Women’s Santos Tour 2016
Reporting from the Women’s Santos Tour 2016 – Stage 3
Three of four stages have been completed at the Santos Women’s Tour at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. With the Victoria Park criterium remaining it has been an incredible experience for the Nicheliving Vault Racing Team – the calibre of riding by the world’s top tier teams; the ability of our own WA riders; and finding the physical strength to finish in difficult and testing conditions.
The calibre of riding by the top tier teams
During post race briefs within the Nicheliving Vault team find ourselves discussing “how awesome” it is for our riders to witness the abilities of the top tier riders in this tour. Wiggle-Hi5 and Orica-AIS are two teams that have an impressive ability to work toward a team goal and outcome.
To watch six individuals working toward a single goal often within the space of two minutes, at 50+km/hr, with other riders challenging to do the same within the final 1.5kilometres of a race with no room for error, is an experience valuable to any up and coming bike rider.
The skill, stamina and speed of some of the best women cyclists on earth is motivation for our own. We are fortunate to have this opportunity.
Ambient air temperatures of 40c and on the tarmac closer to 45-50c. Big winds blowing the group to piece. Combined, this takes a toll on the riders and support crew and stretches the entire ‘supply chain’ to its limits.
No result occurs in isolation here, the conditions mean the team must unite further in order to succeed. Stage 3 was contested at an average of 40c, we went through 25kg’s of ICE, and 48 bottles of water over 100km’s.
The ability of our own WA based riders
Such quality opposition with their cohesive team work and intelligent and experienced bike riders has meant that to merely get into a position of opportunity can be as difficult as a result itself.
Orica, Wiggle and others are extremely organised and professional. Our riders are in admiration of this but as part of the race we also know that we need to participate and get on the front foot and attempt to challenge them however possible.
Every Nicheliving Vault rider in the team has made a valuable contribution to this race.
- Julia Kalotas has a cold and is on antibiotics and has fought to remain in the race knowing her ability to position in the criteriums motivates the women to follow her forward.
- Sarah Duffield – her fitness has improved significantly as has her ability to position herself and offer assistance where possible
- Erin Kinnealy – is a machine and has worked all day for others, riding them into position, feeding team mates, herself getting dropped off the back over a short climb only to get back on and attack in the final 5km’s in an effort to cover moves for our GC riders Jess and Bec and has shown incredible grit and determination.
- Jess Huston – is an intelligent and strong rider able to endure hard racing conditions to consistently place in the top third of the bike race.
- Bec Mackey – Strong and young and Bec is discovering more and more about her abilities every time she rides. Bec has a long and positive future in the sport
- Liz Leyden – senior rider who has heaps of grit and never gives up. Liz spent time solo off the front on stage three and has single minded focus to assist others or contribute to the team in anyway. What a leader!
Our team is learning so much about themselves and each other as friends, comrades and bike riders. Its a big learning experience and the dynamic has been positive and continually evolving.
The other notable WA rider is Jessica Allen in the High Five Dream team. Jess has been incredibly selfless in each stage of the tour and has been leading out her team mates and spending significant amounts of time on the front chasing. Jess is a credit to her team.
Tomorrow is the criterium in Victoria Park to wrap up the tour for 2016 and we look forward to one last chance at the world stage and doing WA women’s racing proud.
Bike racing is alive and well in Adelaide. And the women of cycling is showing the world how its done.
Nicheliving Vault Racing Team
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