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  2015 Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic Preview  
     
  The fastest citerium series in the world starts off the 2015 Aussie Summer of Cycling, with four criteriums over four days. For those who haven't followed the event before or need a refresher. Points and not time are what matters for the general classification. The top 10 riders on each stage receive points - 12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

Six riders are allowed to start each stage but riders are not required to ride all four stages. A number of teams have brought just six riders while others have larger squads and will substitute riders in and out.

2014 Recap

Stage 1 - Giorgia BRONZINI
Stage 2 - Chloe HOSKING
Stage 3 - Giorgia BRONZINI
Stage 4 - Giorgia BRONZINI

General Classification
1 Giorgia BRONZINI 46
2 Annette EDMONDSON 34
3 Tiffany CROMWELL 30
4 Chloe HOSKING 30
5 Gracie ELVIN 23
6 Valentina SCANDOLRA 10
7 Lizzie WILLIAMS 9
8 Sophie WILLIAMSON 8
9 Joanne HOGAN 7
10 Barbara GUARSCHI 6

The Stages

Stage 1 - Ritchie Boulevard
Stage 2 - Eastern Park
Stage 3 - Portarlington
Stage 4 - Williamstown

The Contenders

Full start list available here

Wiggle Honda (Wiggle Down Under)

Veni, vidi, vici - I came, I saw, I conquered is a good way to describe how Wiggle-Honda (Wiggle Down Under) went at the Bay Crits in 2014. Two-time road World Champion Giorgia Bronzini won three stages and the overall and finished second on the other when Chloe Hosking took a jump on the field.

The team is very strong with several genuine winners. Bronzini is one of the fastest sprinters in the world and will be keen to defend her title. With Chloe Hosking the team has another sprinter who could lead the charge after several wins over the top sprinters in 2014. British Criterium Champion Eileen Roe is another contender but lacks the pure finishing speed of Hosking and Bronzini.

The team is completed by Emilia Fahlin, Jessica Mundy and Georgia Baker, who are strong riders in their own right but as a team they form a very strong leadout.

Orica-AIS

The team has lost Annette Edmondson to Wiggle Honda and two time overall winner Melissa Hoskins is not competing with her focus on the track. New signing and reigning national Criterium Champion Sarah Roy will get the opportunity to race with the team for the first time in the last race in the Green and Gold jersey at least for now.

Roy is a fast finisher but lacks the speed of some of the pure sprinters in the race. With the rest of the team including the best road captain in the business Loes Gunnewijk, Amanda Spratt, Lizzie Williams and Gracie Elvin expect to see the team attack and attack to try and take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself.

EDIT: Roy will not start stage 1 due to illness.

Roxsolt

Kimberley Wells won at Noosa, Stan Siejka Cycling Classic and Shimano Super Crit at the end of 2014 after picking up several NRS wins. Wells' has also been spending time on the boards winning silver in the scratch race at the Oceania Championships and more recently silver in the omnium.

If Wells has the form she has been showing will be a major threat to the Wiggle Down Under squad and could even surprise. The team has other options in the form of former Australian Criterium Champion Lauren Kitchen and sprinter Lauren Rowney who will also be crucial in a leadout.

Tiffany Cromwell is the wildcard, packs a strong finish but unable to match the pure sprinters and with Wells on the team expect her to mostly play a support role. Important to remember however than Cromwell finished third overall in 2014 based on three stage podiums. A contender in her own right.

Emily Collins (SUVELO Racing)

The former Wiggle Honda rider had a mostly quiet 2014 riding in a support role other than fourth at the National Championships and Diamond Tour. A strong finish but not a pure sprinter and riding for the SUVELO team with just three teammates will put her at a disadvantage. Don't discount a top five overall finish or even a podium in the right circumstances.

Georgia Williams (Novotel Geelong)

Williams is a track specialist, the name might fly under the radar but Williams finished top 10 on two stages last year and eight overall. Doesn't have the team support of some of the bigger names but shouldn’t be discounted for another top 10 finish.

Other names to watch include Peta Mullens (stage 1 and 3), Ellen Skerritt (stage 3), Chloe Baggs (stage 2 and 4) and Lisa Jacobs (stage 2 and 3). Not riding all four stages will make it difficult if not impossible to have any real impact on the overall standings but expect to see them in contention on the relevant stages.
 
 
         
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