbot, Matilda Raynolds (Inform TMX Make), Mullens, Anya Louw (ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) and Neve Bradbury (Canyon-SRAM). With four laps to go the gap to the peloton was 15 seconds as Pate and Roseman-Gannon’s only teammate, Alexandra Manly, surged clear of the bunch.
That pair joined the lead group with two laps to go, before Manly came to the front to put in an impressive lead out for Roseman-Gannon.
“I wanted this for a very long time and to finish it off in my first race in full Team BikeExchange-Jayco kit means so much,” Roseman-Gannon said. “I can’t thank Alex Manly enough – she rides for people all the time, she is the most selfless rider, and I couldn’t have done it without her, so I just want to thank her for riding so perfectly.
I knew that Alex would give me a perfect lead-out and I just didn’t want to get boxed in. I saw someone coming up on my inside, so I knew that was time to go and I just gave it everything I had and just did what I’ve done in training a thousand times and pulled it off! I couldn’t be happier, I’m speechless, really.”
For Roseman-Gannon, the win is just the latest in a golden month for the 23-year-old. In December she won all four stages and the overall of the Sunshine Coast National Road Series tour, and last weekend she won both stages and the overall at the Bay Crits. She’ll start Sunday’s road race as one of the big favourites.
“I think the road race is definitely more of a challenge,” Roseman-Gannon said. “But look, Alex and I are a small team, but we’re a strong team and we will give it everything we have.”
In the U23 race – contested at the same time as the elite title – Louw took out the gold medal from the lead bunch ahead of Bradbury. Keely Bennett (Knights of Suburbia Racing) took bronze from the main field, 35 seconds behind.