Peta Mullens Crowned Australian Road Race Champion

Victoria?s?Peta Mullens?(VIC) sensationally claimed victory in?the elite women?s road race at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Buninyong on Saturday. Incredibly the crown was?Mullens’ seventh career national title, with the 26-year-old’s?resume already boasting?six national titles across road and track cycling, mountain biking and mountain running.

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?Of all the national titles [I?ve won], I?m a Mountain Biker, I would still prefer to win this,? said an elated Mullens. ?It is by far the most prestigious and hardest to win and especially with the depth that we have in women cycling. ?It?s a bit ironic because it is supposed to be my only road race for the year and now that I have won the stripes, I might have to change my plans,? said Mullens who entered the race as an individual after choosing to focus on the dirt for 2015. Mullens, who hails from Gippsland, bridged across to a solo?Rachel NEYLAN?(NSWIS) over the top of the penultimate climb to Mt Buninyong, descending into the township with a 40 second advantage. Disharmony from the chasing bunch saw the duo race away for the win with Mullens? sprint too powerful for Neylan. ?The winning move was pretty much with a lap and a half to go. Rach kicked off the bunch and no one was really doing all that much and I just thought, now?s the time if I can bridge across to her. I knew we would be a really strong duo and I thought ?this is it?,? said Mullens who was crowned the under 23 national champion on this day in 2009. An emotional Neylan was overwhelmed by the result. ?I really backed myself,? said Neylan. ?I knew I had good legs and I knew also that the field was really strong. I think in those situations it?s about backing yourself and taking a chance,? said Neylan who clinched silver in the 2012 UCI Road World Championships. ?I did a fair bit of work up the climb and I think I probably paid for that in the sprint in the final. I?m really, really happy with my silver medal,? she said. Time trial champion Shara GILLOW (Rabo Liv) managed to shake her chasing companions for a solo third place. ?I did try to go for it a few times but burnt up a little bit of energy. But I?m happy that I tried, so to get the bronze medal is great,? said Shara. ?To bring two medals back [to Europe] is really good. I?m really excited, especially to get the national champs TT jersey for my new team, that?s pretty cool.? The heavens smiled upon Buninyong for the elite women?s road race, with the forecasted rain holding off, allowing the women to tackle the 10 lap, 102?kilometre race without hindrance. 2012 champion Amanda SPRATT (Orica-AIS), who animated the early stages of the?race by riding off the front of the peloton, was caught with 35 kilometres remaining. Spratt then immediately launched a counter attack and was joined by time trial silver medallist Bridie O?Donnell (Total Rush Hyster). However the attack didn?t last long before the peloton began to disintegrate, giving way to the final attack by Neylan. The race for under 23 road race honours went to?Shannon Malseed?(VIC/Holden Women?s Cycling) who adds to her criterium gold won on Wednesday night. Malseed made the final selection and finished in the bunch, over a minute down on Mullens, with?Alexandria Nicholls?(ACT) taking silver and?Ellen Skerritt?(QLD) winning bronze. ?It?s definitely a good start to a season winning the under 23 title for the criterium and now the road race. I didn?t expect it, it?s still sinking in,? said Malseed. ?In the last kilometre I just attacked from a group that was just a little bit back from the front bunch. I saw the front group up the road and thought, ?if I don?t go now, I?m not going to get there.? ?It was the best feeling ever. I don?t know what I came overall, but right now I?m all smiles,? said Malseed who finished in 11th place. Text via Cycling Australia Media Release Images copyright Con Chronis

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