Rebecca Wiasak wins National Capital Tour stage 1

Canberra-local ) proved the fastest in the prologue first stage of the National Capital Tour, taking the win in her home race ahead of teammate Lucy Kennedy and the experienced Ruth Corset (Rush). The win comes on the back of her dual successes at Amy’s Otway

Tour with another win at the Tour of King Valley showcasing her latent form from her track racing preparations.Wiasak was the last rider down the starting ramp and finished in a time of 12.56, just beating out

Kennedy into 2 nd and impressively closing in on National Road Series leader Lisen Hockings who had started a minute ahead of her. Wiasak spoke to Peloton Café after the stage.

“When I turned… I had no idea what was happening with time checks, but I kept trying to close it down on Lisen,” said Wiasak. “She got away from me at the top of the climb a bit and I wasn’t sure if I could hold on once I saw the finish I was just trying to keep it above 300 watts whilst my legs were screaming at me.”

Wiasak’s ability on the climbs hasn’t been her strength in the past, but after winning the notoriously hilly Amy’s Otway Tour people have had to reassess that opinion. Wiasak explained how six weeks out of track preparations have changed her physiology.

“Our last gym session was at the Olympic staging camp and we all did PBs in the gym QRM box squats, I think I did 120-something kilos, so I’ve been carrying that weight and I’ve been a bit slow because of that amount of work that we have to do as track riders in the gym. Now I’ve shed some of that weight and non-functional muscle and it’s that much easier on the climbs.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s road stage which will take place in the centre of Canberra, Wiasak was optimistic about the racing and her team’s chances.

“I absolutely love racing at home, I think the event is really beautiful taking in some iconic landmarks in Canberra. We’ll hopefully keep the jersey tomorrow, maybe I’ll trade with Lucy as she’s got the sprinter’s jersey!”

Cool and breezy conditions around the rolling hills of the southern ACT were the scene of the opening stage of the women’s National Capital Tour. With the 7.2 kilometre prologue over a tricky,hilly course the usual suspects, like series leader Lisen Hockings (Holden), Kate Perry (Specialized),

Ruth Corset, Lucy Kennedy, Tessa Fabry and Rebecca Wiasak (High5 Dreamteam) all expected to challenge.

The short, demanding circuit saw Madeline Park (Mike Greer Homes) emerge as the early pacesetter, before her time was blitzed by Jessica Pratt (QAS), 36 seconds off the eventual winning time. Pratt’s time stayed as the benchmark until the big names of the NRS came out to play, with

Tessa Fabry coming home in a smart time (+25 off Wiasak) to best the young Queenslander.

Kate Perry (+30) came in with a time that wasn’t on par with her early season performances in the nationals time trials and the Tour of Mersey Valley, although the windier conditions haven’t suited her as well as the bulkier riders of the peloton.

Lucy Kennedy stopped the clock at 12.58 and that looked to be the time to beat with the Queensland-based rider clearly peaking at the right time to challenge for the overall win at this race,which should suit her capabilities well.

Ruth Corset came home with a strong performance to finish just 15 seconds off the time of Wiasak and Verita Stewart produced one of the best results of her season, finishing fourth, just 25 seconds off the winner.

Lisen Hockings may be a bit worried about her lead at the top of the series after conceding 32 seconds on the stage to Wiasak. She currently holds a handy points buffer, but will need to add to that with a high finish overall, as Wiasak, Kennedy and Corset are all putting the pressure on to try and take that top spot.

Lucy Kennedy spoke after the race about her thoughts on how the time trial stage panned out and her nerves at sitting on the finish with the best time, waiting for riders to come in.

“It was a bit of a nervous wait for me with still ten riders to finish after me. I was obviously hoping to hold on but to have Beck take it instead is just as good, now we’re sitting one and two with a decent buffer over Ruth (Corset).

I’ve been pretty disappointed about some of my time trials at recent tours so be right up the pointy end is really satisfying.

Like Wiasak, Kennedy was optimistic about her and the team’s prospects for the overall classification for the race.

“Ever since the course came out for this tour I’ve really targeted it. Even though there’s not a lot of climbing in it, they are really decisive climbs, so it’s definitely the race I’ve been focusing on.“We’ve got a couple of different cards to play in the upcoming stages so it should be really exciting.I’m really excited to finish up Black Mountain, we’ve had hilltop finishes before, but I’ve never reallyfound it tough enough. I think we’ll race it pretty aggressively.”

Stage 2 finishes atop Black Mountain and should be decisive in the battle for the general

classification.

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