Winder claims second at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
GEELONG, Australia (January 28, 2017) – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team continued its strong start to the 2017 season this past Saturday courtesy of Ruth Winder, who claimed second place at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
“It was a really good race,” Winder said. “I had my teammates around me the entire time and kept in mind what my teammate Katie Hall told me before the race – that I’m stronger than I think I am.”
The victory went to Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten, racing for the Orica-Scott team.
The UCI day race was 113 kilometers long with two intermediate sprints and one Queen of the Mountain up for grabs. The wind conditions were predicted to be gentle, but from the start riders noticed the gusts were much higher and bound to play a factor in the race.
That reigned true at just 20km in, when a crosswind section leading up to the first sprint, caused a split in the peloton, creating a front group of 40 riders.
“We were happy with having four riders in that group,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Director Rachel Heal said. “After looking for a while like it was going to stick, it came back together.”
The middle part of the race saw plenty of attacks into the wind. Winder took the day’s only QOM with a well-timed jump, and shortly after one solo rider went clear gaining a minute. As the race turned again towards the unforgiving crosswinds with 25km to go, it was game on. The front group whittled down to 30 riders, with four from the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team.
“We were aggressive and always had representation in the moves,” Heal said.
On the penultimate significant climb, Emma Pooley (Holden Women’s Cycling) attacked solo and Winder made it into a chase group of four. The group caught Pooley at 2km to go, setting up for a 5-up battle for the finish line.
Out of that final group, van Vleuten attacked to take the win and Winder led in the sprint for second place.
“The race was a fantastic way to finish off a great block of racing here Down Under,” Heal said. “Ruth showed her good legs earlier in the race taking the QOM jersey, and even after a long break from racing showed that she is a natural bike racer, getting herself into the day’s winning break, and sprinting her way onto the podium in second.”