Reigning criterium national champion Sophie Mackay (Specialized) has claimed the honours in the women’s Battle on the Border, the fourth event in Cycling Australia’s 2016 Subaru National Road Series (NRS).
Mackay (NSW) took her maiden NRS stage win in a wet finish to Friday’s 105km road race around the Tweed Coast. She finished ahead of Emily Roper (QLD) and Lisen Hockings (VIC).
“It feels fantastic to take my first NRS win with Specialized,” Mackay told Cycling Australia. “I was off the back after the second QOM with a few of my teammates. We team time trilled for approx 15km to catch the lead group (and caught with about 8km to go).
“My team continued to drive the pace and keep me out of trouble. I’m surrounded by a great team who give 100% to a plan. To cap it off with the win feels like the best possible way to repay them for their great work today.”
Mackay broke through in January to claim the national criterium title at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships.
“The crit was a great win but today’s result was equally satisfying because of the team effort – I loved sharing this with my teammates,” Mackay explained.
“I went into the stage quietly confident knowing my team was backing me for the win. I’ve taken a lot of confidence from the National Criterium win which helped me today, particularly with the technical finish.
“I knew the race could potentially be won at the second last roundabout and my aim was to be one of the first riders around it. Emily Roper led into the round about and I attacked as we approached the roundabout and got a good gap which meant I could relax somewhat for the last 200m – ensuring I kept it upright.”
A field of 75 of Australia’s are in action including Melbourne’s Kate Perry (Specialized Women’s Racing), the current NRS rankings leader, second ranked Lisen Hockings (VIC) and High5Dream Team teammates Tessa Fabry (VIC) and Lucy Kennedy (QLD) who currently sit equal third in the rankings.
The Tour continues on Saturday with a 113km road stage in the area surrounding the Murwillumbah Showgrounds. Sunday’s double stage day features a 20km individual time trial, following by an afternoon criterium also in Murwillumbah.